All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
The Day I Returned MAG
Fifty-three missed calls. I looked at my phone for the first time in two weeks. The hairs on my neck rose when my mother peered cautiously from the passenger seat of my father's car. I strained to read message after message of friends' questions and concerns, not daring to look at her. With a delicate sigh, she turned to focus on the street and watch the yellow lines flash by.
The nervous clearing of her throat started as it always did when she felt like an inadequate parent. No words were spoken as we rounded the corner and pulled up in front of the school. The once-friendly ivory doors now glared at me with uninviting intent. My father cut the engine. This was it. My signal to open the car door and step back into a world I felt I did not know anymore.
“No one knows anything,” my father reassured me. I nodded and reluctantly opened the door without a word. He warned me not to reveal the truth to anyone. With each step, my knees became weaker. I reached for the door handle, ignoring the red marks on my hand from clenching my spiral notebook. With a heave, the door swung open and I stepped into the setting of my teenage personality, though I had not exactly returned with eagerness to my old high school life.
I ducked by the attendance office and climbed the three flights of stairs to my locker. As my shaking fingers twisted the combination, I looked at the clock. The tension in my neck began to build as I saw that class ended in less than five minutes.
I opened the rusty, green metal door and stared at my books. They were exactly as I had left them, piled in the same slouching manner. I reached for my U.S. history text and placed it in my arm with the spiral.
The moment I shut my locker, students began to flood out of their classes. I let out a breath, stared intently at the floor, and began walking toward history. Without warning, the hall became silent. I glanced up to find most of the student body staring at me, critiquing my every move.
I clenched my notebook tighter, feeling as though the wires might break my skin. I caught sight of my old friends and smiled in hopes of beckoning them to my aid. They were huddled around the window where we always converged between classes.
My crooked smile dwindled as they turned their backs on me. My heart screamed in agony. I had been betrayed – used and thrown away. As I quickened my pace, whispers trailed behind me.
“I heard she tried to kill herself. She cut her wrists” … “Well, I heard that she lied about it just to get attention” … “You guys are nuts – she just got back from rehab” … “For what?” … “I heard it was heroin” … “Well, I heard anorexia” … “She does look disgustingly thin.”
I waited for the assaulting word that to this day makes me cringe helplessly. But as this gossip party passed, they never mentioned anything close to what had really happened. There was nothing about that crummy apartment, the asylum-white door locked tight, the curly blond hair that torments my dreams – nothing. His nameless face flashed suddenly in my mind, halting my footsteps.
My hand clenched brutally tight around my books as I struggled to stop the memory from coursing through my head: the darkness of the abandoned room, the unexpected haze from my drink, and the blond hair that is branded in my mind.
I passed my classroom and bolted for the theater. As I neared the doors, my sprinting feet broke down. I entered the pitch-black room, looking for any signs of a teacher or student. My pace slowed as I approached the stage.
Setting my books down, I sat on the edge of the stage and peered into the pitch black. It was the same blackout color of that night. If anyone had been in the room, I wouldn't have been able to make out the face. I gazed down at the spiral marks on my hand. Feverishly I tried to rub the indentations from my skin, but they refused to go.
I glanced at the door again, praying that someone would enter. My eyes watered from restraining the urge to raise my voice, to yell for help. I realized that the one thing I wanted wasn't possible. I was praying for someone to hear my nonexistent cries when I could do nothing more than talk with silence.
In an attempt to release the tension, I shook my head repetitively. I glanced at my free hand and saw it pulling down the pleats of my dress with clenched fingers. I released the garment and cradled my cramping fist in my lap, stroking the indents that now seemed permanent.
My eyes looked toward the edges of the room. Each empty seat seemed to symbolize the friends, family, and peers sitting opposite me, waiting for the mental breakdown they were all so sure would come. Looking to my right and left, despite the size of the stage, it was clear that there was no room for anyone but me and my ominous memories. I was alone, utterly alone. And the worst part was that no one knew.