The Day I Returned This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 16, 2009
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Fifty-three missed calls. I looked at my phone for the first time in two weeks. The hairs on my neck rose when my mother peered cautiously from the passenger seat of my father's car. I strained to read message after message of friends' questions and concerns, not daring to look at her. With a delicate sigh, she turned to focus on the street and watch the yellow lines flash by.

The nervous clearing of her throat started as it always did when she felt like an inadequate parent. No words were spoken as we rounded the corner and pulled up in front of the school. The once-friendly ivory doors now glared at me with uninviting intent. My father cut the engine. This was it. My signal to open the car door and step back into a world I felt I did not know anymore.

“No one knows anything,” my father reassured me. I nodded and reluctantly opened the door without a word. He warned me not to reveal the truth to anyone. With each step, my knees became weaker. I reached for the door handle, ignoring the red marks on my hand from clenching my spiral notebook. With a heave, the door swung open and I stepped into the setting of my teenage personality, though I had not exactly returned with eagerness to my old high school life.

I ducked by the attendance office and climbed the three flights of stairs to my locker. As my shaking fingers twisted the combination, I looked at the clock. The tension in my neck began to build as I saw that class ended in less than five minutes.

I opened the rusty, green metal door and stared at my books. They were exactly as I had left them, piled in the same slouching manner. I reached for my U.S. history text and placed it in my arm with the spiral.

The moment I shut my locker, students began to flood out of their classes. I let out a breath, stared intently at the floor, and began walking toward history. Without warning, the hall became silent. I glanced up to find most of the student body staring at me, critiquing my every move.

I clenched my notebook tighter, feeling as though the wires might break my skin. I caught sight of my old friends and smiled in hopes of beckoning them to my aid. They were huddled around the window where we always converged between classes.

My crooked smile dwindled as they turned their backs on me. My heart screamed in agony. I had been betrayed – used and thrown away. As I quickened my pace, whispers trailed behind me.

“I heard she tried to kill herself. She cut her wrists” … “Well, I heard that she lied about it just to get attention” … “You guys are nuts – she just got back from rehab” … “For what?” … “I heard it was heroin” … “Well, I heard anorexia” … “She does look disgustingly thin.”

I waited for the assaulting word that to this day makes me cringe helplessly. But as this gossip party passed, they never mentioned anything close to what had really happened. There was nothing about that crummy apartment, the asylum-white door locked tight, the curly blond hair that torments my dreams – nothing. His nameless face flashed suddenly in my mind, halting my footsteps.

My hand clenched brutally tight around my books as I struggled to stop the memory from coursing through my head: the darkness of the abandoned room, the unexpected haze from my drink, and the blond hair that is branded in my mind.

I passed my classroom and bolted for the theater. As I neared the doors, my sprinting feet broke down. I entered the pitch-black room, looking for any signs of a teacher or student. My pace slowed as I approached the stage.

Setting my books down, I sat on the edge of the stage and peered into the pitch black. It was the same blackout color of that night. If anyone had been in the room, I wouldn't have been able to make out the face. I gazed down at the spiral marks on my hand. Feverishly I tried to rub the indentations from my skin, but they refused to go.

I glanced at the door again, praying that someone would enter. My eyes watered from restraining the urge to raise my voice, to yell for help. I realized that the one thing I wanted wasn't possible. I was praying for someone to hear my nonexistent cries when I could do nothing more than talk with silence.

In an attempt to release the tension, I shook my head repetitively. I glanced at my free hand and saw it pulling down the pleats of my dress with clenched fingers. I released the garment and cradled my cramping fist in my lap, stroking the indents that now seemed permanent.

My eyes looked toward the edges of the room. Each empty seat seemed to symbolize the friends, family, and peers sitting opposite me, waiting for the mental breakdown they were all so sure would come. Looking to my right and left, despite the size of the stage, it was clear that there was no room for anyone but me and my ominous memories. I was alone, utterly alone. And the worst part was that no one knew.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 36 comments. Post your own now!

Shay<3 said...
Feb. 20, 2015 at 11:50 am
I understand my comment is years late but wow... I am honestly shocked.. I wish I could say I have been their but I have not, but I do understand how it feels to be utterly alone. I hate it, I hate myself at times too.. when your alone it's brutal. BUT you know what... we are all here for you
Princess_Navia said...
Sept. 8, 2012 at 11:07 pm
Amazing writing. Stay strong because you have an amazing gift
katsiscool said...
Feb. 1, 2012 at 7:37 pm
hey i'm so sorry and this is really good. i have a poem under my username katsview which reminds me of this. right now, i'm feeling like such an outsider/ observer, as i go through each day.
poena.dare011009 said...
Nov. 30, 2011 at 12:39 am
this shows alot of raw emotion, especially near the end. you have a wonderful voice when you write and excellent description. keep writing and stay strong.
Cecilia4ever said...
Nov. 27, 2011 at 12:49 pm
This is great!!! Keep writing!!
blablabla said...
Sept. 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm
it gets better keep and writing you have talent
bb42495 said...
Sept. 3, 2011 at 10:00 pm
dude i can totaly relate...ive been there and ive gone through gets better, i promise, just dont give up. AND KEEP WRITING! you have talent
ama1013 said...
Aug. 9, 2011 at 1:06 am
I loved reading this as sad as that sounds. I couldn't stop reading it and i have a very short attention span so that's a compliment ;) this was so good it didn't seem real i felt like i was reading a really good book!
Feathered_mortal This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 18, 2011 at 8:41 am
This is an amazing piece of writing. I hope that you find comfort for what you are going through.
Raindrops:) said...
Jun. 26, 2011 at 5:57 am
This is such a well written piece. It has alot of voice and description. I've been in one of those moments to where you feel like your alone in the situations because no one knows the real truth about what happened.
ClassicSmile said...
Jan. 1, 2011 at 4:18 am
I can totally relate to this memoir. I know and understand the feeling of being alone when no one understands you. I hope you can read my poem, Bring it On and I hope you are able to relate to it and find comfort in it :D
bobmarley917 said...
Nov. 1, 2010 at 6:06 pm
I like the story but what happend to you that was so bad?
Runner4Ever said...
Oct. 25, 2010 at 9:22 am
I Loved This Story I just got confused. What really happened to you? Rape?? But Truely great Keep writing!!
Love said...
Oct. 12, 2010 at 12:59 pm
I loved this story:)
AlexandriaLea(: said...
Oct. 12, 2010 at 12:55 pm
this was really good but i dont understand it. it is quite confussing
Chairez;) replied...
Oct. 12, 2010 at 1:05 pm
This is good but it would be better if it werent so confusing n if yu todl us what really happened to you so we could get the story better
BlackHoleHighAlumni This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 18, 2010 at 3:19 pm
Maybe she doesn't want appears really private...just try and guess for yourself...if she didn't say in the story, she isn't going to say in a comment... :/
MrsLadySlimShady replied...
Feb. 10, 2011 at 4:51 pm
I agree. Keeping the reader guessing is a trait of an amazing author =]
WritingAddict03This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Oct. 11 at 1:16 pm
I agree with both of you guys. Something so personal doesn't have to be shared to write an amazing story. Plus, the author emphasizes the fact that nobody understands by making hard for the reader to understand, too.
devon1 said...
Oct. 12, 2010 at 7:56 am
that was ggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooodddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd
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