Handle With Care"People always want to know what it feels like, so I’ll tell you: there’s a sting when you first slice, and then your heart speeds up when you see the blood, because you know you’ve done something you shouldn’t have, and yet you’ve gotten away with it. Then you sort of go into a trance, because it’s truly dazzling—that bright red line, like a highway route on a map that you want to follow to see where it leads. And—God—the sweet release, that’s the best way I can describe it, kind of like a balloon that’s tied to a little kid’s hand, which somehow breaks free and floats into the sky. You just know that balloon is thinking, Ha, I don’t belong to you after all; and at the same time, Do they have any idea how beautiful the view is from up here? And then the balloon remembers, after the fact, that it has a wicked fear of heights.
When reality kicks in, you grab some toilet paper or a paper towel (better than a washcloth, because the stains don’t ever come out 100 percent) and you press hard against the cut. You can feel your embarrassment; it’s a backbeat underneath your pulse. Whatever relief there was a minute ago congeals, like cold gravy, into a fist in the pit of your stomach. You literally make yourself sick, because you promised yourself last time would be the last time, and once again, you’ve let yourself down. So you hide the evidence of your weakness under la
― Jodi Picoult, Handle with Care