Kiss My Disease
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"It's not going to stop." Lorna Reicher said
stoically, staring at herself through the steamy
mirror, her voice a tiny speck of a whisper. During
the past few months Lorna had seen countless numbers
of psychiatrists, all of whom had quickly attributed
her problems to the "teenager syndrome" of feeling
unwanted and ignored.
However, for Lorna, it was much more complicated
than that, and much more damaging than any of those
psychiatrists could ever fathom. She had plenty of
friends; plenty of people who cared about her and whom
she cared about in return. The problem was not her
peers, it wasn't even Lorna herself.
She was still looking in the mirror when she
heard her father knock on the bathroom door, the sound
of it making her heart race and her feet jump off of
the ground an inch or two. His knock was heavy with
anger; identical to the expression he constantly wore
on his face.
"Get out of the bathroom, Lorna. You're going to
make me late for work again." He snarled, then
retreated from the door, his footsteps sounding like
lead against the hardwood floor.
Lorna let out a deep sigh before picking up the
small paper cup that she had filled with the
lemon-scented Lysol she had found under the sink only
moments earlier. It was a last minute decision to use
the disinfectant, and under the circumstances, it was
the best she could do without her father noticing.
The lemony stench of it filled her nostrils long
before she ever emptied the contents into her mouth,
but she knew it had to be done. She couldn't stop now,
not after all she'd been through. If she didn't end
it now, it'd never end. Lorna plugged her nose with
one hand, and then downed the clear liquid in the cup.
It burned her throat as it slid down, and lit the
hairs in her nose on fire. It would become more
painful than that later on, but the alternative was
pleasantness; and she'd pay anything for that.
After she collected herself as best she could,
Lorna left the bathroom and walked back to her
bedroom. Wrapping her bathrobe around her tightly,
she slid into bed, pulling the covers all the way up
to her chin. She lay there silently, closing her eyes
in relaxation once she heard her father go into the
bathroom and close the door behind him. It'll be too
late by the time he finds me, she thought to herself.
It hadn't always been like this, she didn't used
to feel this constant fear towards her father. When
she was younger he had been a regular father, he used
to act like he actually cared for her. It was before
her mother left when he changed into someone Lorna
barely recognized. He became angry all the time,
berating her in front of her friends when she did
something wrong, making her feel small and
insignificant with a choice set of words. Lorna knew
he became mean because of her mother leaving; she
figured her mother left because she saw the kind of
man he really was. The thing that really hurt, though,
is that she never thought to take Lorna with her. Her
mother left her with him, and a part of Lorna couldn't
help but blame her mother for the things that had been
happening to her.
With a tear rolling out of the corner of her
eye, Lorna remembered the first time her father ever
made her feel like she was less than nothing. It
happened six years ago, when she was ten. She and her
friend, Morgan, had come to spend some time at her
house after school. Their feet were muddy from taking
their shortcut from school to Lorna's house. The
shortcut involved them jumping over the small creek
that separated Lorna's small neighborhood from the
school grounds, and then walking through a muddy
terrain that led to the main street, 8 N Avenue. It was
a shortcut they took everyday, and everyday they came
home with muddy feet.
Lorna and Morgan carefully walked into the house
that day, their muddy shoes in their hands. Lorna
washed her shoes in the sink first, when she was done
the sink was a mess; splatters of mud covered the sink
and the counter surrounding it. Neither of the girls
worried, figuring they could easily clean up the mess
after they finished washing their shoes. It was
Morgan's turn to do her own shoes, when Lorna's father
walked through the door.
His eyes narrowed on the mess the two girls had
made, then his eyes fell upon Lorna. The look on his
face alone made Lorna want to crawl under a rock and
hide, it was the most frightening she had ever seen
her father look. Before she could get even one word
out to explain, he walked towards her hurriedly and
grabbed her wrist. He yanked her out of the bathroom,
past Morgan, and pulled her in front of him.
"What do you think you're doing?" He growled, the
anger in his voice rising as he talked through his
"We were cleaning off the mud that got on our
shoes," Lorna said quietly, only to be cut off by her
"Look at that damn mess you made." He yelled,
pointing his finger towards the bathroom, then turning
it back in Lorna's direction and jabbing it in her
chest after each word. "Why are you so stupid? Can't
you even think straight?" He continued, ignoring the
painful look on Lorna's face as his finger kept poking
her in her chest. "Clean it up before I get back, and
take your friend home."
He walked away from Lorna and retreated into his
bedroom to get the papers he had come back for, and
then he left the house, slamming the door behind him.
Lorna was crying hysterically, rubbing the sore patch
on her chest that was throbbing horrendously. Morgan
looked on from the bathroom, absolutely terrified from
what she had just witnessed.
"You should probably go home now." Lorna said
through sniffles, unable to look her friend in the
face after the humiliation she had just suffered.
"Are you okay, Lorna?" Morgan squeaked,
"Go home, please." Lorna replied, her body
trembling in shock. "I'll see you at school
tomorrow" Morgan mumbled a reluctant Okay, grabbing
her shoes and walking out the front door. Still
crying, Lorna went back into the bathroom and began
cleaning, her tears falling effortlessly into the dry
mud in the sink.
From that day on, Lorna walked around her father
very carefully. She analyzed everything she did
before he had a chance to, that way she figured he
wouldn't have a reason to yell at her. Despite this,
he always found a way to get deep beneath her skin.
Anything she did warranted a comment from him, whether
it be drawing a picture, writing a story for school,
or doing the dishes. His outbursts happened so often
that she began to think he was enjoying it, like the
image of him hammering away at her self-worth day in
and day out was something that he could take pride in.
As she became older, that fear she had felt at
the age of ten had distorted into a thin line between
crippling fear and blind hatred by the age of fifteen.
The hatred became so intense that Lorna sometimes
chose to ignore the consequences; she lashed out as
often as she could every time he put her down. It
worked for a while, she began to feel better about
herself and he even backed off for a while.
However, it didn't last long, as her father
couldn't stay silent forever. Ironically, it only
took one sentence from him to cripple her newfound
self-esteem, and forever lessen her attempt at gaining
any type of confidence within herself.
It was the Friday exactly three months before
her second, and ultimately last, suicide attempt.
Lorna was in the kitchen emptying the dishwasher, as
she always did after school. Her father was in there
too; throwing away countless dishes of leftovers that
had turned fuzzy and discolored. Lorna backed away
from the dishwasher to put away two glasses that she
loosely held in her hands, at the same time, her
father was backing away from the refrigerator to
dispose of an empty ketchup bottle.
Their bodies collided, the force of which made
Lorna fall to her knees, and caused the glasses to
break right before her. She covered her face,
quickly, in case any glass flew upwards to her face,
but shards still became engraved within the skin of
her forearm while she was protecting herself.
Her father looked down at her pathetically, a
snarl of disgust on his face as his eyes focused in on
his fallen target. "I-I-I'm sorry" Lorna stammered,
quickly trying to pick up the pieces of sharp glass by
cupping the palm of her shaking hand.
"Yeah, you are sorry." He replied coldly, his
seriousness sending a shudder of pain down Lorna's
spine. That statement alone was like a knife being
shoved right into her gut. It seemed to prove
everything Lorna thought about herself, but never
admitted to out loud. "If you weren't so stupid,
maybe your level of clumsiness could improve."
"But-," Lorna began to protest, stopping
herself before she could finish contradicting him;
something that always led to trouble. Unfortunately,
her father sensed the sentence that she had cut off,
and, not sparing a moment to be proven that he too was
at fault, acted quickly. He grabbed a handful of her
hair and pulled her head back roughly, "This will
teach you to keep your damn mouth shut when I'm
talking to you."
He shoved her head down towards the broken
glass, her hands immediately planting themselves in
front of her, putting a halt to her face's path to the
punishing shards. As she felt the sharp edges of the
glass, both big and small in size, shove themselves
into her palms she yelped, and closed her eyes in
pain. She fought the vomit rising in her throat as
she raised her palms up and saw blood flowing,
relentlessly, from her wounds, glass still poking out
from most of the cuts.
"Consider that a reminder. You don't speak when
I talk, and you sure as hell don't talk back to me. I
am your father until the day you die, and will respect
me. You'd better remember that in the future." Her
father said, letting go of Lorna's hair and going back
over to the refrigerator to continue his cleaning.
Moments of peace were few and far between after
the first incident with Morgan. The last time Lorna
felt any form of comfort happened nearly seven years
ago, a few months before her mother had left them.
Lorna had tripped on the sidewalk outside of their
house, and skinned her knee mildly. Despite this, she
wailed as her mother helped her inside and tended the
wound with Neosporin and a few bandages. Her mother
kissed her knee lightly, and then looked at her
daughter as only a mother could.
That one moment, no matter how short and
seemingly insignificant, would be engraved within
Lorna's mind forever. The mere mention of her mother,
from that day on, would trigger the memory of a time
when her pain could be wiped away with a single kiss
from the woman who had given birth to her.
Now, however, Lorna's wounds were closed, and
trapped inside of her was a disease. A disease that
had slithered out from her father's spiteful words and
seeped their way into her through her pores. It was a
disease that couldn't be kissed away, because it was
eating away at her heart every minute of every day;
festering and deteriorating every emotion she held
dear until she could no longer bear it anymore.
Lorna's first attempt to kill herself was
ill-conceived, and poorly thought out. From what she
had seen in the movies, a slit on both wrists would do
the trick. But, she didn't realize how slow of a
process it could be, and just how horridly painful it
really was. To make matters worse, her father had
walked in on her. He suppressed his anger long enough
to call 911, making Lorna feel even more disgusted
that he could still find the urge to scream at her
despite the fact that she had just tried to kill
herself before his very eyes.
The price she had to pay for the first attempt
was three weeks in the hospital, two of which were
spent in the Psychiatric Ward with dozens of people
worse off than she was. The main difference that she
found between her and the others in the Ward was that
while they were all confused in the matters of what
direction their lives were heading in; she was
completely sane about the situation. She had no doubt
in her mind that death, although not a last
alternative, was the only one that would do her any
After she was released from the hospital, her
father informed her, rather bluntly, that she wouldn't
be attending school anymore. He blamed her friends
and the pressures of school as the reasons for her
suicide attempt. He told her she would be receiving
home schooling as soon as she fully recovered. This
caused Lorna to withdraw from everything, she didn't
see much point in paying attention if she had to live
her life in isolation from her friends; one of the few
reasons she had even held on for as long as she had.
Now, she had no reasons to hold on at all, and
no reasons to stand up to someone who would surely
just push her down again. Her sight was fading as her
state of consciousness slowly left her body. The
numerous sounds of the early morning coming through
her window were nothing more than echoes, drowning in
the depths of her psyche.
When Henry Reicher came home that evening from
work, he found Lorna in her bed, her eyes wide open,
looking up at the ceiling. Her fingers permanently
gripped the sheets that came up to her neck; her skin
was pale, almost blue. The look of death was etched on
every crevice of his daughter's face, and all Henry
could do was stand over her and stare down blankly at
Lorna's right arm.
During the spasms that Lorna endured after
drinking the Lysol, she had crookedly sketched the
words "YOU DID THIS" on her right forearm with one of
her fingernails, to take away from her concentration
of the pain that was eating away at her insides. The
blood was dry and glossy by the time Henry saw it, but
the sight of it struck him in the heart like an arrow.
He knew exactly what it meant, and the
realization of that brought him to his knees. The
voice of Lorna Reicher whispering, "You did this"
would echo within Henry's mind forever and slowly
drive him insane as the years passed. It would
deteriorate his insanity and he would never, ever,
forget what how he had driven his daughter to take her