I have never been a person who was for any kinds of self-harm. Anything from cutting to burning to even offing yourself, I always found it to be a little extreme. I mean, it seems like a long-term solution to a short-term problem. I never expected to see anything like I did years and years ago, in a long-forgotten August. It was a few weeks after hurricane Andrew had hit my homestate of Florida - I was eight at the time. My family had lived in an apartment at the time, and were fortunate that the huge storm didn't topple the building. Because of this storm and how many houses it must've leveled, we had a lot more people renting out rooms in our prevously near-empty apartment complex. I remember when he moved in. He was a man that looked to be in his forties - however, he looked like he had begun to grow bald already. He moved into the space next to my family - my mother, father and I. He was a very quiet man - and even through that, he still seemed relatively kind. There was a single door that connected his section to ours - and the door was in MY room. However, he was always quiet at night while I was trying to sleep, so I didn't mind. After a few weeks, I began to hear what sounded like soft thumping noises coming from behind that door - like if someone was moving something heavy around - followed by a few grunts. I could only guess at the time that he was moving furnature around or something, so I brushed it off. The following night, however, I started to hear...scraping sounds.
I could not explain the sound at the time, but now I can describe it as someone sharpening something - like a knife or something. I continued hearing many other various sounds from that door - the thumping, scraping, and some new sounds - hissing, squeaking, and even occasionally sizzling sounds - like if someone had burned a burger they were grilling or something. During this time, I saw the man less and less, and when I did, it was only very breifly as he sulkenly shuffled into his room. He always wore thick, winter jackets that covered most of his body, and golves - which I thought was really stange in the Florida heat. The last time I ever saw him alive was when I saw him walk into his room with an especially large bag. That night, the sounds were even louder than usual, and more frequent. Being an eight-year-old girl, I cared deeply about getting a full night's sleep. So, despite my inhibitions, I crawled out of bed and approached the door. The sounds had stopped ten minutes prior, but now I was curious more than anything. I brought my hand to the knob and turned it - surprisingly, it was unlocked. I creaked the door open just slightly and said: "Excuse me, mister, but you're being awfully loud-"
I stopped. I took a good look at the room - the furnature and walls was stained with spatters of dried blood. I opened the door more, and the scent of blood and rot assaulted my nose. I gagged a bit and stumbled, barefoot and in my night shirt, into the room. The floor was crusty in some places, wet in others, with what I can only describe as a mixture of dried blood and vomit. Various tools were scattered around the room - scalpels, hammers, saws, screwdrivers, and knives, with various degrees of staining. The bed was the worst thing about the entire room - it was just a matress, no sheets, no pillows, just a white, red-crusted mattress. The harsh odor smelled like it was coming, at it's essence, from the bathroom. My heart nearly pounding out of my chest, I opened the door to the bathroom. I will never forget what I saw inside. The man that lived in this house was in a drawn bath of what I guess used to be water. It was now a dark red color, the blood from his slit throat dying it like a sick foood coloring. His right arm, hanging out of the tub, was covered in slashes and burn marks. I was absolutely horrified, and ran out of the room and back into mine screaming and crying.I'm sure I woke up the entire complex with my shreiks. My father ran into my room with a baseball bat, and my mother ran in shortly behind and scooped me up into her arms. They saw the state of our neighbor's room and called 9-1-1.
The man, Joseph Corella, was 47 years old and recovering from clinical depression and anxiety. The various stains around the room were all identified to be his, and all of his wounds - the slashes, slices, burns, and the slit throat - were all self-inflicted.
I still cannot fathom why any person would torture themselves like that. What could possibly drive any person to such acts?
I can never forget that day. I can see him still, his eyes glassy and blank and blood still dripped from his open neck and into the pool around him. I can see the tools, sharp and beckoning me. I can see it all as I open the veins in my wrist, as my blood pours into the bathwater. Every time I close my eyes, I see him, I see his blood, I see his scars, I see his SMILE.
I bring the razor to my throat.
And as that cool, sharpened blade runs across my neck...