In study hall, I was reading my Into The Woods script, trying to memorize song lines because the show was coming up. November 19th was weeks away, but it seemed as if it were tomorrow. Practices were full of performing known scenes in the newly constructed choir room and songs were struggled through in the small ensemble room. Memorizing was definitely something I needed to begin, but each time I tried to think of a song in my head, two of the ninth grade boys near me kept distracting me with their conversation topic. They were sitting across from me, conversing about their past girlfriends.
Austin and Shaun talked profusely about the activities their past significant others had chosen to participate in, including suicidal thoughts and self harm. In my opinion, self harm and suicidal thoughts are no joke, but these two young boys thought the matter was anything but serious. “Yeah,” Shaun said, laughing. ““Every night we would text, right? And she’d tell me something about her being all depressed and crap, and finally I told her that I was gonna break up with her because I just can’t handle that crap. Enough is enough. ” “Oh, dude, seriously? replied Austin with a big, goofy smile. This was one of his favorite topics, as after he said, “I love talking about this stuff. It’s just so fun. “|| hated that he found this topic amusing. “Yeah. Anyway, the next day she told me she was going to kill herself and that she had cut again, but she can for all I care. I never even liked her that much. Now I’m going out with some other chick”. Shaun answered proudly, wearing a grin. “She’s so much hotter than my last girlfriends. ” Come on, I thought, a fire starting in my chest. Are you kidding me?
After hearing this, I decided I had had enough. Each and every day this had gone on. School had been in session for over a month now, and every time I had walked into the study hall room, most of the sentences that had come out of their mouths had been along the lines of “Just kill yourself already,” “Nobody likes you,” “Crap, I’m so depressed,” and “Did you know [insert name here] cuts? ” along with many inappropriate jokes about other different matters. Name calling, teasing, and intrusion of personal space occurred each day, and I was sick of it.
Day after day a spark struck in my chest, and today the flame received enough sparks to grow. Trying to forget about the conversation, I pinched my fingers and hummed quietly to myself. The words from Into The Woods popped into my mind like pop-art, each word and letter a different size, color, and font. Into the woods without delay, but careful not to lose the way. Into the woods who knows what may be lurking on the journey… A few minutes before the fourth hour bell rang to dismiss the study hall students, Shaun approached me, interrupting my memorizing of lines.
He was laughing to himself and suspiciously looked back to where Austin was sitting every few seconds, but I ignored him and kept my head down, eyes on the printed words in the Into The Woods script. Even after my ignoring his presence, he continued to stand in front of my desk, and I hesitantly decided to look up at him. “Yes? ” I asked with caution, but I secretly hoped he would walk away without saying a word. I was not in the mood for one of his disgusting, vicious attacks. “Grace,” he began to ask, “do you cut? ” My eyes flickered to my wrists, then to his, then to his face.
I wanted to scream in that face. Memories flooded my mind. I saw the bullies in grade school who always stood next to the slide, ready to pounce on anyone who looked fearful. I saw second grade me, hiding in the church’s nursery room because was afraid my dad would be upset with me for not memorizing my Bible verse for AWANA. I saw ten year old me, hiding in the nurse’s office because I was too afraid of my new third grade teacher. I saw fifth grade me, hiding underneath the handlebar course on the playground because I did not want the other students to know I was crying.
I saw eighth grade me with Mom in Dad’s office, tears in her eyes, then again in the doctor’s office, only now the tears were in my eyes. My eyes burned a hole in his forehead, smack dab in the middle of his eyes, right above his nose. He began to look uncomfortable, but I did not care; I needed to calm down. I was not about to explode in front of everyone, for they would think I was being silly for becoming upset over such a small, silly matter. Finally, I settled with a short, ten word answer.
“That is not a question you should be asking people. At first he looked like he was somewhat sorry after hearing my response, and for a moment I thought he noticed my adverting eyes, but those thoughts quickly diminished after he laughed fairly loudly and spoke to no one in particular, “So you do? Oh my god. ” He stopped to catch his breath, then continued. “Austin, come here! ” He beckoned Austin with the flick of his hand. “What? ” Austin answered, annoyed. “I was playing Agar. io. I was doing good, too. ” Shaun did not care and pointed next to him.
Austin moved and stood on that invisible point, waiting like a lost puppy dog for his directions. “I just asked Grace if she cut, and she said, ‘That’s not something you should be asking people. ” As he repeated my words, he made his lower pitched voice higher to mock my own. His words pierced my being, somehow sharper than a knife. The two boys laughed mechanically together, but not until after Austin said, “I can’t wait to tell everyone. ” My heart skipped a beat before returning to its usual rhythm. Is he really going to tell everyone?
He does not even know if I do, or if I did. What is he thinking? Does he not know what rumours do, true or not? | thought. There goes my hopes of being a normal peer for once. Though then I realized that if I was hiding something from my new friends, they were not my friends at all. I let the two boys open their filthy mouths and spread their “secret” to their friends. The next couple of days were somewhat hectic. Whenever I would pass Austin or Shaun, they would give me a dirty look, and their friends would do the same. I felt sorry for those two boys.
Neither of them understood what it is like to be in my position. Sometimes I wonder if they do, but their words and actions say otherwise. I wish they knew how bad their teasing affected others, including myself. Because if they knew, they would stop. Even though the teasing is bad, I have learned not to mind it. What do they know? Only I know what is going on inside of my head, and only I know how I feel towards certain matters. They can make me feel awful, tease me, and spread rumours, but they cannot change who I am, and I happen to be pretty great.