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The Echoes in the Mind of the Bullied
An already somber look on my face had been reduced to the flesh of it bunching up, welling with tears when I found my name scribbled on the foul smelling room wall. “Deanna is fat and ugly!” it read. Straight to the point, and straight to my heart. I could hear the murmur of blond pony tailed girls giggling at the sink, before their eyes stopped piercing me through the stall wall and out the door.
I didn’t even need to use the toilet at that point anymore. I felt dumb, I felt that my only “friend” was lying to me when she told me my name was on the wall. It felt as though I was encountering a movie scene where the poor child finds their name on the bathroom wall with profanity. Well the movie didn’t stop. I stood, red faced with embarrassment and anger.
The permanent marker wouldn’t rub off no matter how much I tried with my bare hands. I continued to feel sorry for myself for another minute, before slowly walking out of the bathroom.
My fingers were crossed, while my gaze was stuck to the fogged classroom window. The soft pitter-patter of rain on the window had put nearly everyone’s brain in day dream mode, with dazed, confused looks on the faces of the children.
My teacher at the time was teaching us history. Her back was turned, as her shaking fingers wrote elegantly on the chalkboard. She pushed her thin framed glasses up to her nose several times. Words of wisdom passed through her thin, aging lips into the whole class.
“Deanna,” a whisper forced my eyes to look away, into the face of the girl who had caught my attention. Her double chin, brown almond-like eyes, and red cheeks stayed in my mind most of the day; for she was the girl who caused me most grief out of all her friends. She was the only girl in my school who was a tid bit more over weight than I was. Everyone else literally looked like walking, snobby sticks. This girl and I had that one part in common. We both stood out due to our body appearance, yet her personality matched my classmates: her nose lifted to the grey sky. “Why does your bottom lip stick out so much?” Her cruel eyes and wicked smile let out a giggle.
I didn’t answer. Instead my face turned the shade of a ripe strawberry. I looked away, trying to force my bottom lip more into my mouth.
Thankfully for me the school day was nearly over. I had to stand in line at the door frame, listening to the girls exchange song lyrics, talking about how one male celebrity was “hotter” than the other. The same girls in fifth grade who said they only pretended to be my friends, since they felt bad for me. I stood in silence as usual.
The boys on the other side of me let out a phrase that they called me when I was in elementary school: “Deena, the ballerina!”
I simply ignored what caught the girls’ attention. In my mind my world went black. Lights emerged upon the girls who stood so tall. Their long lips formed a smile that went to corner of their eyes. Pearly, sharp teeth glaring down at the mousey figure in the shadows called “Deena the ballerina”. I felt small. I felt useless. I felt unwanted.
The bell finally rang.
Bullying was finally replaced with the bell, but giggling and cruel words still seemed louder. I walked in single file as the rest of my classmates scattered out in multiple directions. No friends came up to me, no one said goodbye to me, and no one offered a simple conversation with me. No one even told me “see you tomorrow”.
I used to cry to my mom about school and wailed when a day went worse than usual. Soft advice cooed to me from my mother, as words of encouragement came after. My siblings barely knew of my bullying, but still told me it’s better in high school.
I took their words to heart, anticipating the year I was considered a young adult.
As a few years went by we all grew up physically, but not mentally. The other girls filled out more, as did the boys with new muscles. That girl with the double chin remained the same, as well as I did, minus the fact she gained more friends. I still looked the same, acted the same, had the same “friend” until I was a freshman and still bullied. The only thing that advanced in my case was my anxiety and depression. I could barely walk into class, let alone out in the hall.
My ripped shoes are what my eyes saw when I walked down the hall. I sat in my math class when I was a sophomore, all alone. My table was meant for at least six students. My imaginary peers sat around me with smiles, as two other desks were taken by my bullies. Another table had two boys sitting who were outcasts, too, but they had more friends than I did. They weren’t bullied in front of their faces as I was about to be in a mere couple minutes when the girls lost interest in their life.
“Something smells!” The round faced girl blurted out during class. “It’s coming from the corner!” She falsely reported. All eyes turned to me. My face quickly reddened, as I kept my eyes on my sheet. I pretended like I couldn’t hear her, or feel the eyes of the class.
Instead I thought of ways that the almond-eyed girl could disappear. I imagined her being expelled. I went so far as to imagine her dying. I wished the recent bomb threat was real, just so she would be gone. I even imagined coming into the school with a gun and killing her, admitting to the court my reasoning. The four other girls at the table laughed, offering to spray the room with their expensive perfume.
Even though I was being bullied by them, I wanted them to be my friends. Just so I wouldn’t feel all alone. I was tired of having no friends. I didn’t want to go home and cut myself again after crying in my room, asking why my higher being is allowing this to happen to me. I started to lose faith.
I looked up. My paper with scribbled out pictures and math problems was taken away by my teacher.
I came home that night to an empty house. I searched for a sign of my mother from her desperate daughter. My father was out in the garage. I didn’t go to him, for he didn’t believe in my anxiety. His only advice to me was to ignore the girls. It didn’t work. It actually made it worse. I didn’t have a voice at school. I didn’t want my red, flushed face and stutters to spew out from my obviously self-conscious self. I tried it once, and got laughed at even more. From then on my voice was either a whisper, or locked away for my better being.
“Mom?” I let out. I wanted to scream, as I pushed my fists into my already puffy eyes. The day’s events flashed before my blackened vision. Those girls came into my mind. That boy who rubbed his crotch up to me in front of everyone came into my mind. Having someone purposely throw a dodge ball into my face, breaking my classes came into my mind. Being told I shouldn’t live came into my mind. Being told I was useless came into my mind. Being told I wasn’t wanted…
At home is where I still got bullied by my father who had even called me fat. He called me names that I couldn’t even tell my mom. She was not only verbally, but physically abused in our house.
At home is where I felt unsafe from the hunting guns that leaned against the wall.
At home is when I spoke and laughed at my dogs shenanigans. Alone.
“Mom!” I screamed out finally. My father had horrible hearing to begin with. He was wearing headphones that afternoon. I felt lost. I needed to talk to my mom and let her know what happened. I needed to hear her say I was important to her at least. I wanted to hear her say she loved me. I wanted to hear the only person who said they loved me to say it again.
I screamed, pulling my hair as I slammed my body against my closet door.My cheeks were tear stained. My head was spinning and my mom had been replaced with the almond-shaped eyes.
A song I put on repeat was blaring its soft tune as I stood on the chair in the middle of my room. My neck was being gently wrapped by the rough rope I hid in my closet that now hung from the ceiling. Tears and whispers of apologies streamed. A note was gently cradled by a knitted duck my grandma had made for my mom.
“Should of told me” my soft song had finally spoke its first sentence. I closed my eyes for a brief moment, letting out one of my final breaths. I couldn’t help by inhale, as I was about to force my chair out from under my feet. The shaking of my hands were now trembling fists.
“Seemed like an ordinary day”
I finally gained courage.
“Did it hurt you?”
Two dangling feet were trying to find the ground.
“These are the scars you never show”
My hands that were once fists now hung, shaking as I struggled.
“One day you’re near and then you go.”
My eyes felt as though they were popping out, as I tried to take in another breath.
“In the aftermath it’s hard to breathe”
Instinct led me to try grabbing the rope around my throbbing neck
“And harder to believe…”
My life was flashing before my eyes.
“They deceive you.”
Those girls…those boys…
“The echoes in your mind.”
I wanted them to be punished. I wanted them to know how much they hurt me. I wanted a friend.
“You’ll surrender and these are the lessons that you learn.”
I tried to squeeze out my final word, saliva spilling down my chin, mixing with the tears that landed on the old, wooden floor.
I wanted my mom.
“No one’s concerned.”
I wanted my dad to notice. Just once. I wanted to be daddy’s little girl. Not his daughter who feared him. I was leaving my mom alone to suffer. I’m so selfish… why am I so selfish?
“Let me lie you down”
“Don’t have to make a sound”
My hands fell after what felt like a long struggle.It was so fast. So fast that my song didn’t even play for this long.So fast that I couldn’t even let out my complete final breath…
“I would lay you down”