Trigger Warning: Bullying
15th October 2013
The sounds of lockers clanked and slammed synchronously, holding my school shirt in front of me to hide my chest as I change to my sports uniform. I put on the oversized top over my head, hastily changing my school trousers to my sports one, and my school shoes to my sports trainers. I looked around me to see if anyone was staring, relieved to find nobodies eyes on me. Silently sitting down on the changing room benches and I waited for the sports teacher to come in to indicate the start of the lesson. “He cheated on me, I just found out before the lesson, I don’t know what to do with myself, it’s so embarrassing and hurtful,” a girl near me cried, sniffling and blowing her nose. She wasn’t loud nor was she whispering, she was loud enough where I was able to hear her from my seating position, a girl beside me snickering “shame,” as she laughed, her eyes somewhat gleeful about the girl’s current affairs with her boyfriend. Her friends circled around her, keeping her hidden from starving eyes and ears, muttering words of consolation “he was a prick anyways, he didn’t deserve you.”
“What a dickhead,” another passionately said.
“It’s okay, you got away, you’re lucky and now you know better. No boy is worth your tears Katie,” a girl muttered, placing her arm around her shoulder, the three of them feeding her words of positivity. At that moment the teacher came in with her whistle instructing us to go to the gym, following the crowd to the gym, the cool air prickling my skin. The girls in the class were in their own cliques, I didn’t speak to anyone in this class so, I walked towards the teacher and sat down near her, watching her look over the students, waiting for them to be silent so she can talk. I hate physical education with a passion, from the locker rooms, changing in front of the class even if they are minding their own business to actually participating in the class. I hate it all, surrounded by snarky girls who pass their times judging and putting down other girls, thinking they are above everyone.
“If anybody talks while I am talking, you’ll be staying after school for half an hour,” she strewed, her eyes razor focused on all of us. Miss Riley proceeded with telling us what we will be doing in class, conveniently at the same time the door creaked open with pool of boys from my year. My nerves went in an overdrive at the prospects of boys, having to deal with the magnitude of being around so many people who will surely see me make a fool of myself and pick on me like it’s their sport. To make matters worse, Miss Riley said that we will be doing trampolining, I didn’t look around me, I couldn’t, my body was immobilised, caving into my safe space, guarding myself from the atrocities another school day would bring. “Come on, go and stand around the trampoline, don’t talk,” she demanded, clapping her hands when people weren’t listening.
I stood up, keeping my face smooth with no lines and emotions and walked to the only free space “butters,” he said, my skin tingled from the unwanted attention, keeping my heart guarded. I turned towards the voice inherently, “ugly, you’re ugly,” he tantalised with contempt, demeaning me, his eyes dark and vicious. “Ugly, Kalina, look at you so butters, so ugly,” I didn’t react at this point, I was used to it, it was a visit I faced everyday but that didn’t stop the pinch in my heart and the tears surfacing. He called me words of savagery the moment he found out I had a crush on him, he was in my design technology class, his teacher called out “Zain,” as he did the register, he was talking to the boys in his table, glanced at me and smiled. It was a stupid crush and now the brutal words have been his greeting to me and his parting farewell whenever he saw me, he was still looking at me as I stood beside the trampoline, “ugly, so butters,” he disparaged, a boy beside him smacking his shoulder, snickering along with him. It was a pointless action to ignore him, hoping he would stop and leave me alone but it wasn’t working so, I did the thing that made sense. I took in the words targeted towards me and believed him, he has been repeating those words for four years, there will come a point where you believe words that are said to you even if they aren’t true. “Kalina so ugly.”
“I am ugly,” I believed, ignoring the looks from the girls, they heard and snickered along with him. I stepped on the stool, pushed my body up and over the trampoline, following the teacher’s instructions, jumping ten times, doing star jumps ten times and then brought my legs out as I landed on the bottom of the trampoline. The bounce pushed me up straight once I pulled my legs to a standing position, lifting me forward, I counted the minutes until class was over, dreading the next class, the next person, wanting this hell to be over.
The blackened space encased me, drowned me “ugly, look at your long hair, your hair and skin so oily, your skin so dark. Ew, look at your face, your nose, eyes and mouth. Kalina is so ugly,” the laughs pulsated through my body, the dark space intensified the shrill words which are becoming louder and louder. The vociferous sounds pierced my ears, the sharp sensation heightened with the raging voices. I instantly got up, my breath harsh, ears wet, eyes sensitive, the tears rolled down my face, soaking my skin, rolling down my neck and moistened my clothes, my hair sweaty and wet from the hot tears. The trembled lips, heavy heart, and ringing headache not halting the echoing words of the past, too far gone to stop it. I curled my body into my chest, pulled my legs up and bridged my face between my knees, hopelessly covering my ears, shutting my eyes closed in a failed attempt to stop the words. The cries of my body and hurt too strong to quiet the voices quaking in my head. “Stop, please stop. Stop, please stop,” I pleaded my body to listen, my tears stopped, my body halted their rocking movements, silently taking in the screaming words, listening as they cause mayhem inside my head, desperately reaching for something, anything I can hold onto.
My eyes instinctively closed as an image merged through the chaos, calming my frantic heart. I see him, his eyes on me, his body close to mine, his presence making me feel safe, embracing his acceptance of me. The two dimples that dug into his cheek, one was deeper than the other, the calmness of the vision washed over me, and stilled the erratic energy. “Ricardo,” I breathed, replacing the darkness with the likeness of his being, waiting in the dark for morning to come and for another day to start.
From the story in writing progress: Celestial Light.