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God of Lemons
She looked at me expectantly, holding her pad and tapping her pen.
Anything. I could spill it all now. Tell her everything. Everything I always planned to tell her every time I stepped into this stark room. It was so tempting. The words had already started to form in my head. I couldn’t get them to travel all the way down to my mouth. She sighed and started to jingle her foot.
I think she had enough. She stood up and walked to her blackboard and drew 7 dashes. Like we were playing hangman. But she had already given me the first letter. It was a C.
“Can you tell me what letters go in the other spaces Monika?”
I could tell her. Did I want to?
I wasn’t sure. Isn’t this what I wanted?
I had gone through so much to get to this point and now I was backing away from the chance. Step by step, leading me farther and farther away.
I couldn’t look at her anymore, I turned my head away, and put my knees up on the couch forming a barrier against her concerned stare. For a long time, the only noise was the uncoordinated inhales and exhales of our breathing. Chalk scraped out the rest of the letters. The board now said
So that was it. The truth was out. For some reason my eyes began to pool and I reached out for a tissue, her eyes were soft with sympathy but her voice came out at me; fast, hard and cruel. It had been a secret I had worn on my arm, for the whole world to see.
It had been a good day. A really good day. I came home remembering that. I flipped open my phone. I dialed my best friends number and began to gossip with her. I laughed into the phone and closed my eyes.
The computer greeted me, with a pulsating light. I flicked it on and moved the mouse in a circle. My background picture of me and my friend pulling a ridiculous face flashed on. I signed on to msn and scanned the online list. The beeping of my phone caused my heart to race faster. I knew it was a text message.
I flipped open my phone. It was from him. My face split into a silly smile, one of pure happiness as I read it. I replied with shaky hands, and IMed my other friend, my heart still throbbing. After pulling the text apart word for word with her, my phone beeped again. I said
“text, brb” she replied;
“Kk tell me what it says!”
I flipped open my phone. I pressed the show message button. I raced through the text. I read it again. And again and again.
Oh my god, I thought to myself. It speeded up until it all became a blur. Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod.
I stumbled into my bedroom and fell against the wall. I sat there like a drunkard, tears slipping down,
I threw my phone across the room as hard as I could. I pulled my blue curtains shut and slid my favourite CD in. I collapsed on my bed, facing upward, looking at the twirling angel suspended from my ceiling. Around and around it spun. Quietly, I began to sing a long; at the same time slipping my hand under my pillow and pulling out a pair of scissors. The music fell on top of me and sucked me all the way down with it. The burning wick of the candle made figures and shapes twist across the gleaming blade. It moved and danced up and down and up and down and inside and outside, backwards and forwards, weaving its way through the other marks and scars.
I wiped the last of it up with my finger and smeared it across the mirror forming words. Words.
I’m so sick words.
My room felt crushing, suffocating me with every dark corner and every blank wall.
Then I couldn’t take it anymore.
If I wasn’t me, and me being sensible at the worst of times; I wouldn’t have taken my money out of my wallet, I wouldn’t have slipped out of the front door and I wouldn’t have calmly gotten into a cab.
Back at home, my phone was lying there where I left it, against the wall where it had made a dent, beeping away for all it was worth.
The air felt thick and was perfumed by plumeria trees. It was muggy too, and made me cough sometimes. The sun had dropped out of the sky, all traces of it wiped clean. Leaving the slate a clear, crisp dark blue. Old Chinese men and women stared at me as I walked slowly by them. They were taking in my tear-stained face, perhaps looking distorted under the bright lamps. But as I got deeper into the different gardens, the number of people thinned and I felt free to breathe. All the different things I was feeling; exploding and falling over each other inside of me.
Sometimes I used to look through old photos, stare at my smiling younger face, and wonder at how much I had changed. This was the price of growing up, losing a bit of your inner child as you blow out the birthday candles, adding one more each time. Maybe that’s why I had pasted picture after picture onto the wall facing my bed. Perhaps I was trying to remind myself of what I used to be. And to remind myself that I was still in here, hiding in amongst the tangled web of emotions I had put together.
But still, every so often I would glare at that wall.
Take down a picture and rip it to pieces.
Like a runner, when I get away from it all, I leave some of me on the path under my feet. I took comfort in that because I felt too complex for just one small person. I left the botanical gardens with my thoughts straightened out and every so often a tear would slide down my face.
As the taxi I had flagged down carried me back home, I opened the window and looked up wondering how I could feel so young and old at the same time. My maid escorted me out of the taxi, her arm gripping mine too hard, to make sure I didn’t run off again. She kept asking me if I was ok, I nodded over and over again telling her how fine I was.
My best friend was sitting on my tainted sheets, her eyes as red and sore as mine. Then I broke down and hugged her. With that one hug, I knew at that moment I was never as alone as I really felt.
My shame worsened as my mother burst into the room, her voice going high, near hysterical. She tightened her arms around mine and howled for me never to do that again.
She kept repeating it over and over again, as my tears soaked her hair. I told her I wouldn’t ever ever ever do it again. As I rocked back and forth, I whispered again and again;
“But it was a really good day…a really good day…”