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the worst day

By , Farmington, NM

they look me in the eyes

all worry and anger
and I know they are not naive.

not anymore.

my hands shake
and my heart thumps
frantic rhythms against my chest.

their words are
harsh
           blunt
                     biting.

they waste no words
but i ramble on
nervously tugging on my sleeves

fear makes me dizzy
it encroaches upon my vision
a dark intruding mass

i fight it off.

they have evidence
so do i
but both condemn.

theirs is in pixels
in digits
in search history on a screen.

mine is in wounds
in cuts
in blood on pale skin.

theirs show the thought
mine shows the action
two stories no one wants told.

mom waves me over
to the side of the bed
trying to be calm.

but her hand jerks
her muscles tense
and the movement warns me.

"Pull up your sleeve."
an order.

i hesitate, hand wavering
frozen above my sleeve
my mind silently screaming.

then, in a decisive movement
my hand takes hold of the fabric
wrenching it off
leaving my skin bare.

though the arm doesn't seem
to be mine
my eyes cling to it

not wanting to look up
not wanting to see
my parents' expressions

of distress
                 disgust
                             and disappointment

though i cannot see their faces
those expressions
are all too clear.

so i keep my gaze down
staring at the lines
that i so neatly cut into my skin.

my father's voice
sounds different today
and i look up in surprise.

he's yelling
the sounds are unfamiliar
and hurt my ears.

my father almost never yells
mom says he bottles things up
that his anger is just aged sadness.

this knowledge
that i make him sad
saddens me too.

it cuts me deeper
than a razor ever could
hurting more than anything.

he says that i 
have branded myself
as a freak

forever.

and i know he's right
i am a freak
he doesn't need to say it.

i've known it forever
longer than he has
at least.

he's still yelling
slowly draining
the fermented sadness.

i try to ignore him
but it's so,
so difficult.

his words
are only echoes
of what my mind has told me.

still
hearing it from him
is worse, somehow.

mom's eyes are empty now
staring at me
like drained vessels

it almost hurts more
than dad's words
and i half wish she would scream.

her gaze makes me want
to curl up and
disappear.

it reminds me
of my exhaustion
i am so tired

tired of life
of knowledge
of myself

tired of everything.

finally the lecture
is over
and mom says i should eat.

dad stalks away
i'm handed a sandwich
but my hands and stomach tremble.

i tell her
that i can't eat
that can i please go to my room

and she says no
she says i can't be trusted
she says that i need the food.

so i push it away
bury my head in the blanket
and weep.

i think it's the longest
that i've ever cried 
which makes me cry more. 

once i'm done
once the cover is moist
and salty
i sit up.

the sandwich is gone
but dad is back
and i wish he weren't.

he has a test
on a computer
that he wants me to take.

the questions are personal
and i struggle to answer
because the truth hurts

it will hurt them too.

that's why i cut
instead of leave
because i never wanted that.

after an eternity
the test is over
the results are here.

i have clinical depression.

i wish i could say
that it was
a surprise. 

the funny thing is 
they are nicer to me
because of that news.

mom wraps my arms
in ace bandages
that i know will fall off

and it's awkward as hell
when she counts twenty cuts
and doesn't meet my eyes.

but then she leaves
and i'm finally alone
but the silence is deafening.

my eyes are drawn
to the door that i'm 
forbidden to close.

it makes my arms itch
and my eyes burn
and my heart throb.

so i tear my gaze away.

i collapse into bed
and attempt to suffocate myself
with a pillow.

it doesn't work
so i cry some more
quietly, so they won't hear.

and then i fall asleep.






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