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Minya Par,the bullied
A punch or two is normally what I receive but today it seems I deserved more or so he says. Why I do I let him do this to me? Why don’t I fight back? The answer is easy. It’s because I know I deserve every kick and every shove by others. It all started a couple weeks ago in ninth grade.
I sat in class with my head down, focusing on the sheet of papers in front of me. Rows and rows of algebra equations to which I had no answers to. The page next to it was my draft. It was filled with ugly scrawny handwriting. I could’ve written better if I wanted but I chose not to. It’s school. The teachers don’t matter and the students don’t care. When I go home or even step out of the school yard, that’s what really counts. That’s the continuation of life. School for me is a prison. Being forced to learn something is not fun but if I have enough freedom I can learn anything quickly. I lightly smack my head onto the desk trying to scratch my brain for anything useful. Anything that gave me the answer to the first equation, but as usual I came up empty. It was like somebody had poked a hole inside of my brain and sucked up all the knowledge leaving me blank. Ugh! This is not going to help! I smack my head onto the desk again slightly harder than intended to catching unwanted attention. I groan inwardly.
“Would you like to share your thoughts with us?” Mrs. Petrova raised her brow at me awaiting an answer. I knew I had to respond before she sent me off to the stupid principle office to get a detention slip and receive a famous speech from Mr. Klav himself. Oh how I hate teachers. I’d prefer to be homeschooled, no problems there. If only? I wishfully sighed.
Slam! Mrs. Petrova slammed her hand onto my desk and my head shot upwards “Spacing out again, Miss Minya?” I frowned. I hated how the teachers were so formal. Couldn’t they drop their formality outside the class for once and leave it for their meaningless meetings? I shook my head letting Mrs. Petrova know I was still paying attention.
“I’m still waiting for an answer!” She said through clenched teeth, showing just how hard it was for her to keep from losing her patience with me.
I looked out the window to my left and only one word came to mind. Freedom. “Actually Mrs. Petrova, I do have something to say.”
She dipped her chin expectantly, forcing me to continue. “I was thinking about how easily I’d be able to learn if you had your classes outside. You see I read in this book as to how everyone learns differently and I know that I’m your problem student in this class but maybe I learn contrarily to my peers. Maybe I can’t learn sitting here being cooped in this small classroom filled with students my age. I think I’ve found a solution to your problem and that would be to let me out of this room and work freely outside. I’d be able to think clearly without whispered answers in the air, noses blowing nearby, or snickers and notes being passed. Also instead of helping us comprehend the words from the textbook, you only complicate them furthermore! Which explains why I can’t do these algebra problems?”
The class fell silent before I heard a clap from a girl couple seats behind of me and then another next to her. Pretty soon the classroom was filled with thunderous claps and Mrs. Petrova stood still, obviously stunned by my short speech. She blinked coming to and looked around her to all the students who were standing and nodding their heads in agreement to me. She soon regained her demeanor and narrowed her eyes in my direction. Oh no! I thought worriedly. Here it comes.
“You Miss Minya have crossed the line and this is the last time you lecture a teacher! Come with me this instant!” She shrieked.
Hopes vanquished within and I realized there was nothing I could do to make my point go through Mrs. Petrova’s thick head. She stamped over to her desk with her nose still high in the air and leaned over, grabbing a ruler. She picked it up and banged it against the edge, silencing the class. They immediately sat down and folded their hands, placing it on the desk in front. All of their undivided and focused attention on Mrs. Petrova, just the way she liked it. I scoffed internally because I knew the real reason why she loved disciplinary in her class and it wasn’t because she liked peace either. No, it was power, the power to control us and screw with our minds. Of course when she got bad apples like me, who were way too smart to fall for her fake facade she resulted in sending us into detention. Another reason why I would love to be homeschooled but there was no way hell my parents would find the time to do it.
“Class, Miss Minya has just shown us how not to act and now she will face reasonable consequences! What do you suggest we do, Mister Arkadi?” Oh god! She had to pick him, didn’t she? She knew how much I loathed him and vice versa yet still? It was enemy rivalry the moment I stepped into kindergarten. It’s much worse now since he’s class president and basically everyone bows down to him in the whole school, the teachers included!
I glared at him and he smirked. He freaking smirked! I shook my head, is this how I get repaid for replying honestly to a teacher? It’s no wonder everyone in this school is a liar!
Mister Arkadi or as his friends called him Arkadi stood up and faced Mrs. Petrova “I think it’d be reasonable if we sent her to Mr. Klav and let her parents be informed of her unruly behavior in class. A detention or two would also do her good.”
He sat down looking behind at me with a self-achieved sneer of his and winked. I growled angrily and stonily glowered, trying to burn holes into his clothes. He was a jerk and would always be one. Mrs. Petrova enjoying the game of chastening me motioned for me to stand up but I sat still having no intention to listen. I noticed couple classmates mouth drop open at my open rebelliousness and the look on Mrs. Petrova was simply priceless. Her gray dull eyes had grown wide and her bleached blonde hair was all over the place as she ran a hand through it, messing it further. She was furious to say the least and after the shock of being disobeyed, her eyes dilated and zeroed in on me.
I calmly leaned back in my chair pretending nothing was bothering me but in fact it was quite the contrary. My folded hands underneath the desk were sweating profusely, only thinking about my parents and their angry expressions when they are called to the principal’s office from the middle of their work. The long speeches and the harsh scolding at home would be enough for me to go on my knees and cry. That wouldn’t be the reason though of the seeping tears but the punishment after wards when they would take out a belt and whip me. Three lashes at least. The first one would be for being disobedient, another one for lack of respect for the teacher, and lastly three, a warning of refraining from making the same mistake again.
I nervously played with my hands, blinking away the tears that threatened to show. My heart beat quickening with every step Mrs. Petrova made towards me furiously. A shiver went through my body and I couldn’t bear to look up into her face. The fury directed at me was enough to have me curled into my seat going in a fetal position, thinking triple the wrath from my parents. My lower lip quivered and it didn’t go unnoticed by beady-eyed Mrs. Petrova. “Are you regretting acting like a smart-aleck? Well you better because you don’t know what I have the power to do! Miss Minya, I advise you to keep your mouth shut and endure these lessons which I’m teaching willingly or I will make your year here unbearable!”
I swallowed my ego and apologized looking at a small spot on my desk. “I’m sorry Mrs. Petrova, and I won’t talk back to you again. Please give me another chance!” A fake tear rolled down my cheek which I quickly wiped with the back of my hand. I sniffed, feeling a tingling sensation in my nose.
Mrs. Petrova stiffly brushed off my apology standing straighter in front of my desk “I give my time to teach worthless kids like you who do nothing but question my time and my way and now you expect me to forgive you? You are sadly mistaken Miss Minya for you will never learn your mistakes until you pay for them!”
Things weren’t looking well for me and I knew that I couldn’t escape the inescapable. Real fear clouded my imitated manner and my heart began hammering mercilessly.
“Please I’ve learned my mistake; you don’t have to do this!” I begged, not bothering to hide my fright anymore.
“I am not budging from my decision. It is made and when you come back tomorrow I expect a change of attitude. Also you will tell your parents exactly what happened and if you lie I will know.”
The classroom sat hushed knowing exactly what was going to happen once I got home. The punishments weren’t anything new and every one of them had gotten it. No one liked it but they didn’t have say in it. So I was actually grateful that they sat quietly not adding salt to the insult of shamefully being sent to the principal. I shivered involuntarily and my hands shook from dread. Mrs. Petrova briskly walked back to her desk and wrote out a note to the principle. She beckoned for me to come forth. I stood up, closing my algebra textbook and tucking in my chair before slowly walking to Mrs. Petrova to get the note. She handed it to me and I wondered whether I should make a run for it. It would be the break I had been waiting for after all but before I could move a muscle Mrs. Petrova called onto Arkadi, asking him to make sure I made it to the principal’s office.
Arkadi was wearing the school uniform which for the boys was a green shirt and a tie. He had his jet black hair spiked up into a Mohawk and despite everything I got to admit, he looked a bit attractive. He noticed me staring and smirked, effortlessly getting up. He whispered something to his friend before walking next to me. Mrs. Petrova patted him on the back as he passed by her and he firmly grabbed my arm. Feeling uncomfortable by his roughness, I screamed for him to let me go.
When he wouldn’t budge, I accusingly turned to Mrs. Petrova and much to my dismay all she did was shrug in return “It’s a precaution in case you act rashly and let’s say do something we don’t want you to do!”
Arkadi pushed me forward and I stumbled into the deserted hallways. All my worries rushed forward and a sob that I was holding back broke out. I didn’t want to go to the principal’s office and I definitely didn’t want to face my parents. Crude images popped into my mind and I pulled against Arkadi’s grip. He gave me a deathly scowl and threatened while I shook my head in resistance. As we got closer to our destination more trembles exploded and I silently cried.
“We need to go and the longer you prolong it the worse it’ll be!” He indifferently stated. I vigorously shook my head and fought him harder, not seeing the truth behind his icy tone.
I pleaded him with a tearstained face “Please don’t take me there!”
I saw sympathy flash across his frosty emotionless face which to my disappointment disappeared as soon as it came but it was there nonetheless. “It’s my duty as a class president to see you get where you need to safely and if that means I have to drag you there then so be it.”
Suddenly tired, I hung my head low giving up. Arkadi ended up dragging me to the principal’s office and losing all fight in front of the door, I fell limply in his hands. Arkadi picked me up, hooking his arm underneath my arms before flipping me over his shoulder. He shifted my weight so it was easier to carry me and opened the door to Mr. Klav’s office. He walked in with me over his shoulder and everything soon after, zoned out. I lost track of time and was jolted back to the present after Arkadi sat me in the large seat across of Mr. Klav. I was breathing heavily avoiding any contact with anyone and stared at my hands. They seemed very interesting at that moment and I moodily dissected the veins on my wrists metaphorically, ignoring Mr. Klav’s impatient looks.
“Miss Minya!” Mr. Klav barked slapping his hand onto his desk, dropping his mug which held pencils in the process. I jumped in my seat, snapping my attention from my hands to towards him.
“Why are you here in my office? Do you have a note from Mrs. Petrova?” He cleared his throat, righting the mug and picking up the pencils.
I looked down at the crumbled note in my hand and stood up, handing him the piece of paper. Mr. Klav frowned at the crumpled paper and straightened it out before he started reading it. I sat fidgeting in my seat all the while chewing my lower lip in a bad habit. It suddenly felt too quiet in the room and I looked for Arkadi who I noticed left. An awkward silence fell in the room as I watched Mr. Klav read his note. It took almost an hour for him to finally look up from his note and pick up the phone to call my parents.
Couple rings later “Hello Mr. Par, I’m calling on behalf of your child Miss Minya who has shown great disrespect to her teacher, Mrs. Petrova in class. I request for you in person as soon as possible.”
I heard a sharp intake from my dad on the other end and I curled my hands tightly into a fist, feeling my nails make a mark into my palm. I could imagine my dad’s unpleasant mien to the news and stopped listening to Mr. Klav’s short and to-the-point conversation. Instead I stared out a small rectangular window behind Mr. Klav and watched the younger kids in the school playground.
How I wished to be swinging back and forth worry free, my fiery red hair whipping across my face as I swing higher and higher into the air. How I wished for the birds to sing their songs from their nests and nudge me on to fly with them. I could be free too. Free from this hellhole and free to learn the way I wanted. Nobody could punish me if I was free and I could speak my mind. I would find a way to make algebra easier and I’d write to my heart’s content without having to worry about the bell ringing, stopping me midsentence. If only…..I was free!
Slap! The stinging sensation on my left cheek shook me from my daydream. I was sucked back to the cold reality grudgingly I blinked my eyes. Removing the lingering hopes of freedom from my mind and looking back into the fathomless emerald orbs of my mom. Her hand rose to slap me again but was stopped from the principal’s cough.
“Mrs. Par, I’m sorry but I’ll have to stop you there. It becomes our problem if the child is on school grounds so please refrain yourself.” I bit the inside of my cheek from speaking out loud. How cruel could they get? Mr. Klav was such a fake! In other words he meant for my mom to continue the beatings at home. He actually encouraged her and that added fuel to my growing rage at the school and the district. ‘Out of school and out of sight, keeps the child safe’ of course! That was after all their secret motive so they could brainwash us to no end!
I bore my eyes onto the ground and I swore that I would get Mrs. Petrova back and Mr. Klav would soon follow but for now I was stuck.
“Minya, what is the meaning of this? I get called in the middle of the most important meeting of the month and for what reason? To see that my daughter is misbehaving in class, seriously? I’m ashamed of you Minya Vekinta Par and you just wait till your father gets here!”
I fold my hands onto my lap and look sadly down at my striped worn out shoes. “I’m sorry mama but-”
“No buts! Did I not raise you better than to disrespect your teachers and in front of your classmates too? You are a disgrace to our family name!” My breathing hitched and I was really close to making a mess of myself and messily crying all over the floor. To make the matter worse, my dad barged in then and made his presence known.
His loud voice thundered in ire “Where is she? Where is that insolent child?”
I flinched at his choice of words and mentally beat myself up for answering truthfully to Mrs. Petrova. It was my fault and I admit it. I sunk lower into my chair and let the first tear slip. Out of the corner of my eye I saw my mom holding onto my dad calming him down. Several seconds later, he let out a deep and stressful breath before seating down next to my mom.
“Thank you for coming on this very short notice and I’m sorry for the trouble but your child was very rude. As you know we don’t tolerate bickering students especially not if the student is talking back to their teacher in an unsophisticated manner. Now back to the matter at hand Mrs. Petrova wishes that Minya explains everything to you.”
I felt my parents’ sharp and piercing eyes at the back of my head and I cleared my throat trying to rid of the cracking edge to my voice. I prayed that they would see my objective which was not to offend Mrs. Petrova’s teaching but instead to let me have more freedom but when I relived to them what happened in matter of minutes, it would’ve been an understatement to say that they were outraged. My dad’s face was red from hidden fury which I knew would be unleashed the moment we stepped home and my mom’s face was pink with shock.
Tears clouded my eyes and I looked up at Mr. Klav hoping at least he’d understand but he disregarded my pleas with a satisfied smile. He leaned into his plush chair, folding his hands behind his head; waiting for my parent’s to speak. I found my eyes darting nervously between the three adults in the odd stillness while I observed my surroundings. My dad was wearing a crisp black suit with a plain tie along with dress shoes and that was his every day work clothes. He was after all the most prestigious boss for the oil company ‘Crassus Oleum’ downtown and he was also well known. Mr. Klav was in his white dress shirt and his oily hair was combed to the side, parted in the middle. My mom was in a pencil gray skirt, her shirt was black and her auburn hair was up in a messy bun. She worked as a Real Estate agent and I wouldn’t doubt her if she said she was in a meeting before she rushed her. She was always busy like that.
My dad broke the nervous hush in the room after minutes of thinking “Minya, why don’t you step out and wait outside in the hall while we chat with Mr. Klav here?”
I nodded and stood up still looking down at the floor in shame and remorse. I opened the door and stepped out. To my utter shock the school bell ring signaling every class for lunch. So much for saving the humiliation till tomorrow, I thought. I sighed and leaned against the wall next to the principal’s door. The students rushed out of their classes, walking to their lockers in clusters. I saw my classmates whispering about my bold act in class as they passed me but it was soon shushed when they met my eyes. They saw how solemn I was and knew that my punishment was yet to be received. My classmates had all been raised with proper upbringing and they immediately recognized the face of anxiety before a beating. I bet that they’d all been beaten irrationally to the point that they learned to obey every command and were considered a perfect child. It was also no wonder no one wanted to be friends with me.
I was an outcast in this private Academy and even my family was ashamed of me. I thought things would be different and people would come to understand me but no. I’m still Minya Par the worthless child with a rowdy demeanor. No one ever took the time to know me better and sometimes afterschool if I stayed late enough, Arkadi and his group of friends would corner me. They’d gang up and beat me senseless. I knew that they only did it to take their frustration off on difficult days but that wasn’t why I let them hit me without a fight. It was because I knew I deserved it and it was my way of punishing me for being the way I was.
No one liked me so why I should I like myself? I was tall around five feet six inches with shoulder length fire red hair, which only added to my disruptive appearance. I had six freckles on either cheek and side bangs covering my right eye. My eyes I was told were an ugly shade of green with specks of hazel and I don’t know how I got such odd eyes considering that neither my parents were ugly. Also there was nothing likable about me and I was friendless, inside school and outside of it.
Someone bumped me and I threw daggers at them. I saw that it was Arkadi and shrugged at his supposed intimidating posture.
He mouthed “Wait till tomorrow,” and smirked.
I pursed my lips in anger at the reminder and looked behind me at the principal’s door. The blinds were open and I took a peek in at the scene. I saw my dad yelling profoundly at Mr. Klav, frustration clear on his face. My mom was pacing back and forth also low on tolerance and I knew what they were aggravated about it. They were unsatisfied with me and they were admitting defeat. Mr. Klav feeling my gaze on him frowned, looking towards the door. I jumped back but not before he saw me. I groaned leaning on the wall behind me and slid to the floor. My hands in between my legs and my forehead resting on my knees, I accepted any mercy my parents took on me. I was tired and worn out from all the tears shed and the little anxiety that I had left died down to boredom. My eyelids felt heavy and the footsteps of the students in the background were a rhythm to my ears. My bangs slipped to cover the side of my face and I drifted into a restless sleep.
“You are pathetic. You are worthless. You are meaningless. You are nobody. You are a burden. You are rubbish. You are nothing. You don’t deserve to live.”
I woke up to those words ringing fresh in my ears and stretched my sore body. My eyes were burning from unshed tears and my throat was scratchy. Why? That question was always on my mind but I have no words to answer it with. Why am I such a burden? I bit my lower lip and swallowed, trying to lessen the ache. I was still in the school hallway but everyone was back in class. The rhythmic sounds of footsteps were gone, leaving me with eerie quietness. I surveyed the hall and saw the fountain on the corner, next to the bathrooms. I checked into the principal’s window and when I saw them still in a heated conversation, I walked to the water fountain.
I passed the lockers and took a right turn which was hidden by a wall. I pressed the push button and watched the water curve into an arch before splashing slightly. It swirled together at the end of the arch and went down the drain. I smiled. It would be wonderful if I could become one with the water. That way I’d be transparent and I’d flow like paintbrush to art. All my worldly problems would disappear and everyone would be glad. I would be the river and I’d join with the sea. I’d be vast and be something I can never be. I would be amazing and I’d fit in. My smile grew into a grin and I lapped up the water, gulping it in. My ache shortly forgotten I felt…happy! Couple gulps later, I pulled back and let go of the push button. All too soon the water stopped, my hopes gone along with it, and I was brought back to the cruel reality. I would never be amazing and I would never fit in, because I’m Minya and I don’t belong.
Grudgingly I walked back to the principal’s office and to my horror saw my parents waiting. Disappointment filled their faces and I looked away. I couldn’t bear this and I had to do something. I resorted to the last thing I had and ran. I sprinted past them down the hall, to the door that led outside, to my freedom. I heard them calling behind me but I couldn’t go back. I pushed with all my might on the steel door and it opened. The sun touched my skin and it felt wonderful. The warmth was love, something I rarely received and I embraced it openly, though I knew I couldn’t stand in it for long. I would burn and I’d become sick, leaving me entrapped in the hospital.
I moved into the shadow of the school and tore into a gallop. I didn’t care where I was going for I wanted to be as far away as possible from the prison. I passed houses big and small and all different sizes. I skipped from streets to streets veering in between gardens and backyards. I jogged always in the shadows and in silhouettes of buildings. I was a runner and when I was running I wasn’t running from only my parents but also from myself. I was running from my inevitable fate which I knew couldn’t been outrun but I had to try. Out of breath and gasping I came to a dead end and knew that my past had caught up to me but still I stood strong in front of the railing keeping me from crossing over.
On the other side was a forest full with birds and other animals. If I wanted I could get lost or I could stay in the outlines of the trees, hidden but watching. I had a choice to make and I had limited time. I breathed heavily and waited for my racing heart to calm down. It used up my precious time but when I fully recovered, I jumped over the railing. I walked downhill dodging sharp rocks and holes also cautiously watching my perimeter. I sighed reaching the forest and breathed in the refreshing air. I took in the fresh scent of pine cones and grass blades but ending up doubling over in coughs. Damn. I knew I shouldn’t have done that. It was time I admitted it and get along with it. I was sick. I had bone cancer and I was going to die. No one knew when but I had a short life span compared to my peers. The doctors told me that they were going to find a cure but I know that they’re only trying to be optimistic. I know that even if they do, it won’t be soon enough because I can feel it. I can feel my cells dying and the shortness in my breath. My symptoms are getting worse too and I get tired easily too.
A colorful raven cawed nearby circling in the air and my attention snapped towards it. It was a beauty with its black and red wings and it flew just as gracefully. I watched with a smile as it stalked its prey before swooping down, to grab it. Its nails making the kill, the raven flapped its wing going up to its nest with sharp claws clutching its lunch. It dropped the prey into the nest and I barely made out the open beaks of the hatchlings high up in the tree.
I sighed and looked around at everything around me. The trees were large and too big to climb but they were handsome in their own way. I yawned, growing tired and looked at my watch seeing it was only midday. Stupid cancer, I muttered. I was a pretty athletic girl but when I was diagnosed with cancer a year ago it all went downhill. I refused to stay at the hospital where they’d poke at me and experiment with my blood. At home my parents had their own way of dealing with it and my dad deliberately tended to stay at work later than usual and my mom always came up with excuses not to be with me either. I personally blamed it on cancer. Though the only thing that didn’t change in my life was school. It was still crappy but I knew if they found out about my disease it would’ve been thousand times worse. I also prayed every day that the secret wouldn’t slip either because if it did I knew that school would officially become hell.
I leaned against the prickly evergreen and slid down to my butt with my legs outstretched in front of me. The sun rays reached me through the dense protection of the leaves but I was safe. Ever since I was young, I was prohibited from going out in the sun and as I grew older I learned that it was from having skin disease. I had it since birth so there wasn’t anything my parents could to but limit my time in the sun. Its also no wonder that the only thing I can think of is freedom. It was really hard for me growing up though and knowing that I couldn’t go in the sun because I had a disease which prevented from doing things other kids took for granted. It was also really hard on my parents because they had to take precautions on planning vacations and it kept us limited. As a young child I’ve always been obedient to my parents but as I grew older things changed. My attitude towards life and my perspective became different. I thought my parents were being unfair from keeping me away from playgrounds and other fun places but I learned they were only trying to keep me safe later on. I learned my lesson though when I was about nine years old.
It was a quiet afternoon and my mom and I had gone shopping. I remembered telling her that I’d stay in the car for one of the stores she wanted to go in and she was hesitant at first but let me. I sat there with my little doll to accompany me but soon got tired of it. My eyes wandered across the street and glowed when I saw a playground full with sand. I saw kids of all ages swinging and sliding and was tempted to go. I slowly unbuckled my seatbelt and slid down the seat. I had my hand on the handle when the constant chiding of my mom came to mind but for once I ignored it.
So despite my mom’s warning in my head I walked outside, underneath the full glare of the sun. I didn’t notice anything at first or even the minor irritation I had. I was careful of the streets and when I came to the playground I lost myself. I happily waited my turn on the swing and when it came I quickly sat on it but unfortunately didn’t know what to do next. I had had never had a swing when I was younger and the park itself was a mystery. A girl next to me though was friendly enough to show me and I learned quickly. Once I got the hang of it, I swung my feet back and forth moving and higher. I felt like I was flying and it was the most fun I had in my nine years.
When I was done with the slide I noticed that I felt itchy all over and I remembered frowning feeling funny. I walked grimacing to the slid but began feeling dizzy. I fell to all fours and yelled in pain when my hand came in contact with the scorching sand. I tried getting back up but my head suddenly weighed a ton. I pushed against the force and instead my head hit the sand backwards. That wasn’t the worse of it though because then I was under the glare of the scorching hot. I cried out again when the heat became unbearable and I raised my hand a fraction to see that it had nasty bumps and burns forming. It was all enough to send me writhing in agony screaming for my mom. I don’t know how long it took for her to see me on across the street but through my peripheral vision and small amount of tears I clearly saw the kids clustering around me. They were screaming out in disgusts and one of them dared to touch me, sending me into more pain.
I had fainted soon after but the look of disgusts on their faces was forever carved in my mind. It was a horrible experience for my first time at the playground and when I regained conscience in the hospital, my mom took her time in explaining to me about my skin disease. I was devastated when I found out that the only time where I could visit the playground again was in my dreams or if my parents took me after sunset. I didn’t like how they refused to take me to the park in the dark knowing I couldn’t go in morning like normal kids but secretly I was glad they didn’t. I always had this fear of the night which is funny because the only time I can be normal is then. I also hated myself because later I realized I wasn’t like other children, I wasn’t healthy and I wasn’t fine no matter how much my parents said otherwise. I was sick and I was going to die.
My eyes fluttered and I yawned, exhaustion taking over. It was around midafternoon and the winds were picking up. I huddled into my body and nestled against the tree, gathering as much warmth as I could. My body was drained of energy and I knew it was because of the cancer. I sighed, wondering how long the fatigue would stay before I finally fell asleep and never woke up again. I shuddered and shook off the morbid feeling. My eyes closed and the chirping of birds and the rustling of leaves lulled me into a heavy sleep.
I felt myself being picked up and carried when my instincts took over. I struggled, flailing my hands and managing a punch on my captors face. The captor groaned but still held on. My shut eyes shot open and my heart stopped when I saw that it was my dad. My jaw dropped and I instantly apologized seeing him angrily rub his cheekbone. I noticed that we were outside our house but was still too tired to talk. My dad carried me to my room upstairs and gently plopped me on my bed. He sadly watched me and rested his hand on my cheek “Honey, I know everything is hard for you in your condition but why must you cause us trouble?”
I coughed and groaned a reply “Am I still getting punished?”
“Yes you are not getting off that easily but your mother and I will give you couple minutes to think over what you’ve done. Then I want you to tell me a reasonable punishment for your actions.”
I nodded and my dad stood up leaving me to mull over things. I didn’t really have to think over my actions because I know that my choices weren’t debatable. My parents would never understand the things I did and even if I did try to elaborate it wouldn’t register in their minds that I was right.
I lay in bed looking up at my light blue ceiling when my dad came through the door with a grim expression. I sat up and got off my comfortable fuzzy blanket following him into my parents bedroom which was across from mine. He opened the door and I filed in after him. My mom was there with distress clearly pasted on her face and her lips were tightly sealed. She sat on her bed rigidly and motioned for me to sit next to her. I nodded and did as I was told as my dad paced the floor.
“Why?” My mom asked not speaking more than a word to me. She was livid and there was nothing I could do.
I cleared my throat and told her the truth, hoping I wouldn’t regret it “Why did I run? Because I had to get away. Everyone was closing in on me and I needed fresh air. I’m sorry for what I did.”
She shook her head and my dad took over. “What have you chosen as a proper punishment?”
“Uh, I don’t know?”
“Well then I’ll go for the usual. You know I can’t believe you, I would’ve thought you’d know by now how to act and how to show respect to your teachers. I guess I was wrong and you still haven’t learned your lesson.” My dad walked over to his closet and took out a belt from one of his pants. He came over to me and told me to lie down on my front. He raised the belt and struck me on my backside.
I closed my eyes and scrunched the comforter in discomfort. “Argh!!!”
He struck me again on the same spot and I muffled a scream. I won’t cry, I won’t cry, I refuse to cry, I kept telling myself.
Just one more, I thought. My dad rose his hand and was in mid-strike when he stopped. He came closer and pulled the back of my shirt down. My dad let go and his eyes grew wide with fear. I wondered what he’d seen.
“What happened?” I frowned.
His mouth gaped open “I’m sorry,” he choked out.
I turned to my mom for an explanation and she motioned for me to go back into my room. I rolled off the bed and flinched. I limped out the room and into mine. I locked it and took off my shirt. I looked into the mirror behind my door and viewed my neck, moving my red hair out of the way. I gasped when I saw red welts and knew that the cancer had grown. The doctor had warned me about it and even showed me the signs before death. A small tear escaped me and put my shirt back on. I scrambled for my diary in one of my drawers and yanked a pen. I threw off the soft covers and plopped onto the bed, pulling the comforters back around me like a shield. I picked up the diary and turned to the crisp white first page. I had never used it but today I would.
Let’s cut the crap and get to the point. I am dying, slowly but surely. My inside bones are weakening and my organs are withering. I don’t know what’ll kill me first though, the bullying I allow my body to be exposed to or the cancer. My greatest fear though is dying. Another reason why I tolerate the punches thrown at me is because I believe that which doesn’t kill me will only make me stronger. Truth be told, I am preparing my hardest my inevitable death but I fear it is not enough.
I shut the book and play with the pencil in my hand. I don’t what more to write and debate if I should write what I feel. I never had a diary before and this was my first one. It was given to me last year when my parents found out about my cancer. My mom had thought it was best if I wrote in it. She thought it would help me solve everything but it didn’t and doesn’t. It doesn’t change fate nor will it change me but if I’m dying anyways why not satisfy my mom? Oh, what the hell, I thought. I opened the diary back up and started writing.
How do I feel about all of this? For starters, I’m running away from it. I do anything and everything to keep my mind off of it. The thought of dying send shivers down my back and it makes me want to throw up. It makes me stop eating and it forces my brain to go into overdrive.
You want to know something, diary? Whenever I see Arkadi in school I wonder if it’s his kind heart that gains him friends and popularity, or is it only because of his parent’s status? I wonder if I got to know better, would we be friends by now? Would he feel guilty about not having the chance to know me, or would he be happy along the rest of the world to be rid of my worthlessness? I don’t know and I don’t think I’ll ever have the chance to find out.
I rub my sore spot on my backside and close the diary. It was a blue leather book and despite all my protests when my mom bought it, I liked it. I fingered the thread on the side of it and put it back in my drawer. I get back into my bed and cuddle against my pillow. My stomach loudly growls and I realize I haven’t eaten. I ignore it and close my eyes. My parents wouldn’t have let me eat either ways beside I was grounded, more or less. From across the hallway, I heard my dad yelling profanities and I realized he blamed my bad behavior on himself. I have to make this clear, I thought. I got off from my cozy spot on my bed and unlocked my door. I barged into my parent’s room and saw them in a middle of a dispute. They instantly stopped, seeing me and my dad stared at me.
“Daddy, my cancer is something you can’t do anything about it and I’m sorry about today! If it eases your anger, you can punish me further. I don’t mind if you want to hit me again, I’m going to die anyways.” I gestured towards myself.
My dad glowered while my mom wrapped an arm around his “You think I’m abusive and I want to hit you? Are you crazy? I’m your father and I hold only love for you!”
He shrugged he off and stomped by me, muttering incoherent words angrily. Oh great, I muttered. I could tell my dad was going to make his way to the bar and get drunk. It was his way of flushing away the sorrow but what he didn’t get was that the pain always came back.
My mom painfully asked, “Why did you have to say that, Min?
I shrug my shoulders and mumbled “I’m sorry…”
I turned around and walked back to my room. I slammed the door shut and quickly got under covers before the tears exploded. It was my fault. It always was and instead of making it better, I made it worse for my dad. Oh, why I can’t I do anything right?
That night I fell asleep crying and woke to my dad’s heavy drunk footsteps. I jumped when he knocked but gave him permission to enter. I rubbed my sleepy eyes and checked my clock to see it was around midnight. My dad came inside and scowled, obviously in a bad mood. His words were slurred but I heard every word
“You want to help us with my problems?” He asked not waiting for an answer.
“Why don’t you start with straightening your attitude, eh? You are the cause of our problems! If it wasn’t for you everything would’ve been alright! You had to come along and screw our lives didn’t you? I wish you were never born!”
The words pierced my heart and I vaguely remember getting out of bed to repeatedly punch my dad in anger. My dad stood still taking in my punches but grew weary of it after awhile before he flung me. I fell and my head hit the edge of the bed. Blood trickled down and I fainted. My dad’s thundering footsteps drunkenly walking away.
The next morning, I woke to a pounding headache which I ignored as I slipped out of bed. I looked at my forehead and noticed a small white gauze pad. I figured my mom must’ve seen me and cleaned the cut. I thought back to yesterday and my heart painfully throbbed. My dad hates me and I should’ve been smarter than to fall for those fake hugs and those kisses he stopped giving after my cancer. I knew I was too ugly to be loved. I looked down at my wrinkled school uniform which I forgot to change last night and went into my closet, taking out the second pair of uniform I had. I quickly got dressed in my white shirt and green knee length skirt, wearing stockings underneath. I brushed my hair pulling it into a simple pony tail, letting my bangs hide my gauze. I ran to the bathroom outside in the hall and brushed my teeth. I rinsed out my mouth and face before I made my way into the kitchen. I grabbed an energy bar and tore it open, shoving it into my mouth. I saw my backpack by the door and at the last second decided to take my diary. Once I got up my diary and I pushed it into the back pack, I slung it over my shoulder. It was around six forty but was still really dark outside so I had no problem walking.
“I’m leaving for school!” I called out to my parents and hurried out the door. I closed it behind me and walked the couple blocks to my school. I saw other students chattering aimlessly but didn’t bother waving. I shuffled to my locker and took out my diary. It slipped out of my hands and skidded off into the distant. I cursed and pushed in my backpack turning to get my diary off the polished floor. Unfortunately someone else got to it before me and to my horror it was Arkadi. My heart pounded against my ribcage as I saw the evil glint in his eye when he opened it, turning to the first floor.
“Nooo!” I yelled, running up to him trying to grab it out of his hands.
He taunted, putting it out of my reach “You want it, jump for it?”
I jumped, my nails barely scratching the edge of it. “Please,” I begged.
I pounded on his chest furiously, unwanted tears falling down my elongated lashes. His buddies, Gabe and Ray, wrenched me off of him and grabbed my hands, holding it behind my back. A crowd had formed by now and I was furious when all that they did was watch.
I cried in anguish wiggling in their grips as Arkadi to add to my embarrassment read the most important parts out loud. He mocked “Dear diary, I have cancer and I’m dying slowly from inside. My organs are withering away.”
I gave up fighting and my body wracked against my heavy sobs. I felt the penetrating stares of my classmates which widened at the new news. A boy with blonde hair in the crowd pointed at me and whispered hogwash, starting a small rumor which went all around. At that everyone started whispering and I was humiliated. I was reminded of my lesson and a new fire ignited inside. I fought harder against Ray’s grip and broke through launching my body at Arkadi. Surprised, the diary fell out of his hands as we both tumbled to the ground. I pulled my hand back and formed it into a fist, punching him in the nose. I watched the blood pour out of his nostrils and slapped him hard in the face. I repeated the act couple times, letting the angry tears slide down my chin and onto his shirt.
“I hate you!” I spat lividly onto his face.
Couple seconds later, Arkadi reacted and flipped me over. He was on all fours with me under him, we were both breathing hard when he whispered, leaning close to my ears “There’s nothing you can do and no matter what you do, you can’t make me take back my words. I knew that the strong act was only a façade and now I know it. Cancer, eh?”
I shook with boiling rage and pushed him away from me. He pulled back and wiped the dripping blood with the back of his hand. Then over his shoulder from my position, I saw a teacher make their way from outside the crowd. My eyes amplified in fear when I saw that it was none other than Mrs. Petrova herself. I jolted into action and jumped for my diary. I reached it in time and got to my feet, pushing through the crowd away from Mrs. Petrova. I ran to the girl’s bathroom with tears flooding down my face and made sure no one was inside before locking the door. I dropped my diary next to the sink and gripped the edge of it. I sobbed, watching my pathetic self in the mirror. I had wrinkles on my forehead from worry and my nose scrunched up. My lips were pulled down and the end of it quivered. Thick tears constantly flowed and my hair was mess from the tussle. I had couple nasty bruises from where Ray and Gabe had grabbed me and I noticed blood also trickling down my forehead.
Why? Why me and why now? It was my fault for underestimating him! I should’ve known he would’ve read my diary out loud to anyone watching! I am so stupid and why does he have to be such a jerk? Ugh! My life is officially ruined!
I took my diary and flipped through the two pages and ripped them out. I tore them into pieces making sure that they were shredded and dumped the pages into the garbage. Still angry by the previous events, I threw it away from me into the nearest wall. I watched irately as it fell to the ground and lay opened and exposed. That was exactly how I felt, all my secrets bare from protection and the rumors. Oh how that would make my life at school harder. I can’t bear it any longer! I’d rather die than step foot outside this secluded bathroom; at least here I was safe from everyone.
A knock on the door brought my attention to it, and I turned the faucet on letting the person know it was occupied. I splashed water onto my face and tried my best to calm the tears. I evidently failed my eyes red and puffy and my shudders still jolting my body. I leaned closer to the mirror and banged my head, overlooking the pain. Much to my dismay though, the pain helped me forget my problems and I began finding ways to harm myself. I picked up my diary and smashed it against the mirror. I satisfying smirked when I saw a small crack. I turned the diary sideways to the edge and poked at the crack. I picked at it and watched it grow. Pretty soon the mirror fell apart and it shattered into thousand tiny pieces. I didn’t care about the mess or the danger as I picked up a sharp edged glass piece.
Slowly I rolled up my shirt, revealing my stomach and closed my eyes trying to give myself strength for pulling my act through. I opened them back up and put all my anger into the glass piece in my hand, driving it in. A painful gasp escaped me and I screamed. Loud banging on the door brought me to my senses and I heard Mrs. Petrova on the other side.
“Open up!” I shook my head knowing very well that she couldn’t see me. I looked down at the gushing blood and yanked the glass piece out. I tightened my abdomen muscles and picked up a larger piece, stabbing myself repeatedly. It became easier and I kept hurting myself till I was on the verge of passing. The banging on the door stopped and over the running of the water I could scarcely hear the clanging of keys turning the lock. My vision blurred and I kept a grip on the sink for support. My head became lightheaded and my hands slowly lost their strength. My knees buckled from underneath and I fell to the ground with a bang just as the door opened. Everything became numb and my brain prepared for hibernation. Screw cancer, I thought. Through half closed eyes I watched as the teachers rushed in and the couple students followed. They all circled around me in the bathroom and I made out a hazy hand reach out to touch me. I tried screaming for everyone to move away and leave me in peace to die but all that came out was a moan. I felt the pressure of someone’s hand trying to lessen the blood flow and that was all it took for me to lose conscious. I peacefully slipped into the welcoming darkness and heartedly embraced it.
It’s been two weeks after my suicidal attempt and here I am now, curled into a ball against the cold brick wall dodging the blows by Arkadi. The whole school knows about my cancer and they treat me like the plague itself, moving out of my way whenever I’m near or keeping quiet when it comes to picking partners in class. I guess this was all to be expected. The only person who takes advantage of this all is Arkadi. He’s worse, taking every free time to make my life a living hell like I thought he would. The cruel words spat out of his mouth are like hot lava rocks to my skin and they burn me to the touch. It’s everyday now after school that the secret bullying start. I’m beaten up, black eye, sprained wrists, and maybe sometimes if Arkadi is in a dull mood he’d have me beg him for mercy. It’s sickening to think that I like the bullying but that’s how my life is, crazy and twisted. What’s even weirder though is that I like the harm that’s done to me because it’s my way of getting away from my problems. I may be suicidal and I may be classified an emo but the reason? I’m trapped and I can’t run. The way I see it, allowing Arkadi to harm me is the only way I can forget about cancer momentarily because by the end of the year I know I won’t survive. I know I will die and that’s the dreadful truth. That is life, unfair and forbidding.