Copyright Kathryn Perez (2012)
For review purposes only. Any other use is a violation of copyright law.
By Kathryn Vance-Perez
The blood runs down my stomach and, I close my eyes letting the pain ooze out with it. This is what I need, what I crave. Otherwise I’m numb, feeling nothing. The pain and depression stays suppressed until I can release it. It gives me a high and a rush that I need every morning before I go to school. I know when I walk through those doors of Edmond High School every day that I have to flip a switch inside and turn it all off just to make it through the day. My mom drinks coffee with a shot of liquor to start her day, I need a razor blade cutting through my flesh.
I shove my notebook into my book bag and mentally prepare for another day of dodging Elizabeth Myers and her posse of mean girls. Some days I wish I could just meet them all somewhere and let them beat the hell out me, spit all of their venom my way, then be done with it. If I knew it would make it stop I would do it in a minute. My senior year of high school had barely begun and I'm already counting down the days for it to end. For the past three years I've endured the wrath of these girls, and it’s imprisoned me. I look forward to some normalcy. It’s been so long since I felt normal that when I finally do feel it, it will probably feel abnormal. I just want it to end. Every day I pray that it will be the day they forget about me. They never do. I do everything I can to keep attention away from myself in order to avoid their radar. It's always pointless because Elizabeth is merciless. I've never understood how a girl that's so beautiful on the outside can be so ugly and evil on the inside. How all of her admirers can't see her for what she really is will forever be a mystery to me. But I know better than anyone how easy it can be to fool people and hide your darkest secrets on the inside. I do it every day.
I head into first period English and sit at the back of the classroom like I always do. I shuffle through my book bag and get my notebook out just as I hear them. The banter is unmistakable.
“Oh my God Hailey, did you see him this weekend? Jace was on fire in the game, although he usually always is. I rewarded him properly afterwards then he was really on fire.”
The posse giggles as Elizabeth goes on about her boyfriend and football quarterback Jace Collins. They were the “it couple” around the school. Jace was Mr. Popular and of course Elizabeth was Ms. Popular. What he saw in her I had now idea, well aside from her long, luxurious blonde hair, perfect skin, perfect body, and ocean-blue eyes. But she radiated “bitch” regardless of her appearance. Elizabeth glances back at me as she takes her seat.
“So Jessica, how much slutting around did you do this weekend? Go to any rainbow parties? How many guys got between your legs in the past two days? Huh?” she smirks.
I dart my eyes down towards my notebook and refuse to engage her.Trying to take up for myself only makes it worse. My long black hair fell down around my face creating a curtain of defenses. I doodle aimlessly on my notebook ignoring all of her comments. Something hit my arm and fell onto my desk, then again and again. I look up and Elizabeth is laughing as Hailey, her partner in crime, balled up another tiny piece of paper. I rolled my eyes at them and looked back down at my notebook shoving the pieces of paper onto the floor.
“Wow Jessica, it must really suck to be you. How do you just sit there and let people treat you so shitty? Are you really that weak, or are you just exhausted from blowing guys all weekend? You do know they only pay you any attention because you put out right? They don’t actually like you.” She scoffs.
“Yeah, I know Elizabeth. Thanks for the memo.” I retort.
She turns around mumbling something about what a skank I am just as Jace walks in and sits down beside her. Hailey flicks another balled up piece of paper at me, and he scrunches up his eyebrows glaring at her. She grins at him and shrugs her shoulders innocently.
“Hailey don’t be such a bitch. Stop picking on people, it’s mean.” He said in an obviously irritated tone.
“Jace Collins, don’t talk to my best friend like that! Hailey is only warding off the infestation of STD’s sitting behind us.” Elizabeth hisses.
He looks back at me and mouths the word sorry. I don’t reply in any way; no expression, no all-knowing look, just nothing. Jace is the epitome of male perfection with his sandy blond hair and crystal clear blue eyes. He always has a little stubble from not shaving and totally has a Paul Walker look going on about himself. He’s toned and muscular but not in a bulky way, and he’s nearly six feet tall. He’s the star of the Edmond football team, on the track team, plays on the baseball team, and is on the male swim team. He’s a super jock and pretty much has a clear-cut future with an athletic scholarship to a major university. The only reason I think he is ever nice to me is because I am on the girls swim team. I steered clear of all team sports for the most part, and I was definitely a loner. I have been competitively swimming for four years now, and it is pretty much the only thing that I really enjoy. School is a means to an end for me, and I can’t wait for it to be over. This place is nothing but a daily prison to me.
After English class we all file out, I walk slowly allowing Elizabeth to exit first and hopefully forget that I am behind her. I make my way to my locker only to find notes taped to it reading SLUT along with other expletives in big bold letters. I rip the papers off quickly just before Elizabeth walks by, shouldering me into the metal lockers.
“Oh excuse me Jessica, I didn’t see you.You should wear a slut warning sign letting the rest of us know you are there!” She laughs as her posse surrounds me.
I look to the floor and shut it all out. This is how I deal with her and all of them. I lockdown, shut it out, and wait for it to be over. She flicks a strand of my hair from my face and starts with the threats.
“We all know you slept with Harrison this weekend, and you know that Hailey has been seeing him for quite a while. Did you really think you could keep that from us? Huh?” She demands. “You better keep your skank-ass away from him, do you understand me Jessica? He doesn’t want you, none of them want you! You are pathetic and disgusting. If you weren’t an easy piece of ass none of them would ever give you the time of day.” She slaps her hand on my locker merely inches from the side of my face and whispers.
“Don’t you ever just think about ending it, spare us all the repulsion of looking at you every day?” She glares at me as my eyes dart back and forth looking for an out. Then I hear his voice and Elizabeth turns away from me in his direction.
“Liz leave her alone already! You’re going to be late for class anyway. Let whatever it is go.” He murmurs, gesturing for her to make her way to second period.
“Remember what I said skank.” She exclaims as she struts off down the hallway.
I look up to see that Jace is still standing there looking at me, hands shoved into his jean pockets. I feel vulnerable and embarrassed. Why is he standing here causing this awkward silent moment to happen? I look away nervously and turn back to my locker opening it quickly.
“Hey Jessica, I’m sorry about Liz and her tribe of brats.” He says as I rustle through my locker stalling so I don’t have to turn around and make eye contact with him.
“Are you ready for swim this year? I hope we kick ass like last year.” He says and I wonder why he’s trying to carry on a casual conversation with me. The bell rings, now I’m definitely late for second period. I spin around facing him.
“Thanks Jace and yeah I’m ready for swim team.” I mutter. His mouth turns up into a grin and he walks in the opposite direction.
What was that all about? If Elizabeth saw him carrying on a full blown conversation with me she would go ape shit. I was like the plague around here, and the star quarterback talking to me was definitely not a good idea for him or me.
The day moves at an arduous pace, and I continue to avoid Elizabeth for the remainder of the day. I’m not sure what’s worse; this prison of a school and the way I seem to be the butt of everyone’s jokes, or home where I am invisible to everyone. I go to my car and drive home blasting Seether from my speakers. I wonder what kind of day mom will be having today. She’ll either be drunk or be Martha Stewart, it’s a 50/50 chance I will get Martha every day. I stopped caring one way or another a long time ago. When she’s not drunk she tries too hard and it’s smothering. She just overcompensates for her lack of parenting on the days she’s liquored up. I pull in the drive and see her sitting on the porch smoking a cigarette and holding a glass of wine. Drunk day today.
“Hi mom.” I say hurriedly as I walk past her.
“Hi sweetie, how wassss your day.” She slurs.
“Great Mom. It was great!” I say lying straight through my teeth because telling her the truth would be pointless.
I went on inside towards my room. After slamming and locking my door, I reached over and pulled out my hidden box of razors, alcohol swabs, ointment, and bandages. I flipped my iPod docking station on and fell down onto my bed. I pulled up my shirt and unbuttoned my jeans, pulling them down just barely enough to expose the cut from this morning. I had to be really careful to not let them get infected so I cleaned and bandaged them daily. It was a typical routine for me. I knew I would soon have to put on a normal happy face for when Dad came home. Not that he really paid me any attention at all, but I always felt like he had me under a microscope looking for any imperfection or mistake. I did my best to avoid him like everyone else in my life.The weekends were the only time I socialized and that usually always involved guys. I snuck out every weekend at night and cruised the back roads with whatever guy I was seeing at the time, which changed often. I was always too clingy, and they always ran scared after they got what they wanted from me. Sex was a way for me to connect; to feel something. I guess sex equals love for me since I really have no idea what love should really feel like. It’s my version of love and it fills a void so I continue the viscous cycle of sleeping with every guy I go out with.
After cleaning up my cut, I place a bandage on it and button my pants back up. I place the box of items back in my nightstand and pull out my journal. My journal is the only place I can be me. I rarely understand why I feel the way I feel every day, and writing is my only true form of expression without the fear of judgment. If anyone ever read my journal I am positive I would be committed to a crazy house. I pull the cap off of the pen with my teeth and chew on it anxiously as I write.
You only know the mask I wear
Who am I?
Do I even know?
I either love or I hate
When I want to hold on I claw instead
No sense of purpose
Eyes that are dead
Regret and rejection I swallow down
I just want someone to love me
Emotional pain creeps all around
When someone hurts me it’s hurts forever
Be. Me. For. A. Day.
Let me walk beside you
Let me look over
See the me you see
Then you can walk beside me
See the you that I see
I’ll keep filling the hole in my soul with I O U’s
While you keep filling it with I hate you’s
I shut my journal and text Harrison. We had a good time this past weekend no matter what Elizabeth has to say about it. Having someone makes me feel happy even if it’s always short-lived.
Me: Hey I had fun the other night. You want to hang out this weekend?
He texts right back and I smile inside.
Harrison: Hey babe. Yeah I had a blast with you. You really know how to show a guy a good time! I’m not sure about this weekend. Jace and the guys invited me out. It’s just some sort of guy’s night out thing. But I’ll catch you some other time ;)
My inside smile fades and I instantly feel rejected. I want him to want to be with me, not the guys. Why does this always happen? Why do I need them so badly, want them so badly? It’s always the same. Every guy I date I feel consumed by them with some sort of freakish need. I know it’s not normal but I can’t make it stop. In the end it either pushes them away or causes me to go off on an emotionally charged rant towards them. The result is always me screaming about how much I hate them and how I never want to see them again. I regret it every time, but the cycle is nevertheless on repeat.
This is me, Jessica Alexander. My life. My personal hell.
Copyright Kathryn Perez (2012)
For review purposes only. Any other use is a violation of copyright law.