Dave I had no idea I’m so sorry
You never thought anyone would notice. Hell, you never thought it mattered.
It started small (doesn’t everything?), with an idle nick on the underside of your calf. Not the wrists, because that was too easy; that meant you were seeking attention, the internet said, and you weren’t, damnit. Attention was never your goal. This wasn’t some weird cry-for-help.
You just wanted the hole in your gut to feel a little less empty.
It grew from there, though. You found out why people preferred their arms: it hurt more. After a few weeks, you just started wearing long sleeves. Nobody ever questioned it. It was the beginning of fall. Why would anybody question it?
Hell, for them to question it, they’d have to notice you were there first.
Some days, you wished you weren’t. Some days, it didn’t seem worth it. You got up, you went to school, you fought your way through class, you ate lunch alone, you struggled with your homework, you came home. You locked the door behind you when you woke up, you unlocked it when you got off the bus.
On those days, the blade dug a little deeper.
You saw your Bro less and less, because he never checked your room, and you rarely left it. There were raps to write, and stories to get lost in. There were movies to watch. There was not a single fucking reason for you to interact with the outside world.
Every day was the same. You’d fit your key into the lock, the door would click open, and you’d call into an empty house. “Bro, you home?”
He never was. Work, he said.
Always work. Always something.
Until the day it wasn’t anymore.
Until one day you came home, and you barely got the word ‘home’ out of your lips before your brother was crushing your form against his chest, hugging you so tight you couldn’t breathe, whispering choked apologies into your ear, ragged promises that he’d be there for you, that he was always there for you, that he was so goddamn fucking sorry he’d ever let you feel like you were fighting against the world alone.
You think about denying it, about laughing it off.
He yanks up your sleeve, fingers playing over old scars, fresh wounds.
He’s there as you sink to the floor, his arms strong around you. He asks you what you need, his voice full of anxious concern, and you tell him this, just this, because all you’ve ever needed is someone to be there when you’re weak, to hold you when you can’t stand, to be your backup when the world is too much.
He asks you why you didn’t say anything, and you shrug helplessly. What was there to say?
“Anything,” he says. “Anything at all.”
You shake your head. “This,” you say, gesturing at your scars, “Was never a cry for help.”
“Yes it was,” he answers. “You just didn’t realize it.”