Just Listen

November 19, 2007
By
It wasn't my fault.

I've told you, over and over that it wasn't my fault. I don't know why it happened, I don't know how, but it was all him. I don't care if he tells you not to believe me, that I've suffered from something traumatic, that I'm just upset over what happened and have been hallucinating.

I told him I didn't want to go right after he asked me. I wanted to keep away from him, I tried to avoid him, get to class, I was even, as usual, already late, and Mr. Johnson was going to get mad at me. But he gripped my arm and told me that I better listen. I remember staring into those eyes, staring into those cold eyes, and shivering involuntarily, suddenly frightened and wanting nothing more than to get to class and listen to the teacher drone on about rivers and streams in some foreign country we'll never even visit.

But that didn't happen. I couldn't get away from him; it was at that moment especially where I found myself wishing that I actually had muscle in my arms because as I'd inherited from my dad, I had no upper body strength at all. He grabbed my other arm, my things clattered to the ground, sounding in the empty hallways.

No one noticed the sound. They were all too busy listening in class, or passing notes, or even daydreaming. I would have screamed then, wanting to get away from him, not do what he wanted me too—but I didn't want to think of what would have happened if no one had come to my rescue. He would have been mad, even more terrifying than usual.

And – no, I didn't do anything to provoke him! I did nothing at all, I was simply walking...walking to class, not wanting to be late for fourth period. I was one of the last in the halls, one of the only he knew well enough to realize that I felt uneasy with him, and also a bit frightened. And the rest of the students went to their classes, and I kept walking, because Mr. Johnson's classroom is at the very opposite end of where my locker is. I didn't say a word, I kept walking. I could feel his eyes on me, watching my every move, watching how my book bag hit against my leg with each step that I took.

And – what? No! I don't want to sit down, I don't want to – well, that sounds tempting, but no! I will stand up and I won't drink or eat anything or calm down until you listen to me! I don't sound paranoid, I'm not paranoid – I just want you to listen! You don't believe me, do you? Everything I'm telling you is true, though. Everything. I don't care if he tells you that I'm insane, or that I'm just scared and am making up lies because I'm terrified of the truth.

Promise? Promise you'll listen? Yes, okay. Fine. Just...just listen.

So he made me come with me, and we were walking along. He had this strong hold around my shoulders, and I knew that if I tried to run, I wouldn't be able to get away. So I stayed – no, I didn't let him do anything. There are so few people that walk around the halls when classes are going on – teachers are doing their own thing, you know the wing they have for them, and most students, unless they've already ditched school, are in class, whether they're listening or not. I promise, I didn't do anything. I just walked along.

Why didn't I call for help? Because I didn't want to get hurt, of course! No – I'm not talking in an impatient tone of voice right now. I just wish that you would understand. I didn't want to run, didn't want to shout – he's not afraid of hurting people, no matter how much he pretends to be okay and nice. You know how many detentions he's gotten, Mom! Tell Dad how bad he is, please? I think he's even gotten suspended, once.

We were walking down the hallways, and I remember thinking that each time our foot collided with the ground, it felt like an eternity had passed. Each time my heart beat I could remember myself counting the seconds, wishing that somehow someone would walk by and tell us to go to class, and he'd be forced to let me do what I wanted.

And...you know what happened. No, I don't want to go on. I want to sit down, and I want to go to bed. Fine, I'll say. He-he made me go into the bathroom and...smoke. You know, you know what I'm talking about.
I didn't want to be expelled, I didn't want to do what he told me too! Why does everyone think that? I-I want things to go back to how they normally were, to how they were in the beginning, where his name was just one I heard usually, and who everyone feared.

Mom, you know I didn't do it? And Dad...? Dad?! Don't you too?

You don't believe me. That's why you're not answering. That's why you're staring at the ground and exchanging glances. Yes, I'm talking. Yes, I can see everything you're doing! I'm telling the truth, okay? I don't want it to be like this! I want you to believe me! I never did anything on purpose. He made me, I didn't have a choice.

...Fine. Fine. We might never agree on this, you might never believe me. But I promise you that one day you'll regret your decision to not listen to me – and fine, tell me that I'm talking like a smart a**, and that I'm acting like I'm the parent here and not the child, but if you're not going to listen to me, hear what I have to say...then I don't care.

It wasn't my fault.





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