Covering the areas of.

January 22, 2009
By Alyssa Radel, Peru, IN

covering the areas of depression and hating someone for how they look.

This is nothing less than your deepest and darkest secrets. The full moon throbs and beats its light into the crevices of every home, and leads the stars in a brilliant and intricate dance. Beneath, the world pulses on.

Broken and silent and sullen and worthless. She beat her fist against the cool glass of the windowpane without conviction. “I am all of those things,” she whispered. “I am broken, like a rotting rocking horse.” She sighed, and her warm breath filtered through the crack under the window. It flew away into the night, a small sigh of air among millions of others. She pictured the small particles of her breath, seeping out into the night and trying to mix among the similar particles. She pictured them being cast out, away from the others like she herself was.

In the morning, she flipped from her stomach to her back. The white ceiling paint was peeling away, flaking off and falling onto the floor like snowflakes. It dotted her dark carpet, reminding the girl of dandruff. She sighed deeply before starting the day's activities. Mind numbing school work mixed in with awkward attempts at a friendly smile. The students at her school cut a path for her down the hallway, so no one would get too close and catch whatever she had that made her weird and unwanted. They saw her as a freak, and so she saw herself in the same way. One day droned into the next, and a thin veil filmed the girl's eyes. She saw the world in black and white, like a dog.

A nondescript morning saw the girl standing alone in the school hallway. She shut her locker and sighed at her lateness. The principal made his way around the corner, and he saw the girl standing sullenly, anticipating a reprimand. He passed her without a word, and without a glance. The girl watched him march down the hall and enter a classroom, his shoes clicking on the tiles. She allowed just one tear, let it roll down her cheek and get caught on the corner of her mouth. Then she walked to class. Her shoes made no noise. Even they knew that no one wanted them to make a sound.

Silence, sharp as a dagger. The girl tripped down the porch steps in front of her house. Her mother stood in the doorway, arms crossed, the picture of animosity. The girl's worldly possessions were packed in two small suitcases, which stood on the floor at her mother's side. When the girl stood and stared at her mother, she bent and picked up the small suitcases. With no emotion in her blue eyes, she tossed them out on the yard and stepped back into the house. The girl tried to convey her emotion, show her mother the sadness she felt, but she wanted none of it. Her mother shut the door, locked it, and went back to her afternoon tea. The girl grabbed the suitcases and ran away from the house as fast as she could.

The girl arrived at the train station, numbness encasing her in it's protective shell. The woman at the ticket counter looked at the girl silently. The girl, seeing her look, bent her head to the floor. She heard a sharp click, a slight creaking, and the stiff sound of stilettos on the cement. Suddenly, the girl's face was lifted up by a soft hand. The woman had put her hand gently under the girl's chin, and they looked into each other's eyes. Minutes passed, perhaps five, before the woman could look away. When she did, a tear slid silently from the corner of her eye. Turning, she took the girl's hand and led her to a small bench in front of the ticket counter. The woman went back behind it and picked up the phone. She spoke quietly into it, then set it back down. Then she clicked off the lights from behind the counter, and locked the door of the ticket booth behind her. She walked to the door, and looked back to see the girl still sitting on the small bench. The woman smiled to her and held out her hand. The girl walked to her, unbelieving, uncertain. Then the woman spoke.
“Anne,” she said. The girl barely heard her; she spoke too softly. “Anne,” the woman said again. Then the girl looked up into the woman's eyes. She was confused by the emotion she found there; she snapped her eyes shut.
“Emily,” she whispered. “My name is Emily.” Then she opened her eyes, and saw the world in color.

The author's comments:
This short story is about everyone. Everyone is guilty of judging too harshly, and relying on appearance to choose your friends. The girl in the story stays nameless until the end because no one wants to hear it, not even her mother.

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