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To Be Loved
The room is dark except for a single spotlight beaming down upon a teenage girl that sits, head bowed, upon a wooden stool in the center of the stage. The audience sits silently, anxiously waiting.
Finally, the girl lifts her head and stares out into the darkness, her eyes empty.
"Do you know," she whispers, "what it's like to love somone?" At this she pauses and shakily takes a deep breath. "What it's like to love someone regardless of their flaws and weaknesses? To instead embrace these faults? Do you know what it's like to know there's nothing in the world they could do to make you hate them? To anger you?"
A portion of the audience members find themselves nodding along, memories reeling through their minds. A young college boy squeezes his eyes tight, clenches his fists. Yes, he whispers. I know.
The girl bites her lip. "Do you know," she goes on, her voice louder now, "what it's like to want someone? More than anything else in the world? To want to be wrapped in their arms under a starlit sky, or feel the touch of their fingers dancing across your skin? Do you know what it's like to trace their name into the palm of your hand until you swear it's been burned there for everyone to see? Do you know what it is to pray time and time again that they will one day be yours, even knowing it can never happen?"
The air in the room seems to grow thick with the silence, a heavy shadow looming over them like a raincloud about to give way.
Now the girl's voice begins to crack, and she nervously brushes her long moose brown hair back behind her ear, clenches the sides of the stool until her nuckles turn white. "Do you know what it's like to need someone?"
Yes, the audience nods. I know what it's like. I know.
But the girl lowers her voice, continues on. "Do you know what it's like to cry yourself to sleep, or to stare up at your ceiling for hours into the night, knowing this pattern will never end without them? Do you know..." she ducks her head, narrows her eyes, tears spilling over. "...do you know what it's like to have their initials forever carved into the flesh of your thigh, to need that scar because it's the only way you're able to make them a part of you?"
A young teen girl sitting in the front row instinctivly reaches up to the sleeve of her hoodie and pulls it down further. Yes, she thinks to herself. I know.
"And to know," the girl on stage manages through clenched teeth, "that it doesn't matter if it hurts, because they're worth your bloodshed and pain and tears anyway?"
There is a long pause before finally the girl stands, her arms folded tightly across her chest. The audience glimpses a small rainbow bracelet tied around her wrist for the first time as she slowly walks towards the edge of the stage and kneels down, now at eye level with the audience.
"Do you know," she murmurs, "what it's like to be loved by that person? To be wanted? To be needed?"
The audience holds their breath. Only a few couples smile and nod, but the rest give no response.
"Don't feel so bad," the girl whispers with a weak smile. "Neither do I."