“Are you okay?”
These words burn through my bones
Like a forest fire,
And you barely managed to breathe them out.
A smile is forced from my lips,
The corners apathetically lifting.
”I’m fine,” I sigh.
Here comes the part
Where I fill in the blank
With one of my many excuses
I use to shield the truth.
Reality is much too painstaking.
”I’m just tired,” I might say.
And I was.
I spent the last few nights
Crying myself to sleep.
Only to awaken to the feel
Of congealed tears against my pale cheek.
Maybe I’ll mutter an “I’m just hungry,”
For this was also accurate.
I haven’t eaten anything besides
Cucumber slices and grapes
For the past week.
My stomach was growling uncontrollably,
A true monster being formed,
Devouring whatever was left of me.
I spit out one them,
Monotonously, like a robot
Trained to spew lies.
You stare at me for another moment,
Deep concern prominent in your chestnut brown eyes.
But you accept this anyway.
Even though we both know
It is not the truth.
What I really want to say is,
”No, I’m not okay.
Everyone’s better than me.
My self-esteem is drowning.
I have to laugh through the pain.
But when I arrive home,
I can remove the mask I wear throughout the school day.
Tears come cascading from my bloodshot eyes,
Leaving streaks of rivers on my blotchy face.
I’m not good enough.
I’m broken down inside.
No, I’m not okay.
And I need help.”
Of course, these words never depart from my mouth
As they weren’t even brought into existence
In the first place.
Maybe next time,
I tell myself.
Little did I know,
There wouldn’t be a next time.