The day she scared the shit out of me, was the day I learned I was not really alone in this place. That single action, as horrific as it was to see made us both see – we were not alone. At first it was a comforting thought. Neither one of us had to share this loop alone, then we realized the coldest part of this truth. Or, I did. No matter how comforting it is to not be alone, it’ll never sooth the truth of the matter. And that truth was that we could never go against the flow of this river.
We could never meet, speak, or be anything more than two people who shared a fate at the end of a single day. But that still didn’t stop me from wanting to be more. I assume we both knew that we couldn’t change the day leading up to that moment. But her act of defiance made me realize a secret within this world, nothing could be changed to the world, but we could change ourselves.
Following my same daily pattern, I folded my arms halfway through class and lowered my head. But this time I wouldn’t sleep, this time, I was going to contact her. I pulled up my shirt with just enough skin to work with. “You got this.” I had to make sure this went smoothly, or I risked resetting to an earlier point. “No sound, no reaction, remember, you’re asleep.” In one swift motion I plunged the pencil into my skin.
I couldn’t help but scream. The pain was instant, fiery and nothing could had prepared me. So, I passed out. Not because of the pain, after you’ve died a couple of times you learn to embrace it. Yes, I was unprepared for it and I may have whimpered which could have restarted everything. But, the blood got me. It gathered around the pencil in a ring of sticky red, oozed down my body before squirting out a thin red line beneath my desk. Despite dying so many times, I was still unable to stand the sight of blood.
“It’s just blood.” I told myself restarting for the fifth time “it’s not even a lot.” And not even the half of what you’re trying to do. “You want to get out of here, don’t you? And snow hair there could be your shot. So quit fucking this up!” I grabbed and pulled a piece of my skin “you’re not going to get shit done if you keep passing out. Now take it!” I plunged as deep and hard as I could manage all the while being constricted to how I could move or sounds I could make.
I remained as motionless as a person carving themselves could be. Eagerly, I jerked the pencil down. The urge to vomit was becoming harder to control, my vision became blurry as my body threatened to pass out. “It’s just a single word.” Calming myself down was never something I was good at and living within a repeat didn’t help that.
Snap. I watched the part of the pencil I was holding onto snap in two. “Shit!” I looked up stunned and silent trying hard to ignore the desire to blink, “it’s a restart.” I sighed looking back down at the half-finished letter and the blood covered pencil broken and sticking out of my flesh “this isn’t going to be easy.” But nothing worth it ever was.
It felt like days of attempting. Restarting those hours every time I made a mistake, passed out, vomited or any combination of those. Carving oneself up and maintaining sanity was something horrid. I thought about attempting what she did, keeping my lids open. I had the safety pins to do so, or tube of super glue in my desk. But I couldn’t even fathom the idea of that form of mutilation. I shivered at that thought but I wasn’t going to toss that idea away. Nothing could be taken off the table, if I was going to get out of here or be able to communicate.
“Breath in.” I grabbed my flesh “and out” with one quick motion I jabbed it in. Not too deep this time, because that could break the pencil again. But enough to be able to write the word out quickly. “Breath. In.” I held it “Breath. Out.” Blood was oozing down my stomach, I had to make sure that the blood wouldn’t be too noticeable or this all would have been in vain. “Breath in.” I patted the blood with the inside part of my free hand’s sleeve “Breath out.” I smiled as I pulled the pencil out, “first letter. Done.”
Never once had I looked forward to getting to that station but tonight. I was ready. I ran as fast as I could, trying to follow the same path I always took but I wanted to get there. I wanted to see her, I wanted to speak with her! It was the night! I wasn’t going to be alone anymore.
I rushed onto the platform and looked for her. “Am I early?” I looked at the clock “just a second.” A faint footstep echoed, and I instantly looked in it’s direction. There she was! “Stay calm. Stay calm.” I bit my lip to stop from shouting. She walked to her normal spot and stared in the normal direction. “Slowly.” I said trying to walk over into her gaze “follow the right path, right time, every step needs to be perfect.” I made my way to my spot, directly in her line of sight “a few seconds left before that train came.”
Her eyes looked at me, cold and scared. I tried not to smile because I didn’t know if that would mess up the day or night. I slowly pulled up my shirt as the train entered the station, I needed this to be perfect.
Even if it was just for a split second, I knew she saw. As we jumped, and our bodies met for that tiny second before we restarted. I heard very faintly, “hi.”