Patricia McCormick: Cut

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Patricia McCormick Cut
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Cut: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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An astonishing PUSH novel about pain, release, and recovery from an amazing new author. Fifteen-year-old Callie isn’t speaking to anybody, not even to her therapist at Sea Pines, the “residential treatment facility” where her parents and doctor sent her after discovering that she cuts herself. As her story unfolds, Callie reluctantly become involved with the other “guests” at Sea Pines — finding her voice and confronting the trauma that triggered her behavior.

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Patricia McCormick



For Meaghan


I’m deeply grateful to The Writers Room, an oasis of serenity in downtown New York; to the Vermont College graduate program in writing for young people, which supported my work at a crucial juncture; to my friends Bridget Starr Taylor, Hallie Cohen, Annie Pleshette Murphy, Chris Riley, Joan Oziel, Joan Gillis, Meg Drislane, Anna An, and Cathy Bailey, who believed in this story even when I didn’t; to Katya Rice who copy edited with sensitivity and good cheer; to Carolyn Coman, the first person to call these pages a book and to Stephen Roxburgh, my editor and publisher; and most of all to my family, Paul, Meaghan, Matt, and Brandon, who have taught me so much about love and honesty.



You say it’s up to me to do the talking. You lean forward, place a box of tissues in front of me, and your black leather chair groans like a living thing. Like the cow it used to be before somebody killed it and turned it into a chair in a shrink’s office in a loony bin.

Your stockinged legs make a shushing sound as you cross them. “Can you remember how it started?” you say.

I remember exactly.

It was at the last cross-country meet, right around the four-mile mark. Everybody had passed me, just like the week before and the week before that. Everybody—except a girl from the other team. We were the only ones left in the last stretch of the course, the part that winds through the woods and comes out behind the school. Our shadows passed along the ground slantwise; slowly they merged, then her shadow passed mine.

The soles of her sneakers swam up and down in front of me, first one, then the other, a grid of ridges that spelled out the upside-down name of the shoe company. My steps fell in time with hers. My feet went where her feet had just been. She leaned in around a corner, I leaned in around a corner. She breathed, I breathed.

Then she was gone.

I couldn’t even picture her anymore. But what scared me, really scared me, was that I couldn’t remember the moment when I’d stopped seeing her. And I knew then that if I couldn’t see her, no one could see me.

Sounds from the track meet floated by. A whistle trilling. Muffled applause, the weak sputtering of gloved hands clapping. I was still running, but now I was off the path, heading away from the finish line, past the cars in the parking lot, the flagpole, and the HOME OF THE LIONS sign. Past fast-food places and car repair shops and video stores. Past the new houses and the park. Until, somehow, I was at the entrance to our development.

It was starting to get dark now, and I slowed down, walking past houses with windows of square yellow light where mothers were inside making dinner, past houses with windows of square blue light where kids were inside watching TV, to our house, where the driveway was empty and the lights were off.

I let myself in and flipped the light switch. There was an explosion of light. The kitchen slid sideways, then righted itself.

I leaned against the door. “I’m home,” I said to no one.

The room tilted left, then right, then straightened out. I grabbed hold of the edge of the dinner table and tried to remember if we stopped eating there because it was piled with junk or if it was piled with junk because we stopped eating there.

On the table there was a roll of batting, a glue gun, a doily, a 1997 Krafty Kitchens catalogue. Next to the catalogue was a special craft knife with the word EXACTO on the handle. It was sleek, like a fountain pen, with a thin triangular blade at the tip. I picked it up and laid the blade against the doily. The little knots came undone, just like that. I touched the blade to a piece of ribbon draped across the table and pressed, ever so slightly. The ribbon unfurled into two pieces and slipped to the floor without a sound. Then I placed the blade next to the skin on my palm.

A tingle arced across my scalp. The floor tipped up at me and my body spiraled away. Then I was on the ceiling looking down, waiting to see what would happen next. What happened next was that a perfect, straight line of blood bloomed from under the edge of the blade. The line grew into a long, fat bubble, a lush crimson bubble that got bigger and bigger. I watched from above, waiting to see how big it would get before it burst. When it did, I felt awesome. Satisfied, finally. Then exhausted.

I don’t tell you any of this, though. I don’t say anything. I just hug my elbows to my sides. My mind is a video on fast-forward. A video with no soundtrack.

And finally you sigh and stand up and say, “That’s all we have time for today.”

Twice a day we have Group. Group therapy according to the brochure, they give you at the admissions office, is the “keystone of the treatment philosophy” here at Sick Minds. The real name of the place is Sea Pines, even though there is no sea and there are no pines. My roommate, Sydney, who has a nickname for everything, calls it Sick Minds. Her nickname for me is S.T., for Silent Treatment.

We, by the way, are called guests. Our problems are called issues. Most of the girls are anorexic. They’re called guests with food issues. Some are druggies. They’re called guests with substance-abuse issues. The rest, like me, are assorted psychos. We’re called guests with behavioral issues. The nurses are called attendants. And the place is called a residential treatment facility. It is not called a loony bin.

There aren’t assigned seats in Group, but people tend to sit according to issues. The food-issue guests—Tara, a really skinny girl who has to wear a baseball cap to cover a bald spot where her hair fell out, and Becca, another really skinny girl who wears white little-girl tights that pool around her ankles and who came straight here from a hospital after she had a heart attack, and Debbie, a really, really overweight girl who says she’s been here the longest—sit in a cluster of orange plastic chairs next to Claire, the group leader. The substance-abuse guests—Sydney, who says she’s addicted to every drug she’s ever tried, and Tiffany, who seems normal but is here instead of going to jail for smoking crack—sit together on the other side of Claire’s chair.

I sit by myself. I pick the chair the farthest from Claire and closest to the window, which they never open, even though it’s always about a hundred degrees in here. Today, when Claire invites someone to start off, I decide to work on memorizing the order of the cars in the parking lot. Brown, white, white, blue, beige. Brown, white, white, blue, beige.

“All right, ladies,” says Claire. “Who wants to go first?” Claire makes a little tent with her fingers and waits. I lean back in my usual spot in the circle, out of her line of vision.

Tara tugs on her hair, Debbie smoothes her sweatshirt over her stomach, and Becca slides off her chair and sits on the carpet at Debbie’s feet, her legs tucked underneath her, Girl Scout style. No one answers.

Debbie cracks her weight-control gum. Tiffany, who for some reason wears a purse strapped across her chest at all times, fiddles with the latch.

“Ah, come on,” Claire says. “Yesterday was visiting day. Surely somebody has something to say about that.”

I add new cars to my list. Brown, white, white, blue, beige, green, red. Brown, white, white, blue, beige, green, red.

“OK, OK.” Debbie says this like everyone was begging her to talk. “I might as well go first.”

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