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Jul 2014
day negative nine hundred and something:
Sally starts with aspirin. (She has done the math- 37 if you're lucky, 43 to be safe. And 50, just in case.) She falls asleep after 35. When she opens her eyes, it is dark and nauseous. Sally stares glumly as the glowing numbers flit on her alarm clock. 17 hours, maybe 18. ****.

day zero:
She is alone in the parking lot. She checks the time on the radio, glances at the back entrance of the BevMo building. Sally cranks the volume **** clockwise, and reaches into the backseat. Unscrews the bottle, swallows two, hesitates-- swallows two more. Her throat is tight, bone-dry. Zipping up the outer pocket of the ancient leather pack is uncharacteristically tricky. The driver's side door opens, and she smiles.

day one:
The battery light on her ****** flip-phone blinks red, in sync with the beeping of the EKG machine. She wonders if the read-out will show her disappointment. Sally's father sits motionless in the corner of the tiny room. Sleep will not come, though not for lack of trying. She glares at the ceiling. Tangled up in tubes, wires, and needles, Sally counts the ugly, white tiles. Again, she has failed.

day two:
Her parents' blue Volkswagen follows the McCormick ambulance. Sally looks awkwardly at the chiseled EMT stationed next to her. He smiles, offering comfort. It is staunchly refused. Later, the paramedics will roll her through the triple-locked doors, still strapped to the stretcher, where a room full of hollow teenagers will stare her down. They will appear as empty as she feels. Nurses will make jokes, and Sally will quickly understand that she must pretend to laugh. She will look them in the eyes and lie through teeth just out of braces, telling herself, "at least I tried."

day four:
Sally waves goodbye to the boy who tried to drink drain cleaner, carefully avoiding the the gaze of the boy who followed her into her room the night before. (She tried to tell, but no one listened.) After sloshing through mountains of concerned texts, emails, and phone messages she stops for an impromptu celebratory dinner on the way home. Sally has learned only to redefine and reinforce the *******. "I'm fine."

day seven:
The new medication has stolen her concentration. She chucks it. She can no longer sit still, begs her parents to teach her how to drive. She learns that the Volkswagen is far less austere from the inside, though the front bumper will be forever tinged with nostalgia.

day fourteen:
She attends the first court-mandated therapy session. Not that bad. The truth is hard… but deception second-nature.

day fifty-nine:
Sally no longer sleeps. Her mind is a city at night and her thoughts are technicolor billboards, all screaming the same message: 'You put me in the hospital and you never even called.'

day three hundred and forty-eight:
She practices tying nooses with a shoelace in the dark.

day three hundred and sixty-four:
She hangs herself in the bathroom in the middle of the night. Third time's a charm…

day three hundred and sixty-five:
Sally awakens on the cold floor. Again, she is surrounded by tiles.
Those white ******* tiles. Her neck bruised, a broken shoelace trails to the floor. Quietly, she resigns herself to life.
There is nothing left to ****.

Sophie Grey
Written by
Sophie Grey  Ireland
   alxndra and Awesome Annie
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