the last time i tried to kill myself and was too ashamed to tell my therapist | Abigail Staub

Editor’s note: trigger warnings for sexual assault, suicide

a college student asked me if it was true that i’d fuck him for booze;
he said he knew how i liked it,

scratched like a broken record and beaded with sweat as he tore me open with his teeth.
he said he was told that i’d let him take me however he wanted for a bottle of Jack Daniels—
he swore he could get a handle by the end of the week
before i even answered.
i shook my head, no no no,
but he just kept repeating, “i shouldn’t be asking, but i couldn’t resist.
it’s our little secret.”


a man twice my age named me kitten and sneered in a dark whisper that my skin was the closest thing he had to religion.
he’d love to lock me away where light couldn’t touch me—
only him. only him.
he said he ached to have me chained on a bed for him,
sprawled out like some lifeless cadaver.
“i want to make you my ragdoll,” he said. “that’s how girls like you always want it.”
i told him he’d never even brush my hand and he sighed,
“oh c’mon, little lolita. you can’t tease me like that.
you can’t wear those little stockings
and expect me to bite my tongue.
it’s our little secret.”


even the boys were wolves,
sinking hungry fangs in my flesh and holding me frozen in their jaws like some cowering prey.
one of them was someone i once dared to call friend
he cornered me in a crowded hallway just to ask,
“did you really talk dirty to a man with greying hair?
tell me one phrase; the filthiest one on your tongue.
i didn’t know you had it in you.
just spit it out— it’s our little secret.”


i’d go home and carve “i’m not what i seem” one hundred times into the back of my bookshelf like some morbid mantra,
but the girls’ whispers in the sweaty, graffiti-covered school bathrooms
still combined to form a gentle hum of whore,
although not one of them
truly knew why.


one day I wrote to the world,
“most nights I wish my lungs would give up on me
like everybody else has.”
the world simply yelled back, “maybe you wouldn’t feel so shitty if you didn’t let your legs slip open so easily in the first place….
i started to spend my nights sitting on the edges of roofs, wondering wondering wondering if I’d ever be brave enough to let go of the shingles
and sometimes i drank so much the world blurred like a giant teardrop
and i smiled to myself as darkness swallowed me, thinking, i’d be okay if this was the last fucking breath.


i began to picture how i’d come to my last crescendo,
feasting on the fantasies
under my breath, between textbook pages,
in the cracked leather of public transit seats.
perhaps i’d walk slowly towards the sound of the train at the pace of a waltz,
and meet death with a dance.
i’d step out onto the tracks and let the cars
break my bones to match the shambles in my rib cage.


maybe i’d fill the bathtub to a boiling brim,
and try to get a taste of the flames licking my skin.
i’d pull the old razor blades from the wilted cardboard box under my mattress
and cut so deep the crimson rolled out in poetic swells,
like some cloudy ocean reflecting the sky
before a storm.


or perhaps i’d walk to the edge of the lake in a drunken stupor,
and swallow a whole bottle of cheap liquor
like the heart of the first boy i never loved.
i’d neatly slip off my shoes and let my body dissolve into the green in a Virginia Wolfe sort of way,
as the words rang in my ears,
i’m sorry i’m sorry i’m sorry.


yet it never happened like I thought.
it wasn’t fucking poetic—
i was alone on my bedroom floor with my head between my knees
sitting beside a nearly empty bottle of vodka and clutching at a trashcan of my own bile
like some sick lifeline.
i drowned my heart with eighteen shots
and threw back a few pills for nerves so i wouldn’t
shake when i greeted the devil.
when finally i could no longer connect letters into words,
darkness’ cold fist wrapped around my ribs and squeezed.
yet somehow, when he unfurled the palm,
i still had a pulse.


in the morning i awoke and
scrubbed death’s perfume from my skin.
i swallowed life back in my lungs and pushed him to the back of my skull with the others.
but sometimes he still crawls into my bed
and curls around my torso,
wetting his lips and whispering,
“remember the last time i almost had you?
don’t forget.
it’s our little secret.”
Abigail Staub lives outside of Richmond, Virginia and enjoys writing angst-ridden free verse, reading excessive numbers of classic literature novels, and listening to strange, folk-punk music. She identifies as a bisexual female and has spent her 17 years trying to learn how to be a decent human being. She blogs on Tumblr at

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, poetry, and creative nonfiction from marginalized creators.

7 thoughts on “the last time i tried to kill myself and was too ashamed to tell my therapist | Abigail Staub

  1. Amazingly Powerful. For my age and gender it really got me thinking about that much hurt and pain in her life.

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