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Confessions of My Sophomore Year

By , Banks, OR
She wanted to be a real ballerina.
So she started skipping lunch sometimes, because who really needs lunch anyways?
And her wrists became narrower inside her long sleeves.
She'd been wearing long sleeves since the fall, because it gets cold here early and people tend to worry about things that don't need worrying.

She was skipping breakfast sometimes, once winter came.
There was a boy at school who liked her a lot, and especially liked holding her.
And she liked him enough to be a little more hungry, if it meant being more perfect for him.
And she wrote poems in her notebook that had John Lennon on the cover, and drew butterflies on her wrists.
But the butterflies kept dying, and the poems never turned out just right.
She'd taken to crying a lot, but only when no one could see.

It was almost her birthday when the boy decided that he didn't really like her anymore.
Her body became a canvas covered in angry red marks.
She hid in her clothes because most people don't know how to appreciate art.
And she spit out her birthday cupcake when no one was looking, and fiver butterflies died that night.
And she couldn't see what the big deal about being 16 was.

The world started spinning but she just threw out her arms and spun the other way.
When she turned up her music loud enough she couldn't hear herself think, and that was the way she liked it to be.
And one day her ballet teacher caught her arm mid-arabesque, and rolled up the long, loose sleeve of her leotard, and told her she was there for her and that it was time to get help.
And the girl cried on the floor of her room that night, and drowned out her thoughts with some music, and decided she needed to cover her artwork better.

She was excellent at telling lies now, but the counselor saw through them all, and told her in a tender voice exactly how many other people had guessed her secret.
And therapy made her angry but her parents took away all her art tools, and all that was left was the canvas.
So she took to writing poems on the slope of her wrists and the arc of her thighs.
And when they finally broke her down and got through to her, she felt empty and new and strangely blank.
And she watched all the dead butterflies walk away and fly away from her.
And she thought that it sounded like music.

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