Posted on: June 12, 2014

If someone walked out of the kitchen, she would see me sitting on the floor in front of the record player, weeping over a paring knife. But she would not see the thoughts darting behind my eyes. She would not see that I am afraid to live, but too scared to end my own life. She would not see that I wonder if I looked pretty. She would not see that I hope she would come across me like this, hope that she will be startled and concerned, hope that she will kneel down and wrap me in her arms. She will not see that something about that made me want to laugh, but my depression makes me feel guilty for ever feeling happy.

Someone did not walk in.

I take a shower, put on my clothes, and walk the mile to the restaurant where I work as a hostess. I smile at passersby, and forget how sad I am for a few minutes, but then I remember that I am depressed and I’m not allowed to feel joy. It delegitimizes my condition and gives someone the right to say, “See? It must not be that bad.” I clock in, take my post at the door, and start wiping down menus as I contemplate whether I should tell my boyfriend that an acquaintance handcuffed me to his stove last night, leaving the key just a toe’s length out of reach. When the guy returned three hours later, he was drunk with a girl hanging on his arm like a Christmas ornament, glittery and hollow.

“Why the fuck are you still here?”

“I couldn’t reach…”

The girl picked up the key and crawled over to me, taking off the handcuffs, reeking of Red Bull and vodka.

“Do you wanna stick around and play with us for a little bit?” she asked. “Maybe you could handcuff me…”

My loneliness ached for promiscuous company, anything to keep me from going home to an empty apartment, but the acquaintance made it clear that I was unwelcome. I guess I misunderstood his initial invitation to come in for a drink. Maybe I overstayed. Maybe I shouldn’t have told him about that time I felt the devil hovering over me, telling me I belonged to him. Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned that I had a boyfriend.

“Hey, Lacy.”

Tim, the manager, summons me out of my chronic ruminations as he approaches the hostess’ stand and refills the business card holder.

“Hi, Tim.”

“How was your night?”

“Okay, I guess.”

Tim lifts an eyebrow and folds his arms over his chest.

“What’s up?” he asks.

“Do you think I should tell my boyfriend that a guy handcuffed me to a stove?”

Tim’s jaw drops and his brows knit together. I’m not sure if he’s shocked more by what happened, or by my nonchalance.

“Lacy, you should tell a family member. Like your Dad? Or an uncle? Or the police. Jesus, are you okay?”

“Oh, yeah, I’m fine. He’s a friend. I’m just wondering if it’s something my boyfriend needs to know.”

Tim rubs his face with his hands and shakes his head, “Oh my God, please don’t do it right now. Wait until after work.”

But I’m already texting Mark: Hey, we need to talk. Something happened last night. I’m at work right now. Talk to you later.

The restaurant phone rings. And rings. And rings because Tim is standing guard. When he finally answers, he can’t even get a word in before Mark starts yelling, “Lacy?! What the hell happened?” Tim’s face is red when he tells him not to call the restaurant, that we’ll have to talk later. When he hangs up, the phone rings. And rings. And rings. For the next two hours, Tim has to answer and then hang up. My phone keeps lighting up, but I don’t read the texts because I have customers to seat.

There’s a lull in the action when my co-worker Mina comes up with some menus and asks me how I’m doing. Tim has all but disappeared, and I feel a little bad, but I’m mostly thinking about how angry Mark probably is with me.

“I’m all right.”

“What’d you do last night?”

How can I resist? I tell her. She’s got this look on her face like I’m crazy. I tell her that I’m in love with my boyfriend, and there’s no one else for me. I’m gonna marry him.

“But you decided to go in some guy’s apartment for a drink?” she asks.


“You know what, Lacy, you sound like two fucking people sometimes.”

She turns on her heel, ponytail nearly whipping me in the face. I’m trying to understand what she meant when I unlock my phone and see the notification for thirteen messages from Mark. My heart starts to pound in my chest, and I know that physically I’m having a panic attack, but I’m so used to it that someone wouldn’t be able to tell just by looking at me.

Lacy, what the fuck happened?
You can’t say something like that and then ignore me.
Tell your boss to eat a dick.
What the hell did you do?
Did you cheat on me?
Lacy, I swear to God, if you cheated on me, it’s over.
Call me as soon as you can.
Who was it?
Do I know him?
How could you do this to me again?
This is such bullshit.
You know what, forget it.

I’m sitting in front of the record player when I get home from work, listening to Damien Rice. I tried to call Mark, but he didn’t answer. I kept calling. And calling. And calling until he must have turned off his phone, because it went straight to voicemail after a while. How long can I watch this record spin? How long until someone walks in and notices that my sadness is a thick skin, and I don’t feel much of anything anymore? Lord, how long?

Written by: Natasha Akery
Photograph by: Sydney Singhass

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