All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Throwing It Into The Wind
It’s getting to the point where you can no longer count on your fingers how long ago it was. I have nine fingers up, my thumb bent, waiting another month to be fully extended.
Still, I can see it. I can still hear it, every scream, and every cry out into the darkness. I can even smell it. It still stays with me, hidden deep inside, pushed down over the years, hidden under fear, anxiety and anger.
I pretend like it doesn’t bother me. There are times, though, when I’ll be sitting on that hard, plastic chair connected to that hard, plastic desk, holding my hard, plastic pen, listening to my teacher babble when I’ll hear a word. Or I’ll see a picture.
My body detaches from me, and runs away, forgetting the rest of me. I am suddenly sitting there, invisible and alone. Sometimes I close my eyes, and I forget where I am. Sometimes, my breath becomes hot and heavy against my cupped hands. Sometimes, I forget how to breathe.
The nurse said I have panic attacks. She gave me a pamphlet and expected me to read it. She asked what triggered them. Then she told me to see the guidance councilor.
I never went. I always thought I could handle what happened myself. Alone inside me, I could handle anything. I was my own best friend.
One day, I was in home economics, and we were baking. A boy cut his hand with a butcher knife, and blood spilled all over. I knelt to the floor and cried hard, thick tears. A girl walked me up to the guidance office.
The room smelled like air freshener, and the desk was filled with small, textured objects and pictures of a little girl, teeth bared, smiling at me. I didn’t smile back.
She came in, the woman who was our guidance councilor. She asked me what was wrong, but I couldn’t hear anything come out of my throat. I touched the chair I was sitting in, feeling the soft texture against my palm. The woman looked at me and picked up the phone.
My father pulled up in his 2004 BMW, and took me home. I fell asleep on the couch.
The next day I was in a different office. This time, I was sitting on a fake leather couch, looking at the vanilla carpet. Across from me was another woman, with a softer smile and a gentler voice. She had blonde hair that fell to her shoulders, and wore a black jacket and dark jeans. She looked like she could be my mother.
I talked this time. When I stopped, I realized tears were dripping down my face. I realized my thumb was up. I realized it had been that long. She gave me a piece of paper and a pen, and told me to write.
I wrote the date, and I looked up again, with shaking hands. She nodded down at the paper, and I continued.
I wrote about the air, I felt the cold, frigid air on my skin. I smelled the cigarettes, the alcohol and the smoke from the fire all mix into one, horrid scent. I wrote about what I saw, the fire eating the house, glowing reds and oranges dancing in the darkness. I wrote about the man, hurting mother, the blood dripping from her head. I wrote about the sound of the gunshot, the laughter of the man, and the cries of the bystanders.
I handed her the paper, tears dripping down my face. I had felt so bad for the girl, so bad for her mother, for her family. I didn’t know what would happen to them.
She asked me why I was watching such a thing at only eleven years of age. I told her the school made us, I told her it was a unit on alcohol. I told her about how my teacher didn’t let me leave the room, how the screen had seemed so real, so alive. So real that I could touch and feel and smell everything.
She told me that helping me would take awhile, but I would get over it. She told me sometimes I would sit in classes and hear words that carried me to that place in my fifth grade classroom. But she also told me it didn’t have to.
I walked outside, the frigid air hitting me. I sat in my car for a few minutes, and then drove.
I drove to the lake a few miles from my house. I took the paper, and put it on the almost frozen water. I waited for a gust of wind to carry it away.
When I saw the paper dancing away on the water, I felt lighter. Different. Happier. Like the wind was carrying my memory away with it.