The days of playground bullies screaming “Nell, Bell, you smell!” Are replaced with feet ready to trip down the hallways. As I look from the doorway those hallways I see the mouth of a lion dying to swallow me whole. Before I can open my mouth, afraid that it might be filled with cobwebs, they sneer “Hello, Nell, cat got your tongue?” They are not the ones I will open up and let my secret spill out to. Neither are the teachers that look down on me as they wait for me to turn into their carbon copies. None can see the rows of black thread holding my lips together. Walking the sidewalk that takes me away and brings me back to my nightmare. Where a pair of two are ready with slicing words that never fail to bring me down. Bruises are formed and broken bones may happen but never enough for the rest of the world to see. Holding in my words, ones that want to scream, until I’m walking between my two hells. These last few months of the same suffering held only one ray of light. The boy in my life that follows on my heels and listens with a kind heart. Letting my neglected words came out in a flood and never a negative thing to say. Cleaning up my stained cheeks because with him I feel no shame. I let my reality fall away when I sink my face into his always welcome fur. The relief of finally telling someone washing over me. Kneeling down to kiss the tip of his nose as the cars whirl by. Keeping me rooted to the ground while I keep him safe from the cruel world. Only wishing away when I slip back into the fiery pits.