Peace of Mind

April 11, 2009
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Uncanny. That was the word. She stared me in the eyes with an unrestrained sense of confidence that frightened me. As if with one motion of her finger she could sweep the entire world into submission. She seemed to harbor an almost supernatural aura, a chilling sensation that would crawl down your spine, sending shivers through your skin. She crept forward, slowly with a meandering motion she would sway from side to side. She must be ancient! Her wrinkled crooked nose supporting a pair of dusty glasses. Her eyes like a blackened abyss, two jet black beads so demanding, almost as if her eyes would reel you in with its enticing grip, and devour you through its sweeping chasm.

My attention left her eyes, astonished by her heat cracked face, like the natives of the Sahara desert that I’ve seen on TV. Her face sagged low by even an octogenarian's standards, seemingly still intact by her force of will, held upright by her menacing grin, revealing a mouth pearl white of perfect teeth, despite her spoiled deteriorating countenance. As she pulled her wretched body forward, she let out a stifled growl disguised as an attempt at speech. Veins in her neck bulged as she shrieked, making a mockery of discernible dialog. “Chapters 1 through 10 will be due on Friday,” she wheezed through gritted teeth, “along with the entry paragraphs for the novel.” I winced, my mind going blank. Her voice was like scraping her wretched fingernails against a newly erected chalkboard. Adrenaline and instincts of primal terror rushed to my head as I suppressed the urge to scream out to the heavens.

The room went silent. Accepting my surrender she turned to her next target, cornering her quivering prey at the corner of the room. I quickly wiped more forehead with my shirt. I felt unclean, like an unholy memory stained my head. I sat back, unable to take a moments refuge as she swept back over to my side. Her golden chains and jewelry clanking together, creating a dismal rhythm. Her mummified face lifted, a visage of agony and demise, her gemstone eyes jarred in their sockets, a flurry of activity, analyzing, peering into the soul of every wretched being that stained this room of desks and chairs. “Alrighty, if you got the idea” she creaked like an old set of stairs, swallowing a conglomeration of saliva as she talked, “You are done for the class….”

Relief! Relief swept my frame as I set free a torrent of stale air from my pained lungs. The torment of this institution was sheer agony, an unrecognizable torment beyond any comparison. Day by day sitting through my first period class became harder and harder, feeling my English teacher's piercing gaze perforate my mind. I sat back, my knuckles white from my grasp on the cold metal desk, waiting impatiently for the sweet harmony of the first period bell to release the horde of students from their classes, thousands of students posed and ready, like racers on track, at their mark, transfixed on the race ahead.

I scurried out of my class in a daze, hastily breaking off from any conversation, only to run into yet another disciplinarian from this abhorrent establishment. I couldn't hope to make a discernible route to class without running into a teacher, so I would have to sprint past the few that obstructed my path. My math teacher saw me, I knew she targeted me at her first sight. Its the feeling, the trembling feeling you get deep down in your gut that is a testimony to the fear that your feeling. I felt vomit rise into my mouth, my eyes begin to tear up and my muscles would soon turn into a contortion of spasms. My legs gave out in bitter protest as I fell to the scuffed filthy hallway floor, the floor that begged for the attention of a janitor but never made its request heard. The next thing that I would remember would be the tiles of that floor, those lonely tiles of skull gray mixed with tan and black, an odd combination of colors for a school's floor. I still lay face down in those tiles, my eyes stealing glances from side to side to see if my teacher still approached. I made another attempt at standing and I felt a revolting feeling in my stomach. I bit my tongue in agony, the metallic taste of my blood tantalizing my taste buds until I fully recognized my plight. I immediately picked myself up and scurried away before the surrounding teachers and students could bother me any longer. I attempted to stifle my blushing countenance as I turned the corner, feeling the warm rush of embarrassment from falling. I ducked into the bathroom and let a cold tap run over my fingers, gently touching my bleeding lip with a paper towel.

I looked into the mirror and saw my tortured face, my beaten, battered up eye lids with jet black sagging bags almost highlighting my entire face and realized how abominable I looked today. I was like a picture of the living dead, a tortured body crawling through these schoolhouse walls, scared out of my mind, a frightened coward running from class to class, waiting for the bells to tell me when to go away. And for a moment, sitting underneath the dimly lit bathroom stalls I realized that in that moment, I could change it all. All the torment, all the pain, agony, and distrust. I could become what I always wanted to be, I could do anything, no boundary was too extraordinary to conquer. I held back a single tear and went back to my next class, realizing that I could never make such a change. To this day I think about that tortured man I saw in the mirror that day, and I wonder what life would be like If I had the courage to make a change.

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