I Hate My Life
“I hate my life,” Lexie snapped at the iPhone, tapping on the keyboard.
Settling on the bright green and purple bedspread, Lexie typed in a phone number: 828–555-6556 on her iPhone and pressed Send. It would be weird if she just typed in a real number. Playing with numbers on the phone gave her something to do instead of what she really wanted to do: cut.
She looked around the mess of the room she shared with her sister, Angel. Angel moved into Lexie’s room after Damon came to live with them. Lexie uncurled her legs. Pacing the room, she glowered at the chaotic debris Angel left. Scattered crayons, random papers, and Angelina Ballerina books littered the desktop. Lexie shuddered looking into the open door of the closet: cluttered shoes and sweaters and and dresses never hung up. She crinkled her nose and sniffed. It smelled like dirty sneakers and baby powder. How can a seven year old have smelly feet? She hated a messy room.
Lifting up the books on top of the desk, Lexie found her drawings from art class. Mrs. Anderson really liked the picture of the blue heron flapping its wings and the sunset over the marsh. She thought touching up the background trees might lighten her mood. Lexie held the drawing in her hand and made no move to clear the desk. It was too much trouble. The drawing rejoined the others that needed work.
Lexie stopped pacing, sprawled on the bed, then sat cross-legged, as still as a Buddha. Her fingers itched to reduce the pain. Angel took over her room, Kelsey had a boy friend, and the unfinished space over the garage remained unfinished. She fantasized about her new suite: bedroom, art studio, and bathroom with hot tub.
She leaped from the bed and strode from bathroom door to the door of her room. Overwhelmed her by pain and numbness, she thought about her life: adopted, didn’t look like her mom, dad, or Angel, their precious biological baby. She had no privacy and no best friend. Feelings of loneliness and rejection rolled over her like a giant wave at high tide. She hated to feel this pain. She hated her life.
Succumbing to the need of release, she cracked her door; no one was in the hall. She closed the bathroom door and wished for the millionth time that it locked. Lexie squatted by the cabinet and pulled out the gift box that held her razor blades. Eyes closed, she told herself, don’t do this; the relief doesn’t last.
Lexie held the razor blade tightly in her left hand and looked at her soft inner thigh. She made a tentative scratch. No blood came and she pressed deeper until the scratch began to bleed. Lexie closed her eyes and relaxed with the physical pain feeling the emotional pain ebb. Sitting on the side of the bathtub, she held the cut closed. A noise came from the bedroom; Angel’s whiny voice intruded.
“Stay out of the bathroom, Angel. Don’t you dare open that door.”
“I just came to get my Princess Belle doll. Don’t be such a big grump.” The bedroom door slammed shut.
Five minutes later, she wadded up the bloody toilet paper, checked the cut once more and flushed the paper down the toilet. This was the deepest cut she had made in two months. Lexie didn’t like to cut that deep; she didn’t want scars, just scratch marks.
Lexie walked to the dresser, opened the third drawer, and reached under her underwear to grasp a parquet box. She lifted its lid and picked up the old newspaper article on top. It was dated March 3, the day after her birthday. The front-page headline read: Baby Girl Abandoned at Local Hospital. Lexie unfolded the creased paper. She slid her fingers over the page, pausing over the crinkles to smooth them out. She mouthed the words memorized from so many years of reading the article:
Baby Girl Abandoned at Local Hospital
Hospital officials report that a baby girl less than thirty minutes old was left at the emergency room door of the Winston County Hospital. The infant weighed seven pounds eight ounces. She was wrapped in a tattered Virginia tee shirt. “Although the umbilical cord was still attached,” a hospital spokesperson, Marie Lucas, reported, “the baby is healthy and doing well.”
Local police are asking citizens to help find a car seen speeding from the parking lot. It was identified as an old black Jeep missing a taillight and the right rear passenger window. Officials are also asking the mother to come forward, stating that she will not be prosecuted for abandoning the baby.
Lexie whispered, “What kind of mother abandons her newborn baby like that? She must have been a monster.”
Mom’s voice intruded, “Alexis, supper is almost ready. Come set the table.”
“Why do I have to set the table? Her majesty, Princess Angelina, never sets the table,” mumbling, walking into the kitchen.
“What did you say?” asked her mother in a sharp voice.
“Nothing.” She grabbed four plates.
She stopped at the high chair to greet Damon, her adopted baby brother. “Hi, Bubba,” she cooed at the two-year-old who looked back at herhair, and then patted down her own bushy dark hair.
Damon burst into a chorus of gibberish, gestured to Lexie while she placed the plates and silverware on the table. She handed him a spoon and he began to bang on the tray of his high chair. The kitten darted from under the table and ran into the other room. She grinned at the laughing baby. “Baby Bro, when will you learn to speak English so we can understand you?”
“The people at the orphanage spoke only Haitian Creole to him, so it may take him more than two months to learn English.” Mom laughed. “By the way, I have a doctor’s appointment for him on Wednesday. I need you to watch Angel for me when you get home from school. It’s so hard to take her with us. Get the blue bowl for the corn, please.”
Lexie stood on tiptoes to reach the bowl. She dropped to her feet, slammed the cabinet door, and banged the bowl on the granite counter top. She winced at the loud noise and glanced toward her mother. She quickly dumped the corn and placed the bowl on the table.
Mom chopped the carrots with such force that ends flew off the cutting board. She grabbed them and threw them in the sink. Not looking up, she said, “Ask Kelsey to come here. She can stay for dinner, and I’ll rent you a movie. And she can sleep over.” Mom added the carrots to the salad and pushed back a“I haven’t seen her all weekend. Anything the matter?”
“No. When are going to start on my room? Angel is such a slob. I hate having my room look like a pig pen.”
Mom’s blue eyes flashed as she let out a sigh. “Lexie, give me a break. We’ve talked about this a million times. The people at the orphanage thought it best for Damon to have a room close to ours. Taking Angel’s room was best because it’s next to ours and you have the other bath. Turning the unfinished room into a bedroom for you will take time and money.”