Whispering. Why are you whispering? I’d ask you to please stop but I know why. Keep whispering, and I’ll keep my head down. Let my hair drape across my eyes. Slump my shoulders. Stay silent. Keep whispering; I’ll keep my head down. I will sink more and more into myself. It’ll pass, they said. When? Why should it? I deserve this, don’t I? I make an attempt to smile, to feel joy again, but I cannot. My soft smile looks more like a frown plastered across my face in the wrong direction. My eyes betray me as they swell with tears. You can’t cry here; they can’t see just how broken you really are. I stand there—middle of the hall—motionless and defeated, stoic and guilty. I realize the more I try to shut myself away, the more I lose of myself, the more the feeling of being overwhelmed consumes me, the more I feel as though I can’t breathe because my oxygen is being sucked away by these rumors—both truths and lies—I become lost in a maze of the blackest darkness that simply spirals and spirals, and twists and turns, and eats and spits out, and hates and detests, and eventually dies. I don’t want to die; I didn’t want to die.
I thought he’d said that he loved me. He had said it, hadn’t he? “I love you in my own way,” were his exact words. I just thought he was broken, and I thought that I, with open arms and youthful spirit, could save him. He just had not experienced love; he didn’t know how to love. I could teach him. I could make hm whole again, and so I gave him everything. I sacrificed every piece of myself, and, for a time, it was good. I was happy. Sure, we fought, but for every “You’re crazy!” There was an equally as passionate “You’re amazing.” I thought I had accomplished something. When he pushed me aside, he didn’t subsequently shattered me to pieces like brand new glass vase pitched against a wall. No, his best friend was there to console me. He told me that I
was right, that his friend was an idiot, that I was too special to let go. His words worked like sucking poison out of a snake bite and soothed my distress. He, who I thought harbored some true emotion for me, in the end sucked the life from me.
My own betrayal to the two mocked their friendship and so they took up arms against me. “We planned this,” “Who could want you,” “You’re gonna be exposed.” I was a mistake, I tried to say. I attempted with my every fiber and a completely guilt-ridden conscious to own my part. It wasn’t enough. No, I had to be humiliated and ostracized; my debt to the devil was due. The same choice that made them conquerors and propelled their obscene masculinity destroyed my femininity and ravaged my reputation. I waited and waited and endured and prayed and cried until I had no more tears left to give.
“I only wish this story were my own,” were the words that at last came from a despondent young woman. She looked down into the casket at a soft, delicate girl too naive to understand the world but tempted by it nevertheless. “I wish I could say, she’d survived and could stand here to testify for herself.” The bitterness and coldness struck the room of guilty, depressed, tired, and confused people. What kind of world did they live in? Words that could play like an infectious disease and slow turn veins black and cold. Words that could incite the cruelest and most disheartening of actions. What kind of world did they live? Words that could leave a mother and father grieving. What kind of world did they live in where words—mere words —could be so deadly?