It starts with bread. Then blood. More bread. A quaint paté with a side of pain. Dinner with a broken window and rib. Technically liquid, glass itself does not wash down the fingernails. The milk helps. Takes the pH down.

She says: "This is my dinner. Served to me. My responsibility."

The bread is whole grain, providing much needed fiber. The pills are real. None of that piddly Vicodin shit. She doesn't need shots in her esophagus; swallowed needles, however, don't much care.

She says: "To keep it in, there's the steel."

Plates of garbage, yes. Yet. Yet somehow quality. Top shelf. Brand name labels on the glass. Smashed plastic mineral water bottles. The big nightcrawlers. Eggshells from happy, uncaged hens. She begs for seconds. Thirds.

She says: "It's not a choice. I ask because it's expected."

It doesn't give easily, the steel. What's allowed in gets in. The responsibilities, and the blood they draw. Nothing is allowed out. The fiber tears fishhooks and razorblades through intestines, bringing sadly small amounts through to the end. Other bits of broken jars and thorny brambles pierce through the steel at odd angles, often popping out at opportune times to prick those who are too close.

She says: "Stand near me. I can suffer alone, but who would sympathize?"

Pain of others: not a goal, merely a side effect. A hug becomes an iron maiden, a kiss could cost your life. And a sympathy? Suicide. Even the cautious lose fingers, toes, pieces of the soul.

She says: "You made your own decisions. I never asked for your favors."