Chapter Thirty Eight
“Can’t even kill myself right,” Daaem muttered morosely to himself. He’d been informed by his doctor that he’d very narrowly missed dying.
Typical. It seemed like he narrowly missed everything these days. Now what? Daaem knew that he would be required to go for some kind of therapy at least – would probably have to submit to some ridiculous kind of monitoring as well. Every time he tried to break free, he tangled himself in more chains, it seemed.
The door opened and he braced himself, not bothering to muffle his annoyed groan. He’d made it perfectly clear that he wanted to be left alone. Whoever it was could deal with being offended.
“Hey, Daaem,” Adam Cassim. Again.
“Are you bored?” Daaem demanded bluntly, in no mood to try and keep his temper.
“If I say yes, will it make you feel better?” Adam quirked an eyebrow.
“I didn’t think so. Look, Daaem, I’m not here to irritate you,” Adam held up his hands. “Really.”
“Too late,” Daaem said sweetly. “But you can make it up to me by leaving and never coming back,” he suggested brightly.
“I can’t do that.”
“Why not?” Daaem demanded, thoroughly fed up. “I’m a complete stranger, why do you keep bothering me?”
“Because I can help you. And no one seems to be doing it already. You need help, Daaem. You know it yourself. It’s why you keep trying to find a way to lose yourself. But it’s not working, is it?”
“I don’t want your help,” Daaem said obstinately.
“But you do need it.”
“Get over yourself. You’re not that great.” Maybe if Daaem was rude enough, Adam would leave.
Adam laughed. “No, I’m not. But I know what you’re going through, or nearly. I went through something similar myself.”
“Right,” Daaem agreed sarcastically. “You’re a complete disaster, that’s why you don’t know how to leave people alone!”
Adam sighed. “Do you know what you’re going to do next?” he asked pointedly.
Daaem shrugged. “Try again, probably. Without the mistakes.” That should get some outrage and awkwardness.
“But you didn’t make a mistake,” Adam pointed out. “You did everything right – you should have died.”
“I didn’t. Something went wrong.”
“Yeah, a ton of people worked really hard to save you even though you didn’t deserve it.”
Daaem stared up at Adam in shock. It took a few moments to get his mouth working again. “If you know that, why are you wasting your time here?’
“Why’d you slit your wrists?” Adam asked, off-handedly.
“I wanted to kill myself.” The obviously went unsaid.
“But why with a knife?” Adam asked. “There are easier ways. You’d just had surgery, you would’ve been given a ridiculous amount of painkillers. Add in some over the counter sleeping pills and you would’ve been good to go. Much less painful than slitting your wrists.”
Daaem shrugged. “I dunno, it was there,” he suggested. He did know. He’d wanted to punish himself. He’d wanted it to hurt. He’d needed it to.
“No other reasons?” Adam asked like he already knew the answer.
Adam looked closely at him. “You’re lying,” he announced. “You wanted to hurt yourself, didn’t you?”
Daaem looked away.
“That’s what I thought.” Adam sounded pleased.
Daaem’s cheeks burned with shame. “So what?” he tried to bluff.
Adam sighed. “What are you going to do next, Daaem?”
“I told you,” Daaem cleared his throat, pretending it wasn’t tight with tears, “I’ll try again.”
“And when that doesn’t work? Then what?”
“How do you know it won’t work?” Daaem asked, bizarrely offended.
“Because you don’t actually want to kill yourself. You want to punish yourself and that’s not the same thing.”
“You don’t know anything about me!” Daaem snapped. “Maybe that’s what you wanted once upon a time, maybe it’s what you want now, but it’s not me. Got it?!” He was panting by the time he finished.
“Not you, huh?”
“Not even a little,” Daaem agreed.
“Then… why are you so upset?” Adam grinned.
“Look, what do you have to lose by talking to me?” Adam asked.
Daaem just looked at him.
“Really, what?” Adam arched his eyebrows.
“My dignity, maybe?” Daaem suggested. “Anything I tell you could be leaked to the world.”
“Right,” Adam nodded seriously. “But you’re gonna kill yourself. So why does it matter? You won’t have to deal it, you’ll be dead.”
“I-” Daaem stopped short. “It doesn’t,” he realized. “It doesn’t matter.”
“So why not talk to me?”
Why not? There must have been a reason but Daaem couldn’t remember it. And he’d always wished for someone to give him advice, hadn’t he? Now that someone was offering, why not just take it?
“Okay,” he said finally.
Great.” Adam clapped his hands together. “I’ll be back tomorrow.”
“W-what?” Daaem blurted out. “Why tomorrow? Why not now?”
Adam tapped his watch. “Visiting hours are over,” he explained apologetically. “So, tomorrow?”
When Daaem nodded, he disappeared.
Daaem yanked a pillow over himself, scowling. What madness had he just agreed to?
“Mr. Shaik, you are required to undergo a mandatory psychiatric evaluation before you can be released from this hospital. I will be performing that evaluation today. Anything you say during this evaluation is completely confidential but if you inform me of plans to harm either yourself or others, I am legally required to report these. Do you understand?”
“Do you have any questions for me?” the psychiatrist asked.
Daaem shook his head.
“Alright. Well, my name is Sarah. You can call me Sarah or Dr. Brown. You were admitted after attempting to slit your wrists, is that right?”
“I did slit my wrists,” Daaem corrected. “I just didn’t die.”
“Right,” Dr. Brown made a note on her clipboard.
“Have you been suicidal before?” she asked next.
Daaem tuned out the questions, focusing on the wall opposite him, examining the many cracks.
“Mr. Shaik, if you don’t co-operate with me, I can’t help you,” Dr. Brown said at last.
“I don’t want your help,” Daaem said matter-of-factly. “You’re a complete stranger, there’s no way I’m going to tell you anything remotely private.”
“Why? As you said, I’m a stranger. I don’t know anything about you.”
Daaem nodded. “And I don’t know anything about you either. Do you really think I’d be comfortable enough to talk to you?”
“Many people prefer to speak to strangers because of the lack of judgement and the anonymity of the process. And I am trained to understand the human mind. Neither your actions nor their motivations will shock me.”
Daaem held firm. “I’m not comfortable talking to you. So now what?”
“We try to make you more comfortable,” Dr. Brown responded.
“That would take years.”
“What do you suggest, Daaem? I need to evaluate you or you cannot leave the hospital. That’s not my policy, it’s the law. I need to be sure you’re not a danger to yourself or anyone else.”
“I’m not going to hurt anyone,” Daaem said immediately.
“But you could hurt yourself.” It wasn’t a question.
“Maybe,” Daaem shrugged. “I haven’t decided yet.”