Authors: Maria Ann Green
Make their way
To the surface
With little pin pricks
Small cracks form
In that perfectly crafted mask
The brave face waivers
And that is all it takes
My bleeding heart
Is not alone with yours
Two different people
Two different worlds
In a world of broken hearts
Love me once
And hate me twice
You come to save me
And leave me in the cold
My heart can't mend
Therefore it's broken
I'm alone in a world
Of broken hearts
I just want to forget
Push it back
Drown it out
Take it out of my mind
Can't I wish it away
Pretend it never happened
Won't think about it once more
I just want to forget
The truth is I love you
But the truth is I can't
The truth is you're happy
But the truth is I'm not
The truth is I can't love you
Until I love myself
And right now the truth is
Meagan sat quietly in English class pretending to read. But her eyes just scanned over the words, and every few moments she would turn a page. Mindlessly.
She moved as if on autopilot. Neither thought process nor effort was needed. Her motor functions could be on one track and her thoughts on another. It was a skill she'd perfected. As her hands flicked through character development and plot she cared little about, her mind roamed effortlessly from one unsatisfying idea to another, without landing anywhere in particular.
She let her eyes wander from the forgotten pages to the window where she cringed at the intensity of the sunshine. What a waste of energy the sun expensed. No one cared for sunshine. It illuminated every flaw and insecurity to an unmistakable high definition.
The sun was arrogant and annoying, just like so many of the people Meagan was forced to deal with. That sun and her peers were fake and unfeeling. They were imposters who pushed their horrible attitudes onto everyone they came into contact with. And the sun, when it shone onto these people Meagan was forced to call classmates, just highlighted their numerous drawbacks.
She became increasingly disgusted with those surrounding her as the days dragged slowly on. Meagan had never wished so hard for winter break as she did right now. Time away was necessary; she needed to be alone in order to appreciate others again.
As her mind switched tracks again, Meagan wondered,
why do we even have time to read in class? Can't everyone just do their crap at home?
Her thoughts moved from disengaged boredom to fury in an instant. That seemed to happen easily now. She could feel her mood swinging faster, but she didn't care to do anything to prevent or change it.
When she was thinking rationally, she understood these individuals surrounding her were not so bad. Generally her peers weren't intentionally being malicious. They were just growing into their personalities and learning to navigate the world as Meagan was. She knew this deep down, but in moments of moodiness such as this, she easily forgot and instead chalked it up to crabbiness.
With the same annoyance, she glared around at the classmates she knew to be lazy.
Her reproachful eyes roamed from person to person, taking much more notice of the individuals than she had in the English assignment tasked to her.
Most students were slowly turning pages, probably reading, though she couldn't be sure as she was still flipping through the novel herself, faking it. Others were simply trying not to fall asleep. She stopped on a particular girl who was fidgeting more than others. Meagan couldn't think of her name, but in a big school that wasn't too odd. There were plenty of classmates she had never and would never meet.
Mystery girl was jiggling her foot back and forth at a speed that would take a lot of practice to achieve. There was something off about mystery girl though, and Meagan studied her in an attempt to put her finger on what that was.
Her hair was brushed, her clothes were in style and fit well, her face was pretty. But honestly, mystery girl was somewhat average and could easily get lost in a crowd; she could be anyone, in any school, a hundred times over. She appeared normal, and quickly Meagan was second-guessing her initial assessment that something was wrong with her.
Then she saw it. And instantly she wished she hadn't, yet Meagan couldn't look away. She watched with her heart in her throat on the precipice of having a violent reaction. But her eyes remained glued.
Mystery girl wasn't just fidgeting for fidget's sake. Mystery girl was cutting herself.
In the classroom during reading time.
In the daylight.
In front of anyone who chose to notice.
But Meagan seemed to be the only person to see it.
She sat powerless and watched mystery girl, who had her forearm poised above the spiral of her notebook. Every few moments she would rub it against the jagged edge of metal that stuck out at the end of the spiral. Meagan could see several drops of fiery blood, staining the edge of mystery girl's desk. She didn't wipe it up. She just left it, as if it were a badge of honor or accomplishment.
Meagan felt sick to her stomach. Vomit threatened to rise in her throat, and she worried she might lose her lunch right in the middle of English class.
She had to gulp down a gasp as she continued to watch the self-destructive action take place in the middle of the silent room. She heard pages being flipped, several sniffles or coughs from other students, and the beats of the clock as it kept time. But she couldn't focus on anything as this hurting soul dug into her tender skin, tearing it open as she sat and read her English assignment.
She shifted from feeling sick, to feeling as if she was going to begin sobbing here in front of the people she most hid her true self from. She had never witnessed the act by anyone other than herself. It felt as if she was peeping into a private event, one she never anticipated seeing.
Though Meagan was the voyeur, she felt vulnerable and exposed as she observed such a personal scene.
She had yet to look away.
Meagan's heart began to break for mystery girl, someone she knew absolutely nothing about. She couldn't stop the rush of questions that began racing through her mind.
What did she suffer through outside of the school walls that forced cutting as an option?
Did she cry herself to sleep at night?
Did she feel as if she was breathing in thick black smoke that numbed her to so much of what she used to love?
Did she feel as if she had lost the life she once thought she would have?
Did she hurt herself in anticipation of ending her life?
Did she have friends who understood?
Did she ever plan to stop?
Could she be helped?
There were so many questions Meagan wanted to ask this girl, whose name she didn't even know. And she began to wonder if she had ever been callous to mystery girl in some encounter she didn't remember. She genuinely hoped she had never contributed to this girl's obviously intense pain.
The bell that signified the end of the period shocked Meagan back into the here and now. She sucked in a sharp breath as the loud and unexpected noise startled her. Struggling to put her papers away as quickly as she could, Meagan wanted to introduce herself to mystery girl. She hoped to connect with her, maybe even make a new friend who could understand her.
She wanted to help if she could. She wanted to be someone who made others feel better, even if she wasn't doing that for herself.
“Now tonight's assignment is to finish through chapter ten. We will have a discussion tomorrow that everyone needs to participate in.” Meagan's teacher struggled to yell over the hustle of students leaving her class.
Meagan pulled her gaze up, ready to leave the room in pursuit of mystery girl, but she was already gone. She'd snuck out as if she'd never been there, as if Meagan had imagined everything she had seen.
Her heart sank, and her stomach lurched. She felt sick again. What if she never came back to class? What if Meagan's opportunity to save someone was lost? How could she deal with that?
She went out into the hall, and she lost what little hope she had had left. She couldn't find mystery girl anywhere in the sea of students.
She had failed mystery girl and herself. For that, Meagan was incredibly disappointed.
At home, after the day's jarring experience in English, she began to think deeper about the consequences and motivations behind her actions. How would someone else feel if they witnessed Meagan scratching or cutting her own skin?
And finally, after holding the sorrow and confusion buried deep throughout the entire day, she began to cry. She let out every fear through painful sobs and cold tears. She cried for herself and the emotions that suffocated her. She cried for the life she used to have and worried she would never have again. She cried for the enthusiasm she had lost. She cried for mystery girl and the sorrow she must struggle through as well.
Meagan cried until she thought she could no longer cry, and eventually she cried herself to sleep.
She didn't sleep well, but she'd sworn to herself while on the precipice of falling, she would make contact with mystery girl tomorrow. She would help someone who needed help if she could.
No one needed to suffer like her.
A candle burns inside me
And today it just burned out
And now I'm all alone inside
I lost the only thing I had
No one understands me
And no one loves me either
And with the candle
Went my hope
And the desire to continue on
Now that candle's dead
I wish I could be too
I'd kill myself if I thought it'd help
But then I'd just hurt the ones I love
And I couldn't live with that
I'd never be able
Hurting anyone but myself
The tears flow from my eyes
Like rain from the sky
They make their way from places of pain
And places of fear
It hurts to cry
But it hurts more to hide
I can only run from the tears
For so long
Something to hide
A little cut here
Makes for more pain
Everlasting cycle of shame
Meagan's fist went sailing through the air. Who knew what she was aiming for or why she felt the need to swing. She was mad. She was seething. She was bursting with frustration. But they didn't have a purpose. There was no home for her negativity. It all came from nowhere and burst from Meagan at inappropriate times.
Luckily she didn't hit anything other than wood and drywall. That would have had more backlash than she'd wanted. She would feel guilty forever if she mistakenly hit her sister.
“This is stupid! You're stupid!”
Meagan's face heated as she screamed. Her sister hadn't done anything truly wrong. Her biggest mistake was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“Why are you always so mad?” Sapphire yelled back, but she just did it to keep on level ground. It came from a place of competition instead of anger.
It caught Meagan off guard to be asked why she felt what she was feeling. Anger, depression, fear, they all seemed to come from nowhere. And when they passed, she was left with black nothingness. The empty void was worse.
Why was Meagan mad? She didn't even know. She'd been sinking deeper into her pit of quicksand all day. When it grabbed her, she couldn't get free, and the harder she struggled, the worse she felt. Sometimes it seemed like she was being punished for trying to feel better.
All she knew was when she was mad, at least she was feeling, so regardless of the reason, she went with her anger.
“Because I just am.” She paused, but when Sapphire opened her mouth, she shot out more explanation. It felt good to interrupt her. “Because I have idiots all around me. Because I
to be mad.”
“I'm not an idiot, and I'm not stupid. You are! You're stupid for being mad all the time for no reason.”
Sapphire had had enough, and she stomped off to her own space where Meagan wouldn't have the chance to lash out. She made sure to slam her bedroom door as a period to the pointless conversation.
After following suit by slamming the bathroom door, and hopping into a steaming shower, Meagan began to calm down. She went over and over the encounter with her sister, agonizing over her crazy reaction. When Meagan made a mistake it was hard to let it go, sometimes it felt impossible. The broken record of her misconduct played on repeat for hours after any incident. She could see the images, playing again and again in her mind, and she longed to hit stop. But she couldn't. Instead she would analyze the situation until she was blue in the face, and still couldn't change it.
But even knowing it was futile didn't help her stop the obsessive tendency.
The same happened after cutting sometimes. She'd be in class, thinking about how it had felt physically and emotionally. She thought about how her skin had appeared, and how she'd felt different afterward. She'd think about it until she forced herself to need it again that evening.
Usually she didn't need to scratch too often, unless she was pushed to the breaking point, or if she thought too much about the itch.
Why had Meagan flipped out on Sapphire? She didn't deserve it, not at all. Why couldn't she just contain her outbursts? She didn't want to have these issues. Couldn't she just have regular emotions instead of outlandish followed by flatness?
She just wanted to be like everyone else.
Slowly the warm water washed away Meagan's rage and left her with remorse. Sapphire didn't deserve being called names. All she'd done was trip over her bag. She hadn't even broken anything. Meagan knew she needed to apologize, so after her shower, she knocked softly on Sapphire's door.
“Can I come in?”
Sapphire didn't usually let things go immediately. Not that she had to, but Meagan would feel guilty until she was forgiven.
“I just wanted to say I'm sorry.” Meagan mumbled, but she knew Sapphire had heard.
“You should be.”
And Meagan shuffled to her bedroom, quietly wishing she could be someone else.
“Meagan will you
come up for dinner?”
That was the fourth time her dad had yelled down the stairs. She wasn't hungry, but he wasn't going to let her skip the meal.
“Fine,” she yelled back.
She could've just gone upstairs without sounding put out about it, but she didn't.
When she reached the kitchen, Meagan was greeted with a dinner she didn't like and an already hostile environment. Sapphire was still annoyed, and her mom was definitely crabby. She could just feel this wouldn't be a good meal. And to make matters worse, she let out a sigh as she sat on her chair.
“Sorry.” The sass in her tone felt unavoidable.
“Don't talk to your mother like that.”
“Like what?” She knew she was just being difficult, but she pressed on.
. Like you are the queen of this house, and you can talk down to anyone you please. Well, you can't, Meagan. You need to grow up.”
Again she flared red.
“Seriously? Grow up? You need to not be a jerk.”
Meagan knew how to push buttons. She didn't even mean to every time it happened, but somehow when she started, there was no stopping. It was like running down a hill; even if you fell, you kept heading toward the bottom.
Meagan just glared at her father. She could take anything he dished out to her. She usually gave herself worse when she was alone anyway. He had no idea.
“You're grounded. Two weeks, or until you can learn to respect your family, whichever comes first.”
Even though she had asked for it, encouraged it, anger shot through her veins when the punishment fell on her head.
“That's not fair!” And she started to cry. Fat, warm, angry tears fell.
“If you want fair, you have to treat everyone else fairly first.”
“I hate you!” Her face pinched and flushed as she stood to yell. She didn't care that her breath was sharp from the tears caught in her throat. She was furious, and like earlier with Sapphire, she only wanted to feel. Her reaction was instinctual.
“I think dinner is over for you. Go to your room.”
Meagan stomped every step to her room, all fifty-eight, and slammed her door when she got there.
The metal felt good against her skin in comparison to her overheated outbursts. She had never wanted to do this in reaction to her family. Blame was never supposed to be felt by anyone but herself, but here she was breaking her own rule.
Here she was being a horrible daughter, sister, family member.
Here she was failing again.
Here she was caving into temptation for the easy fix.
Here she was making another mistake.
When it started to hurt too much, she stopped. After taking three deep breaths, in, pausing to hold it inside before letting go, out, she felt like she had pressed reset. Everything felt new, clean, and fresh now. So she let go of every tear as if it hadn't been shed. She let go of the red she saw. She just let it all float up and away.
With so much gone she was feeling nothing. But right now, nothing felt good for once, instead of empty. Nothing was a relief after too much feeling today.