Don't Let It Get To You This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
   "just don't let it get to you," she says with her hands on mine, her voice compassionate but the effect ruined by her fierce resolution not to look me in the eye. the flowing vivacity of her long hair conceals the bright glow emanating from the window; it is, ironically, a very beautiful day. it is unfortunately a very beautiful day.

don't let it get to me. sounds simple, and i wish it was, but, like pretty much all of the difficult things in life, it isn't. if it was, i wouldn't have to deal with the way things are.

the most painful realization i have been forced to make is that not even she understands. she pretends to, she acts like she does, smiles in all the right places and flaunts this careless air that seems like a refreshing burst of coolness penetrating the hot summer day. if only i could pretend as well, as if i knew it was just an act.

"try to forget about everything. if you ignore things, let them be, maybe in a little while, you know." as she speaks her eyes wander about the small room, as if looking for a point to focus on. she doesn't find it and settles to look down at the floor. i wish she knew what she was talking about.

but how can i ignore things? i can't just let them be, no, i have to tell her, i have to let her know, but how? how you speak to someone in a language they cannot understand? to a poor thing that has never bothered to look at all that encompasses her, something so transparent, so invisible, yet so strong that it cannot be ignored? it is something that cannot be felt with lips or outstretched hands, that she cannot touch or see or feel. but i she must understand, i must make her understand.

"is it just me, or is it really hot in here?" her tone is one that requires no response. it came out as more of a statement to break the silence; i suppose she feels a bit uncomfortable, me lost in my thoughts and her left to interpret them from the way i look and the signals of my movements. if only she would look at me.

but can she understand? anything at all? must i be doomed to exist forever in this world of such ignorant, single-minded people who have closed themselves off to the only thing worth living for, the only thing that's real?

"what the hell is wrong with this chair??" she says in annoyance at the squeaking furniture. her words do anything but point my thoughts in new directions. they resound with a hollow echo inside of my churning head, and barely leave a mark on my train of thought.

perhaps she cannot understand after all. oh, but she must. yes, she must. else all my hope, all my faith, would be nothing more than a mocking emptiness inside of me, as hollow as her words. maybe it isn't worth it.

so, i should let her go. oh, but she is so ...

so ... so what? pretty? is she nothing more than a pretty little toy for me to look at, a crystal to hide behind the curtain except when i am lonely and want to watch something sparkle? is she so fragile, so translucent? does she have so little substance?

"OOOoh, my finger hurts. it was so dry the other day that it cracked and started bleeding and dripped all the way down my arm and onto the floor," she traces a path with her other hand from her finger to her elbow. "oh, it had me grossed out." her words do little to help.

is she so pretty? to me, yes. but by other's standards i don't think she's so ... exceptional. she is a skinny girl, it's true, but almost too skinny. she has a funny way of holding her head when she sits. her table manners aren't exquisite. when it's wet outside her hair gets all weird and goes off in different directions. her voice can get annoying. her nasal structure is, well, different. someone else could say she's ugly. but not to me; to me, regretfully, she's the most beautiful thing in the world. and i'd tell her that if i thought it would make a bit of difference.

"umm ... can i ask you something? um ... do you, um, think i'm fat?" my looking her over must have made her self-conscious, as she looks down on herself this time with an inquisitive curiosity and lets me ponder. little does she know i'm not thinking about her question.

we have a strange relationship. i have noticed several times that her behavior toward me points to one cynical observation. it seems that whenever i pay her any attention, when i act interested in talking, sitting, or being with her, she has a horrible habit of blowing me off. often times she does her best to ignore me, and will begin a discussion with someone else while i'm trying to talk to her, or simply act impatient and restless, like my words or actions are of no interest in her. but the second i focus myself on something or someone else, she enacts this single-minded campaign to recapture me with herself. she comes up with something that she knows i cannot ignore. and she usually wins, and then goes right back to ignoring me.

"really, because if you do ... " her voice trails off when she sees the look in my eye. it is like she has just seen my face for the first time now. the contortions on her face dissipate as she looks at me, as if she has just figured something out. her eyes, like two perfect gemstones shining in the light of her beautiful face, widen with an understanding; i will never forget how she looks this second. it is the picture of a perfect beauty.

maybe she's figured it out. this second, this very instant, she has been enlightened by what the prophet paul said without which "i am as a noisy brass or clanging cymbal." perhaps she has discovered man's greatest ally, and his most cunning enemy, for it "is a wonderful, horrible thing." maybe she has proved h.l. mencken wrong, and found that it is not just "the delusion that one woman differs from another." can it be that she knows, that she has found ... can it be that she understands??? she moves her mouth to speak, and at this moment i feel closer to this dear little girl than i have to any soul, ever.

"you ... " she pauses, as if stumbling to find words to express herself. how can i blame her. she has made the discovery that can happen only once in a lifetime, that so few can lay claim to. that so few can have.

"you think i'm fat, don't you?" with the tone of her voice, the wrinkling of her forehead, the folding of her arms, and her painful, painful words, my world comes crashing down on top of me.

"is something wrong?"

"are you okay?"

"is something wrong ...." 1


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback