‘Have you self harmed before Mr. Andrews?’
‘What? … ow!’
‘Local anaesthetic, please keep still while I do the sutures. Would you like to talk to someone?’
‘Talk to who? I just need to be sewn up and get home’ I pleaded.
Shock was beginning to set in and I couldn’t take in what the young woman doctor was saying. I looked at the clock on the wall.
‘I think I left the gas on.’
She frowned. ‘Gas as well and yet at the last moment you didn’t go through with it, that’s good, but you need to speak with one of our counsellors.’
‘Look, embarrassing as it is, I’m a doctor too…’
‘No need to be ashamed, statistically doctors are more likely to attempt suicide and more likely to succeed.’
I sat up straight, knocking the tray of equipment.
‘No, no, this was an accident. I’ve done that course, Thinking About Mental Health… I work in this department, you must be new?’
‘In four months time the only mental health you’ll be thinking about is your own, thanks you for your concern but…’
‘I am concerned there could be nerve damage Doctor Andrews, we need to refer you for further treatment.’
‘The only damage to my nerves will be my wife’s reaction when I get home, how can I explain this was all the pumpkin’s fault?’
It all started last week when the children were pestering us. They ‘needed’ Halloween costumes and rubber spiders etc. The advantage of being older parents? We have enough sense not to be sucked into blatant commercialism. No trick or treat, no ghost masks. My wife suggested the All Hallows’ Eve Festival of Light at the local church, being held to counter commercial exploitation of children, or was it to pray for deliverance from evil? Either way I did not want to spend my precious day off going to church, so I promised a surprise and tasty supper on their return.
Late this afternoon pumpkins were being sold off cheap at the greengrocers and I had it all planned. A circle of happy pumpkin faces dangling from the trees in the front garden, pumpkin soup recipe off the internet.
The first two orange heads were impressive, the third a bit tough, but the soup smelt nice. The fourth pumpkin was impenetrable, sharper knife and more force needed.
Purlicue… thena web… that piece of loose skin betwixt thumb and forefinger. I didn’t feel any pain as the knife sliced straight through… my energetic attack on the pumpkin meant the force carried the blade straight on down my palm and left wrist before my right hand thought to drop the knife. Blood spurted everywhere as I tried to tie a makeshift bandage with one hand and my teeth.
Now I looked again at the clock in the cubicle. My family were about to arrive home to a burnt out saucepan, a vivid trail of blood and no sign of me.