I shake the white knitted sweater dress I pulled from the back of my closet and try to get the wrinkles out of it. I love this dress, and with fall here and a nice breeze in the air, I can finally wear it again. Not to mention everything else I own has become a little snug over the last few months.
No one tells you when you move out of your parents’ house that having the freedom of your own space and kitchen might make you go a little overboard. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but when there’s no one else around to eat what I’ve cooked I end up eating it all myself. If my brother is around, I know he’ll eat it all himself, but he’s hardly ever home. I share this massive penthouse with him, but he’s a true workaholic and part of the reason I agreed to move in here.
It’s like living alone most of the time and it’s wonderful. Not because I don’t love my brother, because I do, but I’ve been ready to spread my wings for a while now. I’m beyond ready to step out into the world and live my own life. One event years ago and I’ve been labeled the girl made of glass.
I’m treated as if at any moment I’ll break or something will harm me.
I turn in the mirror and peer over my shoulder to the scar on my back; most of the time I forget about it. That whole day is still a blur in my mind. A guy who I thought was my friend was telling everyone that he slept with me. I remember I confronted him about it, but after that the rest is blank. It’s like none of it happened, but the scar says otherwise, just like the years that followed. Life changed for me and my family from that point on.
They told me he went nuts and that after I confronted him, I turned to leave and he lunged at me. The knife entered my back and barely missed my spine before puncturing my lung. All I remember is waking up in a hospital bed a few days later. It hurt to take each breath and sometimes I woke up fighting to breathe. I don’t remember the attack, but it’s like my mind still likes to remind me that it happened.
It was hard to believe to begin with because Jimmy was my friend. It took me a while to believe what everyone was saying, but then they showed me the journals with him rambling about a life he thought we had together. There were also thousands of pictures he’d taken of me. But without the memory of the attack, I don’t feel anger when I think of him. When the memory of him pops up, I’m just sad knowing he’s locked away in a mental hospital. His future changed that day, too.
What I think back on the most is the first day he entered our private high school. He looked so alone as all of us had gone to school together since we were little. No one paid him any attention, but I chose to sit next to him and ask him to be my lab partner.
My family doesn’t have the same feelings about him. They said things about him before the attack and my brother made a comment on not liking the way Jimmy looked at me. He made my parents uneasy, but I’d thought it was because he was a boy and they were being overprotective. I didn’t know what overprotected meant then, but I do now.
If I’d known better, I would have kept my mouth shut about how I felt sorry for him even as I healed from the damage he’d done. Now everyone treats me as if I’d let any stranger off the street come into my home. They all think I’m too innocent for the world. If it was up to my family, I’d still be living at home locked away from the rest of the world.
I remember the panic on my parents’ faces when I said I was going to move out. They couldn’t stop me because I’m an adult and one way or another I was doing it. I didn’t want them in constant fear that something could happen to me, but they had to let me go. I had to grow up and leave sooner or later, so the deal was struck and we all agreed I’d live with my brother.
Turning away from the mirror, I hide the scar from myself and grab my robe. I put it around me over my bra and panties, leaving it open. My phone chimes and I grab it, along with my dress, and walk down the hall, checking the text message from my brother.