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Little bird

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i sit down, out of breath like i’ve been running. i can hear her voice in the background as a few tears come to the surface. “Did you see that? Isn’t it amazing? She didn’t even blink!” A tear falls down my face, running, running as quickly as it can away from my eye where it has been kept for far too long. Fly away, be free... The others try, but i push them away, back down inside of me. The next group starts to get up to speak, and I turn away from the front of the room. I can hear the whispers of my actions circling. Why didn’t i cry until she started complimenting me? It was meant to reassuring. Why am i so stupid? Why does my own body against on rebelling against me? Why? Why? Why? WHY? i can feel someone wrapping their arms around me, hugging me. Someone really cares that i make it through this. What a shock. Nobody ever did before. i take a deep breath, steadying myself. i wipe away the tear from my face, then rub where it was, erasing the salty trail of destruction. Why did it have to be in public, in front of people? Thirty, no less, who couldn’t give a damn whether or not the story got out. Yes, it’s true folks, we didn’t want to believe it, but there is now irrefutable evidence to suggest that THAT GIRL, the one we all know and love... she has...you know. That thing that nobody thinks is real because they never see it. Because they never do. It was almost gone. i could avoid it. It wasn’t a problem. Until just a minute ago. The bell rings, and i sprint out of the door. Someone stops me. A girl. i feel bad that i don’t know her name. She must have been the one who hugged me. “Hey,” she says, “are you ok?” me: tiny smile. Maybe trying to be friendly. A small laugh. It sounds forced. She pauses. “You did really good,” she says. Me: another small laugh, “Thanks.” She smiles again, then hurries down the hall, disappearing into the stream of people. i follow, slowly. i consider skipping biology to clean myself up. If I look as bad as i feel, someone will want to call the paramedics. i’ve never skipped class in my life. i am a good girl, a perfect daughter. A girlfriend. A writer. Not a skipper. And yet, i seriously consider it. For just a second, though. I know I will never have the guts to actually do it. So i trudge to biology and listen to the inner fascinations of phospholipid bilayers, but i don’t actually hear a thing. The entire time i’m staring off into space, my mind is in the brain ICU, being repaired. It’s in critical condition. “She suffered a major trauma,” people whisper, doctor's heels clicking on the hard linoleum floors, beepers going off, phones being answered, “we don’t know if she’s going to make it.” We have to cut out cell parts from a piece of paper. i stare at the scissors, then my must-be-perfect persona takes over the empty shell and cuts out my heart from the slab of white. It tapes it together, into layers and valves, and she chats friendly chat with the girls who are going to Mexico during winter break. But my soul nervously watches over my mind, holding tight to her hand, willing her to stay. Please stay. Please, please stay. Tears. The bell rings. I see i got an A on my biology test. The scores are posted on the door. Good for me. Good Girl is a walking shell, keeping a smile, but i peek out from behind the corners, seeing if anybody has noticed yet. i wonder why they’re not all pointing. Whispering about me. That’s Her. You know her? She’s a freak. Not one person looks up from their social lives to see the soul of a broken girl wandering the halls. i can’t hear anything. It’s like i’m in a tunnel. i’m looking upon my body from the outside. i’m having an out-of-body experience. i want to scream, but i don’t know where. i need to sit down and have a good cry, but lunch isn’t long enough. i don’t have enough time. i consider calling home sick, telling my mom i don’t feel well. But my brain begs to differ. It’s practical. Good Girl has to learn her geometry, and Spanish will only get harder if Good Girl doesn’t go. i wish i didn't have such high expectations of myself. i eat lunch, or rather, i take out an orange and stare at it. Boyfriend asks what’s wrong. i tell him. He’s sympathetic, but not as much as i need. It’s because we’re not alone. He gives me the space i silently ask for, and he distracts our friends so i can eat in peace. i’m not hungry. Geometry is a blur. Good Girl keeps it up, but she’s getting tired. It’s hard to hold a shell for teachers with no interior scaffolding. i have shrunk into a corner, waiting for my mind to be released. Why doesn’t anyone realize what has happened to me? Does anyone realize i’m not speaking today? That i stopped after first period? Does nobody see that the inside of my body is hanging in bloody strips, like wallpaper after a brutal robbery. the chandelier is gone; all the sparkle disappeared. I ask to go to the bathroom. The halls are silent. My steps are so loud, so empty, so heavy. Like a hospital at night. i splash water on my face, but that only smears my makeup. i stare at my face in the mirror. “You’re ok.” i command myself to be ok. i have to be. “You’ll make it.” If anyone saw me giving myself a pep talk in the bathroom, they’d think i was crazy. Maybe i am. Maybe this pushed me over the edge. i turn away from myself, disgusted. This shouldn’t have affected me so much. Why did it? It’s happened before. Why the f*** does this happen to me? Why me? Why ME? What did i do wrong to deserve this? Nobody should have to deal with this. Nobody should have to go through this. i take a deep breath and push through the door. i have to be a big girl. A strong girl. But really, i’m just a little bird trapped inside a bird cage. And i can’t sing any more. i can’t sing can’t sing can’t sing can’t sing can’tsingcan’tsingcantsingcantsingcantsing.

but i can sure as hell stutter.

St st st st st

st st

u. uu tttttttt tt tttt tttttt
e e
e



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fiftiesgal467 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 15, 2011 at 7:10 pm
Oh my gosh. I almost started crying reading this. It is so powerful and so beautiful and so sad all at the same time. I'm so sorry that you had to go through this, but thank you for writing about it. I can't believe that this is your stream-of-consciousness!!
 
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