walk | 007
Having an obsession with the number five was driving her nuts.
No matter how hard she tried to stop herself from going past two, her fingers would automatically betray her and work to her disorder’s benefit. Living with OCD was going to kill her. Alecia sighed again for the fifth time because apparently, sighing only three times in one hour wasn’t enough. As she flipped through her Seventeen magazine (granted, she was only sixteen), she tapped on the kitchen counter five times.
Alecia slid into the kitchen to check on her cookies although she knew they wouldn’t be done in another fifteen minutes. When she returned to her seat, the only thing her mind needed her to do was to drum her fingers four more times because she had made the stupid mistake to do it once. No, no don’t drum. You only have to do it once. Alecia screamed internally, using her left hand to pull at her right. No, no, no –
– two, three, four, five.
Well, that went great.
Groaning, Alecia pushed herself out of her seat and checked on her cookies again because she needed to. Not many people with OCD were conscious of their actions and even fewer of them were irritated by it. Alecia liked to think that she was special enough to notice how she picked up her boyfriend’s traits and slowly formed her own crazy bout of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Before she could stop herself from forming her own habit, it had already taken full control of her. Her ‘number’, as Tyler liked to call it, reflected her birth month. Now people could make jokes about her OCD and laugh. How fun.
As she sliced up the tomatoes for her stew, Alecia tried to balance her phone between her shoulder and cheek. “Hello?”
“Tyler, what time are you coming over for dinner? The cookies are in the oven and I have stew in the making. All that’s missing is your fancy spaghetti and we can get this show on the road.” She smiled at his voice, continuing to slice. She sliced five slices horizontally and five slices vertically.
Laughter bubbled from the other end, making her grin broaden. “I’m making it right now. I just have to check on the sauce one more time before coming over. Don’t worry, ‘Cia, I’ll be less than fifteen minutes.”
Slice. “I’ll be waiting,” she cooed, pulling another tomato onto the chopping board. “I’ve got to go now; I’m chopping tomatoes and I’m not sure if I can differentiate the juice from blood because of my terrible eyesight.”
“See you soon, ‘Cia.” The rich laughter trailed to the end of the message, sending shivers up her spine and a touch of pink to her cheeks.
Now came the hassle of putting the phone back in its receiver.
Alecia used her left hand, the one that held the tomato in place, to put the phone away. After doing so, she rinsed her hands under a stream of water, relishing in the cold trickling down her fingers. She scrubbed between her fingers with fury. No, no stop it Alecia. Don’t do it – you’re already clean. You don’t have to scrub anymore, come on Alecia. It’s all in your head.
She screamed out loud in frustration as her hands mechanically worked away at the imaginary germs that littered them. One, two, three, four, five. She lifted her hands and turned off the tap, shaking off the droplets five more times. Alecia felt tears stain her cheeks. This was so stupid, useless and horrible. There was no way to get out of the routine of doing everything in fives. Everything she did, everything she would do, would be ruled by the obsession of doing everything in fives.
Angrily, she chopped the tomatoes into cubes, still going in fives both ways. Was there any cure to this disease? She couldn’t live like this. Tears blurred her vision, desperation and panic dripping down alongside the saline liquid. She couldn’t double-check everything she did, nor could she count or do everything in fives. She didn’t want to freak out about keeping clean nor did she want to only stick to three colors. She wasn’t particularly excited to maintain her cleanliness when she was a messy person. God, she couldn’t live like this.
Pain shot up her arm, burning and stinging. Alecia gasped in pain, nearly dropping the knife in the process. But she couldn’t. Her arm reacted fast; one. In that moment, the panic that coursed through her fought for control with the obsession with the number five. She couldn’t do this. This could kill her or maybe seriously cause her some blood loss. Tyler wouldn’t reach in time to get her to the hospital. Her head spun and her vision blurred even more.
The slow dribble of red from her arm didn’t do anything to console her fear. Nor was the forceful pressing of the knife’s tip against her arm. She yelped in pain as the blade pressed against her pale skin, drawing a scarlet line of blood as it cut through horizontally. “No, no, no.” Alecia cried. “This isn’t happening.” It stung so badly that the horrible feeling of numbness had started to crawl up her arm. Black dots lined her vision, causing everything sound to fade. The last thing she felt before everything blacked out was the dampness of her blood against her shirt.
| ∞ |
Pacing was something Tyler Jenkins aced. Well, not counting the blatant fact that he was a literature major (what with the notebook and pens he carried around), he could probably pass off as concerned husband waiting outside the maternity ward. Then again, Alecia had always teased him about being a worrywart. The point was further emphasized as he bit his lip, warily glancing at the heartbeat monitor as if just waiting for it to start beeping like crazy. If it flat lined, he’d probably have a heart attack right there and then, though.
The doctors had said that her condition was stable. Apparently blood loss has its multiple levels of danger and Alecia just happened to be one of the lucky ones. Tyler wasn’t sure if he should thank the doctor for putting her condition in simple words for him to understand or to curse because he thought he was an idiot. His fingers weaved through his hair as he exhaled a breath. He couldn’t even begin to calculate the amount of stress he had been put through in just those two hours.
He knew she’d never kill herself – ‘Cia just wasn’t that sort of person. So when the doctor asked about any suicidal tendencies, Tyler had to restrain himself from punching the twat in the face. She was the sort to be happy-go-lucky unless something irritated her or if it was something she couldn’t control. His hands rubbed warmth into his jean clad thighs. One, two, three.
All he could do now was wait for her to wake up and tell him exactly what had happened to her. He sat in the bedside chair, intertwining his fingers with hers. Tyler rested his cheek against their entwined hands. His thumb rubbed smooth circles on the back of her hand, something he did often when she was in a bad mood.
One, two, three.
| ∞ |
Saturday morning was a blur for Alecia.
She remembered waking up and snatching her hand away from the slumbering boy by her side. She remembered pressing the nurse button frantically as she screamed at him to get out. She remembered his hurt face as he was escorted out the door. Suddenly, everything became clear – it was his entire fault. She couldn’t tell him why she felt that way. She just did; and it pained her to ask him to leave her alone. But it had to be done.
Victoria, the nice nurse who had called for security, pulled the blankets up to her chest. With a sad smile and the soft pat of Alecia’s head, the pretty redhead left the ward. Maybe it was because of the jelly doughnut Victoria had left or maybe it was because of the warmth seeping into her skin from the pile of blankets. Alecia felt her guilt disappear in the ocean of wallowing sorrow of never seeing the face of the person that brought her the most joy. She pulled the blanket over her head and rolled onto her side, hugging a throw pillow to her chest. Twisting and turning, in the sheets, Alecia whimpered and curled around the pillow. The blonde pounded her fist against the bed. One, two, three, four, five.
She would regret this tomorrow morning.
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