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Sometimes I feel like I am drowning in a giant, unsurpassable bubble. I feel like I am so trapped and confined, so hopelessly lost.
My lungs are searing inside my chest in agony. My heart is choking out its last, final breaths. I am slowly losing consciousness…
I know I need air...
Outside there are people who impassively watch me. They are motionless as they stand there, so sympathetic but nobody moves to help. My eyes desperately plead with them, but they merely turn away and continue walking. I want to scream in frustration, but only bubbles of precious air grimly float out.
I push against the barrier, screaming and kicking. My palms pound against the surface of the bubble. Panic throws myself into wild pandemonium. My hands reach out, begging for help. Somebody help me. Anybody.
The world only walks on so, so sorry of me, but doing nothing. In the times I need so much help, there is nobody there to offer it. The last of my life drips slowly away from my soul and evaporates into pure emptiness. My throat closes up and my eyes burn of inexorable tears.
I feel myself sink to the bottom of the liquid. I give up. I cannot win in this cold world. There is not a soul in the world that would help me. I can be on the point of death— and there will be nobody there to help me.
Watch me scream.
And see how the world doesn’t care.
When I wake up, I like to pretend I can hear the crunch of eggshells cracking and the hiss of runny yolks dancing on a pan. I pretend I can smell the fluffiness of soft, scrambled eggs strewn with a pinch of salt, accompanied with a slice of toast. And I pretend my parents are down there, reading the newspaper, cooking, loving each other, loving me.
I like to pretend that the world is perfect and that everything is okay.
Instead I walk downstairs to find a worn down table with a loaf of bread hastily thrown upon it. I do not show my disappointment, because it is unreasonably selfish to cry over the golden days. We do not talk about those days in our family.
I open the bag and reach inside for a slice of bread. My elbows stick to the table when my fingers clasp onto a soft slice. I pull it out and bite mechanically.
Time is forming icicles in the morning. I am the one perturber of silence in my household. For forty gracious minutes I am in control. I am the creator of noise. I cause the crinkle of the bread bag. I cause the chair to groan under my weight.
For forty merciful minutes I actually have full control my life.
Then the ice thaws and I hear the roar of the bus coming. Once again I am under bondage and my life is chained up to a incorrigible, cold world. I grab my backpack and run outside to my bus stop. The street gutters burn my nose of acrid smells as I run. My feet stamp the yellow grass below me, obliterating it to dust. The manikin guy on my neighbor’s porch smiles at me. I make it on the bus just in time.
I deposit myself on the front seat and say nothing. I sit in complete silence. The bus bounces around the corner. Time winds backwards. Then time becomes nothing at all…
I remember the last time they started fighting. My mom was frustrated because she had to work so hard all Dad did was go to church. We were running out of money quickly. There were two kids in college, six other kids approaching college. My father was angry because my mom was never home. They were getting old, working like this was getting impossible.
And my little sister and I were hiding upstairs. We listened in bewilderment as they snapped at each other. My heart shattered into pieces one by one the more I heard them talk.
Wait. I can hear it again. Mom is talking.
And I hear the sounds crescendo into full out screams. Dad doesn’t care about Mom. Yes, he does. No, he doesn’t. He doesn’t work at all, and Mom has to drink and drink to pretend this world doesn’t exist. Then Dad gets angry and tells Mom that maybe he doesn’t care about her.
I close my eyes, wishing my dad would stop talking. Please stop… we still can be a happy family again. Just like a few years ago. Just stop.
Mom is speechless for minutes. The house hushes to listen what she has to say next. Life is still for the next few moments. I could not believe my dad would say that. My little sister chokes back a sob and is shaking at my thigh. Finally, when my mom speaks, it’s a whisper of three words that shattered my world.
“I hate you.”
My little sister stifles a scream as we consequently hear her collapse in anguish. The rest becomes a blur— my father is screaming on the telephone, the wail of the siren, and my little sister crying, crying over my mom.
And I had fainted through the whole thing.
I stopped going to Mass from that moment on. My dad took my family there but when he went to help with the church services, I would run away and ditch. I would walk around the neighborhood, maybe pick out a weed. Maybe stretch and squeeze the life out of it until its juice dribbles down my wrists.
So what? It probably didn’t really hurt as much as my heart.
God had abandoned us. We should have known that ever since my mom had to work all the time, when we lost all our money and when we lost everything.
God abandoned us. He doesn’t care.
There is nobody in this world I can trust. There is no hope or faith in this place. All of it is meaningless, empty lies.
Lunchtime used to be my easy cover for life. I used to have my friends always with me to talk and laugh with. We could smile and not care about our pasts. But here, there is nobody. I wish I had ruby slippers to take me over the rainbow and back to the place I called home.
Here I sit alone. There is nobody I can confess and pour out what was going with me. My only panacea to my life was revoked from me and because of that, I am lost.
I force food down my throat and try to oust the noises from my ears. I see a girl heading towards me. What was she doing here? She belongs to the other table.
Her name is Rachel, I think. She is pretty. She smiles down at me and says hi. I nod in response to the salutations.
“Do you want to sit with us, Angel? We have a few classes with you. We think you’re nice.”
You mean you want to take me to your friends, and I have no objection to it.
I reluctantly follow Rachel to her table, where all the other girls are waiting.
“Hi,” they chorus.
It takes off from there. We talk and laugh and my face starts tearing up when one of them says something so ridiculous. We laugh irresistibly. We exchange numbers. I haven’t felt this happy in so long, laughter almost seems foreign to me. I have made friends.
Then one of girls drop her phone on a puddle of ketchup and lets loose a string of profanity. I stop laughing. What?
But then the lunch bell rings, and I try to forget what she said… because they were my friends. I think.
On Friday, Rachel invited me to a sleepover. It was only then when they really showed who they were. We were talking and settling into our sleeping bags, when finally somebody decides to turn off the lights. It is pitch dark in the room, and I almost feel like I am back into my bubble again when one of them blurts, “Angel, have you ever had sex before?”
I froze. Wait... what?
“Well, have you?” they demand.
“Of course not,” I mutter.
“Why? Are you scared?”
“No!” My cheeks burn and I feel sleeping bag grow hot.
But the girls continue talking. “We can hook you up with a boy. There’s a senior that’s looking for somebody. I mean, we’ve all had our first time… you need the experience.”
I feel like I am going to throw up.
“I don’t want to,” I whisper. “I think I need to go now.”
On my way out, Rachel’s hand grabs my foot. I gasp and almost trip over her. Rachel calls after me, “Going so soon? We’ve only just started!”
I came home completely unsatisfied and horrified at my friends. My body fell into an ecstatic state through utter confusion and fatigue. Below my legs are mechanically alternating feet. Left, right. Left, right.
I carried myself to my house and didn’t realize it until I arrived at my room. My bedsheets uncurled themselves and accepted me. Before I slipped out of consciousness, I desperately tried to pull on the one string of thought, Who were these people?
When I came to school the next morning, my locker was waiting with a bright yellow sticky note carelessly plastered on it. Curious, my fingernails peel the sticky note off the locker.
Somebody had scribbled with bright red gel pen, “Angel is a s***!”
My eyes widened upon reading the note. I feel my breath stop short.
I dropped the sticky note. My head became suddenly dizzy. Every time I replayed the image of the senior boy brushing his hand up my back, I felt like throwing up.
That is so disgusting.
I felt myself fall to my knees, bent over with my hands clasped onto my mouth. My stomach lurched and was on the point of throwing up. Somebody had struck me with enough pain to fully degrade me emotionally, physically, and mentally. Somebody in this school hated me to the point where they would call me something like this...
I know that voice. She did it—I can tell. My eyes float up to their target and my heart plummets when I see it’s Rachel.
It can’t be true.
“Did you like your present?” she sneers, twirling her glittery red gel pen in her hand. Her flawless face beams infallibly free of imperfections and silently declares itself to be the epitome for all girls. That beautiful face was my friend. I thought Rachel was my friend.
I barely managed to croak out, “Why?”
Rachel flashes her sparkling white teeth at me. “Oh, you don’t like that word?” She leaned in closer to me until I could smell her breath. “You left the party yesterday. Do you have something to say? You s***.”
I say nothing.
Rachel’s grin smiles even wider. “You really don’t like that word, do you?”
I turn away, whispering, “No.”
“Oh?” Rachel crouches down and hisses into my ear, “S***. S***. You’re a s***, Angel. Come on, say it.”
A crowd begins to gather around me and they point and whisper. They think I am a s***. They tell me to get the hell out of this place.
I feel my moral boundaries ripping in two, a deep, abysmal chasm opened up in the rift. I was torn apart and confused and betrayed. She had backstabbed me, embarrassed me, degraded me.
And to think I seriously believed Rachel was my friend.
“You know what I think you are?” sneers Rachel, grabbing my arm and engraving one painful word. “I think you’re nothing but a stupid, little b****.
Rachel’s laughter echoed in my ears as I bolted across the hall, out the cafeteria, out the main lobby, out the doors back into my bedroom where I started.
I was so stupid. I tried to convince myself that I was not a s***. I was not a b****. I viciously pulled my pillow to my face and screamed. My sobs and tears soaked my pillow down to my shirt. I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t.
But who would believe me? Who would even talk to me?
I clawed my throat and tried to squeeze the life out of myself. I was so frustrated and hurt at myself for letting myself trust Rachel so easily. I was so extremely clueless and so stupid. I wanted to tear out my throat. My life had fallen apart, and every second I continued to live, it was getting worse.
My fingernails dug deeper and deeper under my skin, ripping out my flesh. I am alone in this world. Nobody likes me. Nobody loves me.
I am a stupid, fat, ugly, disgusting, worthless s***. My parents stopped caring about me a long time ago. God has turned a blind eye on us and let us suffer to the point of severe depression.
I am forgotten. Nobody knows me; nobody cares about me.
I dug deeper in my throat, and I choked— but it was alright. This pain meant nothing. This pain is nothing.
Black holes opened in front of my eyes. I dug deeper, harder, and I felt such excruciating pain. As I opened my gash farther, the black hole got bigger. I started to lose consciousness, but I fought myself until my duty was done.
Almost, I thought. I am almost free.
And when I can see nothing but the black hole, I know I am completely free. I’ll know that I have won.
My name is Angel.
I am a stupid, fat, ugly, disgusting, worthless nobody.
My mom got out of the hospital a few months ago from a severe attack on her health. We are completely out of money.
We moved here to the low income neighborhood so it would be easier.
And if I could have one wish, it would be to have one pair of red ruby slippers, so I could maybe see my friends once again, somewhere over the rainbow.