Freedom

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As I sit here, saturated in the blood of my own enemy, I begin to question how. How I got here, how our friendship escalated into a murder scene, and most importantly, how will I ever survive this. After all, this is more than a simple cut from scissors.

I don’t remember a time then he wasn’t there. He was always there. In kindergarten, we would sit in the sand and play alone, because he told me “that’s what best friends do”. He was extremely jealous of people, and only wanted me play with him. I didn’t understand, and I didn’t want to seclude myself to only him but for some reason, I just couldn’t get far enough to run.

“What do you mean?” he would ask, sounding like he cared about my wellbeing, when we all knew that he was egoistic in his own way.

“Well, I’m really sorry,” I would try to explain. “But I was invited to Matthews’s birthday party. I think it might be fun, you know…” I trailed off.

He wasn’t impressed. “You actually think they want you to come? Of course they don’t! He just invited you so they can have a good time laughing at you and then I’ll have to try and stop them. You are nothing without me! I am your only real friend.”

Thus began a friendship made solely on him telling me what to do and I, being a push-over and listening. But he made me feel good, in some strange way. He made me feel like, to him, I was everything. To him, I mattered. We were one, and eventually became inseparable. To my five year-old self, “that’s what best friends do”.

Because of this, I never went out on dates; not because I was never asked, but because he convinced me otherwise.

“Please don’t leave me alone tonight,” he would say. “Besides, she is way out of your league. She probably doesn’t even want you, considering I’m going to come and ruin the night.”

“See, that’s the thing,” I would start. “I don’t think it would be a good idea if you came with me. You heard what the doctor said? It might be nice for me to be independent for once.” But every time I would ever suggest for us to separate for the night, he would look back at me with his big black eyes, they were like little black holes travelling boundlessly into nothing, as if to say Please, don’t leave, c’mon, stay home with me. God, his eyes were so hypnotizing, I couldn’t help it but stay. And so I would. He convinced me to stay away from things. And so I did, because he told me so. I was the puppet, and he, the puppeteer. Sometimes, tickets weren’t being sold for the grand event I called life. I would hang out with others, be social, the typical teenager. But right after a stressful time, the circus would come back in the city and I was forced to attend the craziness.

He knew that I was getting use to this, so he went on.

“Don’t wear that,” he would say as I tried to get dressed for work in the morning. “Sherry, that girl near the photocopier, might think you’re looking good, and you don’t want that to happen, do you?”

He was never supportive, either. Every morning, I would get up, and he would make me take out every item of clothing I owned and tell me how awful it looked on me. And if I dare shed a tear, he would threaten to hand me the scissors. He knew me well; I hated the scissors, but sometimes it was a relief. He liked to watch my blood drip down my sleeve as the scissors broke my skin, which symbolized more than the protective barrier between me and my pain.

Not anymore. My skin may be thinner than it was when we met, my stomach may be smaller than the first time he told me I was fat, and my mind may be destroyed, one part from the abuse and two parts from the meds to kill the abuse, I refuse to be put through hell.

There is only one thing I can do.

But how shall I do this, you may ask? Well, I could take the casual approach. In the morning, when we are getting ready for work, I can spontaneously turn around and …

No, that’s too obvious. He knows me better than that.

I could be eating, or at least try to eat between episodes of him punching me in the gut to avoid gaining any weight. Yes, I could be trying to eat breakfast and while he’s not paying attention I could take his plate and put some…

No, that couldn’t be possible. He barely eats, anyways. It’s like he’s invincible, like he doesn’t need to eat. If I tell him to eat breakfast, he might think there is something suspicious going on, and then he’s going to get mad and take out the scissors…

Don’t think about things like that! Remember what the doctor said; this is a major move in our relationship, something that most people struggle with this fare in the game. Now what did the doctor say? What would I want to tell straight to his face? It was something that would really destroy him and get rid of him for good this time?

Well, he really likes using scissors, and I really… I’ve got it! I will go to him, when he least expects it…yes, I will go when he does not expect it AT ALL and tell him what I’ve wanted to say for years. “Get off my back!” I will say. Then I get the scissors and …

I am ready for my murder. I am really ready. I have not been so ready for something my entire life. No more memories of missing prom because of him. No more Saturday lounge-around-the –house for “only one day, I promise” that turned into missing most of the eleventh grade. No more yes-boss-I-will-try-to-handle-my-self-better-in-the-workplace after he showed up and told me I was probably going to get fired just because of my face. No more mornings of being told what to wear, why to wear it, and threats about ‘the scissors’. Well, except for today.

I approach the mirror, I see him coming. He isn’t happy and looks quite scared; the first time I have ever experienced the rolls reversed. It feels good, sometimes, to put fear on him instead of the other way around. I begin to feel separate from him, like are two distinct people instead of him inhabiting my body.

He began the conversation; he always begins the conversation.

“Hey, you finally decided to get out of bed, lazy ass!”

“You know what, I’ve had enough of you and you’re stupid comebacks and, and…” I was trying, but I couldn’t. I knew exactly what I wanted to do to him, but I couldn’t put it in words.

He interrupted me, again. “Wow, shots fire! Lazy ass thinks he can talk back to me?! What, lazy ass, you think you’re so strong and…”

“You know what, I’m done with you. Stop coming to work with me. Stop telling me what to wear, and what to eat, and how to act and….”

“… You’re leaving me?! You are NOT leaving me!! You are nothing without me, you pathetic loser, you, you…”

He began getting nervous. Finally, I was on top.

Then, as he continued his rant, I did it.

“Get off my back!” I shouted as I pulled out the scissors from behind me and stabbed him in the chest. Once, twice, a third time, trying to inflict all the pain he gave me over twenty five years on this planet.

I look up at the mirror, exhausted from the violent act I have just committed in my own house. I suddenly feel a rush of pain in my chest. As I continue to look at the reflection in the mirror, I realize that the ground is saturated with iron-rich blood; he is covered in blood, my blood, and so am I. I collapse to the floor. For the first time in twenty five years, I realize that my bully and I weren’t all that different.

For the first time in twenty five years, I realize that he always inhabited me body; that’s why it was so easy for him to get to me.

For the first time in twenty five years, I discovered that in order to kill my bully, I would have to kill myself too.

Because my bully was never a separate, distinct, outside person whom I had met in a sandbox back in kindergarten.

My bully was, and will always be, me…

                                                                                                                                                                              

If you liked this piece and want to read more, I highly recommend that you read The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan. This book is her portfolio of both fiction and non-fiction stories, covering a wide variety of topics from suffering from Celiac Disease to getting her first car. And the best part is her stories are all short, so you can read one in a single sitting and never feel like hanging form lose ends. Check out her award wining essay, “The Opposite of Loneliness”, written for her graduating class at Yale University.

http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2012/05/27/keegan-the-opposite-of-loneliness/

 

 

 

 

 

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