She stood waiting for the kettle to boil, anger welling up inside and breaking the surface of her composure. Like the bubbles in the water, she thought. Building steadily.
Other teatimes flitted through her memory. Other teatimes in other kitchens in other homes. When teatime still had meaning, when life still had a bit of colour, when home was a real place and love had energy and the day had light and just maybe there were reasons to still be here.
But surely it could be worse. Stop being such a whiny fool.
“Look around you! Can it get any worse than this? We’re already in the bowels of hell!” The voice broke through her thoughts like it came from someone else. It reminded her of an overly-dramatic line from a cheesy film, but she wasn’t sure which one.
The kettle whistled and she poured the water over the bags and started the timer on her watch. 4:21 as always. At least she could control something, no matter how insignificant.
So scream you, out from behind the bitter ache
You’re hanging on the memory, you need most…
How dare anyone. How. Dare. They. They didn’t know, they couldn’t possibly know. Fuck their opinions. Fuck them! Fuck you!
The adrenaline felt good. It was satisfying. Primal. A reminder that she was still alive. She reached for the handle on the drawer in front of her. The dishes needed washing, but surely there was one clean knife in there.
Blood welled up in the line she’d drawn across her leg.
It began to trickle down her shin, and she gritted her teeth and drew the blade across again.
One more time. She had to take the teabags out soon.
Beep beep beep!
Bags out, sweetener in, a splash of milk. She could feel the warmth of the blood pooling in her sandal as she stood there. A few hot tears splashed onto the kitchen counter and she smiled an odd, victorious little smile.