Daggers to Her Soul

March 29, 2011
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She knew they were talking about her; she could feel their stares as she walked through the halls. None of them ever said anything where she could hear it, but she still felt the cruelty in their words as they pierced her skin. On the outside she presented the world with a hard, unbroken demeanor, but inside her shell was a fragile child crying in the fetal position. That small child didn't understand why the strangers in the hall hated her so much. She had never hurt them – she didn't even know their names! Yet still they whispered, still they laughed and knocked her books to the ground. Sometimes the child couldn't take anymore and the girl had to retreat to a bathroom stall in order to retain her hard exterior. But even that sanctuary held its dangers, for it is in the bathroom that girls are the cruelest.

“Did you see her hair?”
“Forget her hair, what about her clothes?”
“Oh my god, she looked like she was from last century!”
“Smelled like it, too.”

Hidden behind the locked door of her stall, the girl sat there and listened to their abuse. Her once nice, wavy hair turned into a frizzy, uncontrollable mane, her T-shirt and shorts seemed to be too concealing, and she could smell the whiffs mentioned by the other girls. An impartial observer would have seen a thin girl with nice curly hair, no body odor, and normal – albeit a bit plain – clothing. But the girl wasn't impartial, nor were the gossips, and as such they were blind to reality or willingly ignored it.

As the whispers, stares and rumors got more cruel and pointed, the girl tried to change in order to avoid their criticisms. Like a chameleon that kept changing its skin, the girl changed and changed, always one step behind their snide comments. She changed so much that she forgot what her real skin was; she forgot who she was under the hard exterior, clothes, and make-up. The girl became an empty shell; everything she once held dear now was tainted by the sneers and mocking of her classmates. Slowly that empty shell became a bitter cauldron full of bubbling hatred, depression, and self-loathing. The pain in her soon colored her world black, blocking out everything that made life bearable before. The kind words of her teachers now seemed mocking, the smiles from strangers on the street were turned into smirks of superiority. Innocent stories of happiness that were once her escape now seemed like impossible fairy tales, stories meant to hurt her even more by showing what she would never have. Her salty tears seemed to have created crusty layers of crystals on her cheeks, permanent daggers digging into her soft flesh relentlessly.

Soon those daggers turned real as the girl gouged her skin with her own nails, trying vainly to get some relief from the constant pain. One day as the girl watched with detachment as blood flowed down her snow white arms, she realized that it was all useless. All the changes, all the hurt, all the blood and tears: Useless. No matter what she did she would never be accepted or even left alone in isolation. She would forever be the odd one out, the one picked last for teams, the one sitting alone at lunch, the one who no one ever talked to. Rather than face the extreme pain that came with this realization, the girl calmly wiped clean her arms and slipped on a jacket. For the first time in months she left her house without a pound of make-up slathered on her face – it was unnecessary where she was going.

The girl stood balanced on top of the precipice, feeling the wind whip around her shoulders, skitter through her hair, and flow down her back. The power of the wind made the girl smile for the first time in years – it felt rather foreign on her lips – and the night seemed to open up for them. Her and the wind, together, balanced on the ledge, waiting. Looking back once, the girl thought for a minute that she saw the faces of all her tormentors, all the people who had pointed, laughed, and pushed her into lockers. All the people who had brought her here, to this place at this time. And without another thought, she turned back to the welcoming chasm that the dark air presented, and dove off the ledge. For a split second she was terrified, then she exulted in the ecstasy of being one with the wind, one with the darkness, one with the night. She was free at last.

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