Morning routines should be simple and effortless when you’re young and thriving. They should invigorate you and you should feel a sense of determination as you prepare for the day ahead.
This was not the case for Maggie. Every day she continued to live was harder than the one before. She would always wonder Why is this happening to me?
The Incident happened three months ago.
Maggie, a freshman in college, had followed her roommate Sara and some friends to a mixer held by the school’s top sorority and fraternity. Sara was a prospective pledge and hopeful to get on a good standing with the head girls. Maggie never cared for these sorts of things but decided to go to join in the fun.
Drinks were already being passed around by the time they arrived at the fraternity house. Prospective and active members were engaged in numerous activities such as drunk karaoke, strip poker, and beer pong. Sara had no trouble mingling and grabbing a drink from the “open bar” in the kitchen. Maggie, on the other hand, stayed to herself and tried to find a spot where she’d be comfortable. She followed their friend Trixi into the living room and the pair stayed against the wall, sipping cheap wine from the Solo cups that they were given by an obviously drunk frat boy.
They watched on as two teams played multiple rounds of beer pong. While not entirely disinterested, Maggie and Trixi knew that they shouldn’t have been there. It wasn’t long before they spotted Sara giggling away with some rich-looking jock and running up the stairs with him.
Nauseated and bored, Maggie turned to Trixi. “Should we try to get out of here?”
Trixi nodded but seemed unsure. “I don’t think we should leave Sara here alone, Mags.”
“She’ll be fine. She’s got tall, blond, and gorgeous taking care of her.” Maggie took a swig of the wine.
“Yeah, he’s ‘taking care of her’ alright,” a voice next to them whispered.
The pair looked to find a lanky figure clad in a leather jacket, black V-neck tee, and black denim standing against the wall where they were, taking a drag from a cigarette. Sensing their confusion as to what he meant, he chuckled and blew a puff of smoke in their faces.
“You know, girls, they’re doing it.”
“Doing what?” Trixi asked, naivety evident in her expression.
“Duh,” Lanky Biker Boy answered, giving her a look.
“Oh, gross,” Trixi shuddered. “I sure hope not.”
“That’s what sometimes happens at these things, ladies,” Lanky answered, taking another drag from his cigarette before stubbing it out on the sole of his boot. “I’m Tristan, by the way,” he said, extending a hand.
“Pleasure,” said Trixi as she gave him a pass-over with her eyes, her arms folded in front of her. Maggie could only watch and nod as she sipped her wine.
“Not talking, huh?” Tristan asked her, raising a brow.
“Not in the mood,” she replied. “I think I’m gonna go, Trix. I’ll see you at the dorm?”
“Yeah, sure,” Trixi said, her gaze hooked on Tristan.
While she didn’t want to abandon her friends, Maggie knew she had to go. It just wasn’t her scene. Plus, she was heading home tomorrow for her little sister’s birthday party, and she’d rather not show up hungover.
As she walked home alone, she could feel a certain unease come over her. Is someone following me? she wondered. She stopped to check several times, circling around to make certain she hadn’t been followed. She didn’t get far before a tall, dark figure jumped out at her and attacked her. The next few minutes were a blur as she felt him pin her to the concrete and she tried to scream for help. Despite her best attempt to struggle free, her assailant was much stronger. She felt him raise her skirt above her hips and heard the tear of fabric as he exposed her. She screamed desperately for someone, anyone, to find her and help her. But it was no use. He was relentless, and no one else was around at that time of night. When he finished, he left her there. Cold, afraid, and bleeding, she lay there until she could find the strength to move. With silent tears streaming down her face, she made her way to her dorm.
She couldn’t do anything. She couldn’t tell anyone. For days, she’d barely eat anything. She was afraid to shower in the hall bathroom unless she was alone, so she could hide her tears—and, her cutting. Soon, she was wearing longer clothes to cover the scars on her wrists, her stomach, and her legs. She started to skip classes and her grades began to drop. Sara moved out and joined the head sorority and started snickering behind her back when she’d pass in the hallways and through the courtyards. Trixi was too caught up with Tristan to even notice how silent and distant she had been lately. The only people who seemed to care were her professors, but even they were wise enough not to ask too many questions.
Today, she sits in her bedroom at home, with her family for the holidays. She still hasn’t told anyone. Her mother is starting to question if something is wrong, but Maggie’s only response is, “I’m fine.”
She decided today, with the family out on errands, that something needed to give.
She knew that she was slipping. She’d flunked out of her first semester. Her parents were disappointed, but they told her that maybe she just wasn’t ready and that she’ll try again next year. But Maggie knew that wasn’t it at all.
Maggie can’t take it any longer.
She has the house to herself today.
She knows where every single pill is that can help to numb this pain.
She just wants it all to go away.
She goes to the kitchen and roots through the cabinet, finding a bottle of her mother’s Xanax. She leaves a note on the counter with only two words: “I’m sorry.”
In the upstairs bathroom, a claw-foot tub is overflowing with crimson regret and scalding water as the once plush face of Margaret Annabel “Maggie” Davis lolls over the side, eyes blank and lips blue. Her mother is in hysterics as her father shields her sister from the horror.
If only Maggie had the courage to say something.