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I walked aimlessly down the hall. I had no idea where I was going, but I knew why.
The words “Please send at 9:40” were written on a yellow piece of paper my Spanish teacher had handed me. I knew right away what it was about.
I walked as slowly as I could. When I passed a security guard or teacher, I pretended I knew where I was headed. I held the yellow pass so they could see and kept on my way.
But my mind was elsewhere. I stared out windows and into classrooms as I passed. I wanted more than anything to tear the pass in half and throw it on the ground. All I wanted to do was run.
Ever since school had begun several weeks ago, I had dreaded this moment. I knew that some day my friend would spill our little secret, and I would be the one who would suffer. Or, maybe, so she could join in the fun … I should make her suffer.
She had told, hadn’t she? I asked myself over and over as I searched for my destination. I trusted her with my secret and she had told. But I’d known that some day she would. Maybe that was why I had told her.
Deep down, I was tired of struggling. I was tired of the tears and pain that seemed to take over my life. But I didn’t want to admit it, and I never would – not in a million years would I admit that I didn’t want to be like this anymore.
Finally I turned a corner and saw a number on a door that matched the room number on the pass. I opened it with a shaking hand and stepped inside, terrified, overwhelmed by loneliness, and burning with hatred for the one who had tattled on me.
I felt like a small child, lost and unsure where to go. I probably looked like one too. No hint of confidence was on my face and I knew it. And I didn’t care if my fear and anger showed.
The room was dark – just a small lamp in the corner and the light from the social worker’s computer screen. I shut the door, as she instructed, and sat in a chair. All I wanted to do was walk away … even more so when she began to speak. It started out as a “getting to know each other” talk. She asked me simple questions and I answered. But still my mind and heart were not in that room. All I could think about was why I was here. What had I gotten myself into?
Then the conversation took a sharp turn, so sharp that I felt as if she was stabbing me in the heart. Her questions brought tears to my eyes, but I refused to set them free. I had learned how to hide my emotions, and I used my “skills” to keep from breaking down.
I answered with nods and shakes of my head. When I did speak, my words were only whispers. I could feel my voice begin to shake but still – still, I did not show her my feelings.
My heart beat rapidly as her words began to sink in. It wasn’t that they were changing me, but they were becoming more real to me. They were somehow cutting through my denial and causing me to open up to myself. Somehow, I felt a flicker of hope spark in me.
I walked out of her office 20 long minutes later, still physically and emotionally tired from battling an eating disorder. But I also walked out of that office knowing something about my friend – that she had cared enough to tell.
And that was all I needed to know.