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  • Siobhan Kelly

Sincerely Indebted, She Takes my Hand.

My Soul screams a song of forgetting. She wails for me, She needs me. But I am far away, glossed over: a wrung-out towel, and my face hurts from all of the crying. Clack Clack Clack I rush to my locker, careful to keep my head down. In here, whispers rise like smoke out of clammy sewer grates, untraceable and eerily intimate. They pierce the stale air, jabbing at my mind, though there’s no real sound. Just the blaring clack of my worn-out heels against VCT. I brush a hair off my face in a brisk movement. My forehead is cold to the touch, and I smirk softly. Often I think my face is made of plaster, like so many of my friends. I can see their waxed smiles through the backs of their heads. They’re robots, phantoms. I see right through them. Can they see through me? Do they notice my wet-stained cheeks? My facade has become quite impressive, it’s now habitual. It makes me wonder if the others have one too. “I’m here for you,” they’ll say. But they’re so lively, complete. How could they ever understand? Their optimism slaps me in the face, a strike across a collapsing heart. It’s a heavy burden to bear, this tale. But nothing compares to the weight of the bags under my eyes.

The world around me is sound asleep

but instead I am angry.

Maybe it’s the exam I forgot to study for,

or how dinner slipped my mind.

I just need someone.

My eyes droop ever so slightly, but can’t seem to close.

That’s when the phantoms appear.

With etched smiles that creep along their glassy cheeks:

it’s Sarah from bio,

Andrew from English,

Christina from functions.

An enchanting black hole of smoke and mirrors.

A chilling sort of comfort,

they recoil at my touch,

and fade away in the most convenient times.

When my lights go out,

nobody is there.

Just the glow of my screen to keep me comfort,

and to keep me up at night.

A surge of

adrenaline and shame rushes through my blood,

I aced my exam.

Maybe the teacher pities me?

The ghosts are here:

solid and true,

a shoulder to cry on.

They congratulate me, ask me for guidance.

But what do I say?

I could scream and shout,

tear off the veil

laying over my inner conscience.

Or lash out:

break free of the leeches that leave when I’m

lonely, but latch onto my success.

I do none of these things,

only because

She won’t let me.

I am dizzy, I am numb,

and I hear them now:

Her ear splitting calls echo through

my body.

How did I not notice them before?

My ignorance hits me

like a speeding train hurtling through

time. I was supposed to treat Her better,

the way I wanted others to treat me.

I needed to be kind,

but all that internalized pressure,

those aches and pains

they masked the true hurt,

and hid what mattered most.

I am learning to be kinder to myself.

It’s a long process,

the path to self-love,

but She will always find me

when I am lost.

I wonder if that’s the most important of all.

People will leave me

time and time again.

And so I eat, I drink, I sleep.

I move on.

This morning, the sun peeked over my windowsill, its pale yellows seeping into the corners of my room. My face cracks a smile

a real one this time.

The world holds its breath as

She takes my hand.

I am not perfect but I am learning to be at peace,

and one

with my soul.

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