Pain on a wall

October 25, 2011
“Come on! We don’t have all night!”

“Only losers don’t do it.”

“It’s easy. We never get caught.”

Their words swim in and out of my mind as I study the can of paint in my hands. How it came to be there I did not know. I vaguely remember it being shoved roughly into my hand, but I didn’t recognize the face.

I bet they are watching me right now, laughing at how I am such a coward. They will scoff at my hesitation to do the thing we all know I will do, in the end.

But the real problem isn’t that I’m chicken; no, that’s not it at all. It’s that fact that I don’t know what to write, to say. I search my brain for something meaningful, something special. I try to think of one word, just one word, but come up with nothing. It’s as if the word I want is dangling right in front of my eyes, but when I go to reach out for it, it just disappears.

“Come on you guys, let’s go. This dork will never do it.”

Dork. That was word. That was the word I had heard my whole life, from my classmates and teachers and even my parents. That was the word that hurt more than a belt buckle, more than a punch. That was the word that they threw around carelessly, as if it was nothing.

I looked down again at the can of black paint in my hand. Then slowly, surely, I shook it, looking intently at the bare patch of wall in front of me.

I stood back to admire my handy work. It was neat and straight, unlike all the others, but it was definitely me.

“Why the h*ll did he write ‘Dork’?”

“Cause he is one,” someone snickered behind me.

“Come on guys, let’s get out of here,” I turned to follow, then seeing the frowning eyes I thought better of it. It was evident they didn’t want a dork along.

As I walked home that night, I saw the letters I had written. It was as if they were painted into my mind as well as on the wall. Somehow I felt lighter, freer. It felt like a heavy weight had been lifted off my shoulders. In some way, the simple action of writing on that small bit of wall took the pain of fifteen years away.

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