art by Charlie Speratis
art by Charlie Speratis

She was the kid who you passed in the hallway, but seconds later you couldn’t recall anything about. You might even doubt you saw her at all. You heard her name, you knew it, but there was no face with it. There was a blur, a shadow. That’s all she was, a silhouette. Each day fading more and more.

She cried out, but her screams ricocheted off of the wall between you, trapping them and sending them back to her. They never reached your ears. You never knew. She shouted louder and louder, begging you to hear. Begging you to see past the smile, past the light laughter. Begging you to understand that she wasn’t alright.

But as she grew louder, so did the voices inside. They told her nobody cared, nobody understood. They told her she was broken, she could never be fixed. They told her she wasn’t good enough, nobody wanted her. They shouted she was worthless, they shouted there was no hope for her. They told her she would never be somebody.

 

Give up, they screamed. Give up.

 

She fought them all day, but as the sun set and the dark of night rose, so did her own darkness. They ate her from the inside out, and she did all she could to numb the pain. But there was no substance strong enough to chase them out, they always crawled their way back in.

 

Give up, they screamed. Give up.

Be quiet, she screamed back. Please be quiet.

But they never listened.

 

She sat alone that night, always alone. The tears sliding silently, leaving trails of her pain behind.

I won’t give up, she promised. I won’t.

 

The days turned to weeks. The weeks became months. Each day, she became fainter and fainter. Each day, she walked farther and farther from the light. The pain brought her to her knees. Each day she fell, but there was no one to pull her up.

 

Why don’t they love me, she cried. Why can’t they see?

They don’t care, the voices shout back. They don’t want to see.

 

I have to give up, she whispered. I give up.

We win, they laughed. We win.

 

She was alone, always alone. She let go and her light died.

 

But where were you? Where was I?

Where did we go as that angel came to hold her hand and guide her away from the pain of her world?

Couldn’t we do the same? Couldn’t we reach out a hand?

 

We could save a life.

We could be angels.

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