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The character in this short story has borderline personality disorder. TRIGGER WARNING for the following subjects: depression, mania, depersonalization, self harm. 

Borderline

She is a vessel of inexplicable emotions. Most people don’t understand how a young and beautiful girl can possibly be as destructive, careless, and sometimes violent, as Winter often is. Her mood swings and unpredictable behavior pushes people away, then draws them in again, like a worn out rubber band that just won’t snap. Her best friend, August, has the aura of a midday sun that has a tendency to radiate through a person’s soul, allowing them to collect all of her warmth. Just the thought of losing August would catapult Winter into a spiraling vortex of despair. 

As the morning sun beams into her room, Winter can’t seem to unstick her eyelids from each other. Maybe it’s from the crust that glued her eyes shut from crying enough tears to fill the Pacific Ocean, or maybe her eyelids are just particularly heavy today. A tidal wave of sadness overcomes her body and mind with the force of a thousand bricks pushing down harder and harder on her chest, until her sternum can no longer bear the pressure. A cloud the color of onyx hovers over her seemingly lifeless body, reminding her of the night before. So she lies there, comforted by the familiar safety of her full-sized comforter, until the sun dips behind the horizon and the moon greets her with enthusiasm. Her brain receptors buzz with serotonin and the relentless bricks compressing her chest finally have mercy on her fragile bones; she feels lighter than air. 

She immediately calls August, her words tripping and tumbling out of her throat and onto her iPhone. She apologizes profusely, explaining to August that she never meant what she said and it will never happen again. This conversation has become a routine, every Sunday, at exactly 11 PM. Vibrating with bliss, Winter gets ready at lightning speed. She throws her curly blond hair into a careless bun, messily tosses on some mascara, and chooses a pair of denim shorts with a gray sweatshirt. She dances around her room hyperly, screaming the lyrics to one of her favorite songs blasting from her bluetooth speaker. She hears the familiar growl of August’s Dodge Charger and bolts out the front door like an inmate escaping the haunting walls of solitary confinement. The air is thick with humidity and she should not be wearing a sweatshirt in July, but the weather isn’t even a thought in her disconnected conscience. Winter’s mind is consumed with carbonation as she plops into August’s car and wraps her arms around her forcefully, knocking the wind out of her. As the two drive off into the night, Winter gabs on and on about anything and everything, disregarding the nonsense ejecting from her mouth like vomit. 

The two pull into a run-down convenience store with the sudders hanging onto the windows by a thread. The tan building with coffee colored stains on the sides would be sufficient for just energy drinks and chips. August groans about how sketchy the place looks, but Winter persists, exclaiming that she wants a Redbull right now and she’ll just die if she doesn’t get it. August expresses her disdain toward the eerie store again yet Winter continues trying to persuade her. After August refuses for the fourth time, the busy bumble bees fluttering behind Winter’s dilated pupils grow angry, stinging her sharply. The anger festers inside Winter’s stomach. It is as if a wildfire ascended from hell, enveloping the two girls in the flames; they each knew there was no way to escape their fate. Winter’s words resemble a nail gun, puncturing each fragment of August’s soul, letting the wounds bleed out without lenience. As August sobs in the driver’s seat, Winter chuckles and continues firing her insults. Disgust and hate control her words as if the brakes of her brain gave out, leaving her helplessly hurtling downhill. Becoming annoyed at her friend’s tears, Winter darts out of the car, leaving August with only the low hum of the broken street light as a companion. The immense joy that Winter had been overcome with just a few minutes prior had completely drained from her sprinting body. Each step she took landed on the pavement heavily, thudding like a judge’s gavel sentencing her to the death penalty. 

The front door swings open and bangs against the wall with enough force to shake the entire house. Winter storms up to her room, the rage devouring her entire body. Unable to control the violent thoughts racing through her mind, she impulsively destroys her entire room, making sure to shred the light brown teddy bear August had gotten her for her birthday. She demolishes her closet, ripping apart her clothes and throwing her shoes haphazardly around her room. Her vanity sits in the corner of the room untouched, as though it’s taunting her to choose it’s fate. She storms over to the makeup stand and throws the soft vanilla stool across the room. She drags her irate hands across the table, showering the floor like confetti with dozens of products. Time freezes as she gazes at herself in the gigantic mirror attached to the vanity. Her reflection is unrecognizable. Her nose doesn’t belong to her. Her mouth is not hers. She always thought her eyes were sage green, yet somehow they emulated the moss in a bottomless, unkempt swamp. Ridden with revulsion, she lifts her unfamiliar forearm and smashes her reflection without a shred of hesitation. A pool of blood begins to gush from her arm like a faucet that she is unable to turn off. She watches the blood spew from her veins, unperturbed by the chills and faintness that has overtaken her body. She lays on her bed, eyes staring blankly up at her ceiling. As she counts the nicks and cracks, her eyes begin to close. Maybe her eyelids are just particularly heavy today.

Sarah Mengel

Kutztown '23

Junior English major with a minor coffee addiction :)
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