“I didn’t want to leave a mess for them to have to clean up,” she said.
The cuts weren’t deep. Una merely bled until she passed out. She woke up an hour later, cold and sticky. Her parents came home and found her cleaning out the bath with Ajax and knew something wasn’t right. That’s how Una ended up under the psychiatric care of Dr. Berger. She dropped out of school to “concentrate on getting balanced.” After almost a year of thrice-weekly therapy, she’d stopped cutting her arms and was even able to make dark jokes about the car accident.
“I was guilty of being young,” she said. “If I’m lucky, I’ll outgrow it.”
She earned her GED, no sweat, and got a full-time sales job at a department store because she liked their clothes. She said that she was “more than ready” to get out from under her parents’ roof but that they didn’t want to her go.
“You’re lucky,” Una said.
“At least no one found you so unappealing they used you as their emotional punching bag.”
“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence,” I said.
“Then that’s where I’m going,” Una said, smacking her open palms on the table.
“I don’t think you understand what the saying means,” I said. “It means sheep think the grass on the other side of the fence is greener, but it’s really not. It means appreciate what you’ve got.”
“No,” said Una. “It means smart sheep are always on the lookout for something better. It means, even if the home turf is green and good and five-star cud-worthy gourmet grass, a sheep might jump the fence just to get a taste of something different. She might jump for the sake of jumping, just to have some fun before being trucked off to the slaughterhouse and turned into fucking chops.”
“God,” I groaned and laughed. “That’s a little morbid, isn’t it?”
“Morbid? Why? Death is a fact of life. You, of all people, should know that.”