The Arc of Pain


Danielle stripped off her clothing and threw them all into the corner. Fuming mad, she slammed open the shower door. A crack appeared around the handle, not shattered but tainted glass.

“Damn,” she said. “Damn. Damn. Damn!”

Turning the hot water on high, the bathroom steamed up fast. It scalded her the second she stepped into it, but the burning only mixed with the pain she was feeling inside. Her skin turned lobster red as she scrubbed herself further raw, soap and sponge, heat and the pounding of the water.

She turned it off, and stood there, holding onto the wall, bent over so her long hair hid her. Mentally, she felt so numb that she could not even associate all that was going on with the damage she had inflicted upon herself. She was panting, body clenching in waves of spasms. Danielle’s legs would no longer support; she crumbled onto the tile floor and laid there.

An hour passes, and the ambulance went screaming through the streets. The EMT was administrating saline to her, keeping her body damp and cool, but Danielle was burning up. Horrendous pain from the water, horrendous pain inside. Crying happened, and she just let it flow. The EMT tried to sooth her, knowing only of the damage done to her body.

Later…more saline and ointments, compresses and more. Danielle drifted in and out, not knowing all of the administrations fully, only knowing something was constantly going on. Drugged, she slides and flies, dull but throbbing, and time has no meaning. Nothing has any meaning, and Danielle doesn’t even know her own name for a while. It floated away.

The next morning, and Will is there, holding onto a part of her arm that is not burnt. He tells her she’ll be all right. It’s bad, but she’ll be all right.  He found her in the shower stall unconscious. Will asks “Why? Why did you do this? Why?” over and over, but she has no voice to tell him.

How could she tell him she hated him? About the affair she had that her lover just ended? About knowing of Will’s own affair?  About never believing he loved her, she loved him, that they had promised to cherish each other forever and it was all a lie?

About not caring about anything, nothing at all?

The pain continued, in it’s dull throbbing way.

35 responses »

  1. I love the way in which you’ve used the concept of pain – and highlighted the physical pain in an attempt to blot out the underlying emotional and psychological pain . Very effective .


    • Jill..thank you. I have had that pic in my saved file for a long time. It just felt right to attach to this story. And…believe me…it’s not my pain. I know writers put a lot of themselves into things, but this is not my pain. Far from it.


  2. Many people can’t understand how people in deep emotional or psychological pain, use physical pain to try to wipe it out, or to gain some sense of control. You have captured that sooo well. The pain that is unbearable to one person , is exquisite to another. Too bad it didn’t really help Danielle.


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