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Just a Poster on the Wall

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She’s home. Lilly. She’s not yet in my line of sight, but I hear her, her soft breathing and her heavy footsteps. Anticipation grows inside me, anticipation to see her lovely face and hear her soft voice as she tells me about her day.

She walks purposefully into her room, coming into my field of vision, a willowy figure and long golden hair. She drops her book bag on the floor before collapsing backwards onto her bed, which immediately tells me something is wrong. She’s across the room from me, her beautiful face drowning in sadness. She doesn’t look at me. But she will.

She rolls over so that her pretty face is in the blankets. I hear a muffled sigh, and I know what has happened, before she turns around and sits up, giving me full view of her strait nose, red lips, and arched eyebrows over eyes like pieces of fallen sky. She begins to talk to me.

“I can’t believe that this happened, Grey. Tyler dumped me.” I can’t believe it. Another one. Will they never see her value? “He seemed so special, so different from the others. I never thought he would’ve done this to me. I mean, Joe I dumped, he was cheating on me, and Sam dumped me to go out with Chastity—” (she sneers at her name) “like she’s ever been chaste in her life—and Garret . . . I just lost contact with him . . . but that was his fault! He never gave his phone number, and there are so many others that broke up with me, cheated on me, used me, but, well, you know that, Grey . . .

“Anyway, he met up with me when school let out, and said,” (she begins to speak very slowly and deepens her voice so it sounds vaguely male) “‘I just don’t really like you anymore, Lilly. I’m sorry. It’s—it’s not you, it’s me,’” (her voice becomes normal again) “I can’t believe he gave me the whole ‘it’s not you it’s me’ speech. Like I care!” I know she is lying now. I know her very well. She’s not really lying to me, it’s more like she’s lying to herself. It shows more than many things how she feels. “He walked away the second the last word was out of his mouth. It was like he wanted to get away as soon as possible. What a coward.” (She deepens her voice again) “‘After I’m done breaking that stupid girl’s heart, I’ll run away ‘cause she might she cry, I don’t want to see that.’” A tear leaks out of one of her eyes. I feel a rush of sympathy toward her, and a waterfall of hatred toward Tyler. He broke my Lilly’s heart! He had a chance with her, she liked him, how she doesn’t like me, and threw her away, like she’s a piece of trash! He had a chance with her! Anger roars in me now, and it roars louder every moment I look at Lilly, and that is every second, because I can’t look away. She’s now sobbing as the tears continued to fall from her eyes.

“He . . . he b-broke my heart, Grey.” she says. “I g-gave him my heart, and h-he b-b-broke it. He threw it against the wall. N-no, he . . . he threw it in the trash.” Her sobs intensify. I long to go to her, to embrace her, tell her it’s okay, but I can’t. I’m just a poster on the wall, of her favorite anime character, Grey Endo. I know everything about the character, more than Lilly does, but I’m not really him, which I think, if Lilly knew, would disappoint her very much.

“HE NEVER REALLY CARED ABOUT ME, DID HE?” She shouts abruptly, apparently losing the tiny shred of control she had as tears stream down her face in a waterfall. I’m now worried, she usually doesn’t get this emotional about break ups. She’s usually an optimistic person. It’s horrible, but I feel a small amount of envy toward Tyler. Lilly really cares about him. Cares about him, as she doesn’t, can’t care about me.

She picks up her backpack and throws it at me—well, probably just the wall, but it hits me—and I feel the scratchy fabric rub against my ink-created face. My concern intensifies at this action; it’s not like her. “HE N-NEVER C-C-CARED ABOUT M-ME! NO ONE C-C-CARES ABOUT ME! W-WHY W-WOULD ANYONE C-CARE ABOUT ME? I’M T-TOO UGLY!” No you’re not, I want to tell her. You’re more beautiful than the sun that creeps through your window, the flowers your mother sometimes puts in your room, and the stars in the sky. But I can’t say anything.

“I’M UGLY AND S-STUPID AND I B-BET EVEN YOU D-DON’T LIKE ME!” She’s screaming now. I know no one’s home, her parents are at work, but I hope the neighbors hear her, I hope they come. She’s hysterical now. “I C-COME HOME AND S-S-SPILL ALL MY S-STUPID SECRETS TO Y-YOU, AND YOU D-DON’T EVEN C-CARE!” She stands up, off her bed, and marches over to me, putting her face into mine. “DO YOU?” She screams. I can’t answer, of course. But is she really losing faith in me? Then she grabs the top of my poster, and yanks me off the wall. Pain rips through me as I feel my paper tear. It’s like getting a knife slicing me open, four at the same time for each tack, but not that bad. I think of it as pain that I’m enduring for her; that I’m helping her in some way. It seems to hurt less when I think of it like that.

For a moment she just wails and screams with me clutched tightly in her small hand, then crumples me up and throws me against the wall. The crumpling isn’t as painful as the tearing, but it’s still painful, like being pummeled by dodge balls; and being thrown against the wall doesn’t hurt, it feels like hitting a blanket. I can’t see now, but I hear her walk out of her room and into the kitchen. I listen in terrified anticipation as she rummages around for something before returning to her room where I still lay, crumpled on the floor.

She begins to speak—calm, now, but calm in a scary, unnatural way, in a way that shouldn’t follow the rage she was in so quickly. “I can’t stand it anymore, nothing ever working out, so it should just be . . . I should just be . . . over.” I hear the dry, rasping sound of skin being split, an intake of breath, another rasp, a clatter of metal, and a heavy thud.

I feel black, endless despair and grief wash over me as her blood soaks into my thick paper. I feel guilt too, even though I don’t know what I could’ve done. I was, I am, just a poster on the wall.



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