She woke in the nick of time
to hear her ambulance arrive.
Both her arms laid limp by her sides
in the bathtub, drained of herself
and 2 cap-fulls of tearless shampoo.
“OH SHIT,” she hollers. “SHIT-SHIT-SHIT!”
It wasn’t so much that her suicide failed—
or that her neighbor walked in, finding her
asleep in skin-tight, pink-stained underwear.
It was the whole scene she put herself in—
A razor blade in the bathtub?
“SHIT,” she was right. “How fucking melodramatic.”
Dress Rehearsal Rag was looping in the background
and she heard the first paramedic who rushed in
remark, “Leonard Cohen? You gotta be kidding me!”
“SHUT THE FUCK UP!” she yelled at him,
her eyes cutting into his face and tearing loose his flesh.
He felt ashamed that she had heard his quip and she sensed this.
“Mamm, I’m here to help you. Please—“
“FUCK ME!” she yelled, testing him.
“FUCK ME! JUST FUCK ME! FUCK ME AND GET IT OVER WITH!” she insisted, tearing off her wet bra.
Two large breasts sprung out to greet him.
“Mamm, nobody here is going to fuck you.
It looks like you have some nasty cuts on your arms… May I have your permission to take a look?”
The matter-of-fact way he spoke reminded her of a biology teacher she once took classes from.
Mr. Davies let her make up all the exams she missed while Ted was getting treatments.
This instantly appeased her to the paramedic.
She held her arms up as if surrendering.
She had done everything right, she thought—
aside from being cliché of course;
Long straight lines— wrist to elbow.
But the wounds only wept tiny trickles.
The paramedic gawked agog for about 10 seconds,
in disbelief that such wounds weren’t spraying upon his face.
He knelt down beside her on the blue bath rug.
Taking hold of her right wrist, he shuddered.
“GOOD GOD, YOU’RE FREEZING!”
He yanked a towel off the counter
and wrapped it around her before opening up
his kit filled with all different widths of thread.
She looked up at him, wide eyed.
“The water,” she said calmly. “SHIT!”
“What, what?” he asked.
“I take freezing cold showers and baths,” she explained,
rolling her eyes backward.
“I’ve taken them for years. I didn’t even stop
They had both stumbled upon the same realization.
“MmmmHmmm—“ he sighed. “That’s why—”
“I’M STILL ALIVE,” she interrupted. She was being completely cooperative
as he sewed her arm back together. He was happy she stayed cool.
It was better for both of them to get her stitched up here,
before the long ride back to the hospital.
His partner was still downstairs, digging the tires out from a snow drift
he clumsily plowed the sirens through.
“The cold water,” he said, “the veins in your arms and legs shrink up—
and all your blood is redirected to vital organs,” he explained cheerfully—
almost humming his theory while he worked on her.
“That’s funny,” she said joyfully,
smiling wide into the paramedic’s serious eyes.
“My ex-boyfriend always told me—
These cold showers will be the end of me!”