Noises

Swish ThumpThumpThump Swish ThumpThumpThump Swish ThumpThumpThump

The noise reverberates inside my brain: I can’t process, I can’t think. My ears hurt. My skin crawls.

It’s late. My friends are playing a game of cards, making noises in the still cabin; it’s driving me crazy. I open my mouth to ask them to stop, but no sound comes.

I stare at the wall, will myself to speak; try to block the noises with my hands, hoping it’ll make things easier. I think it does, because after a moment and far more effort than I can express, I manage to say:

“Stop making that noise!” it stops, but now they are staring at me. I have a feeling I spoke too loudly and too rudely. Trying to fix it, I add “Please.” and then “It really bothers me”.

“We aren’t all that loud”. Isa says “It’s not going to wake up your parents, don’t worry”

She’s sweet, but she doesn’t understand.

“I know, but… Can you tone it down anyway?”

“We can’t play the game without making some noise”

“Then let’s play another game. Come on, I know tons of other games! We could play canasta, for example” As I say that, I’m aware I’ll have to stand the shuffling some more, but at least it’s a longer game, so the noises will be less frequent. I think it’s a pretty good compromise: they change the game, I let them shuffle. Apparently they don’t agree.

“You know, people won’t stop doing something just because it bothers you” Sam says.

“Yeah, but you are not some nameless stranger in the street. You’re my friend, can’t you please stop?”

“Yeah, sure thing, your highness”

They stop. We play something else. But they are upset, they think I’m being unfair.

A similar thing happens when my teacher uses a microphone in class. It’s too loud: I can’t listen to her, or think about what she’s saying. My ears hurt. I can’t leave because this is an important class and exams are close.

First I put my favourite sweater on. Then, I start rocking slightly. It’s still not enough. It feels like I’m using a needle as a swab. Finally, reluctantly, I cover my ears. I’m well aware of how I look – rocking back and forth and covering my ears – but for now it’s worth it.

I’m not really alright yet, but the teacher’s voice is muffled and my ears don’t hurt as much. I’m not getting much of the class, because my brain is still ringing, but I can now assess what she’s talking about. If I can just keep my gaze steady and my mind as focused as possible, I’ll be able to study this at home and still understand it. I think I’m doing well. Until…

“Hey, what the hell are you doing?” The guy sitting behind me asks. I ignore him. “Are you rocking back and forth? Dude, she’s rocking back and forth like a four year old!”

“Aw, little baby needs her mommy?” his friend says.

“What a freak”

“Looks like a retard”

“Are you autistic, freak?” he hits my head. I jump. Even though rationally I know he didn’t hit me hard, it burns through my skin. He seems to think it’s funny, ’cause he does it again. I start shaking my head, trying to shake his hand off, but he just laughs.

There are hands on my arm, now. Invasive, scary fingers, crawling through my skin like a spider. I only realise what they are doing when my arm is yanked away from my ear. The noise of the microphone reaches me – the clueless teacher keeps talking, probably thinking we’re only messing around at the back. There are needles in my ear again, a baseball bat coming down at my head and finger-shapped cold burns in my left arm.

Finally, they stop. “Freak” is the last thing they say. The whole thing must not have taken more than a few minutes, but I’m shaken to the core. I can still feel them, touching and hitting and mocking. I can’t stop rocking or shaking my head; my hands clutch my ears so tight it almost hurts. The class is completely forgotten.

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Day 1: 10 Things I Love

One. I love a smile sent my way.

Two. I love the way arms link around me – every person on their own way – and spread warmth all the way to my fingertips.

Three. I love to explore: new countries, new people, new books.

Four. I love the way sounds and words entertwine to create a personal canvas, blasting in my ears only for me to hear, only for me to understand.

Five. I love the sweet taste of chocolate, medicine to aches, dramas and tiredness; comforting when nothing else is. 

Six. I love the early morning, when I am princess over a yellow-pink world.

Seven. I love putting it all on paper, transforming images and feelings into words, my words.

Eight. I love to learn and think, which, if done correctly, come hand in hand.

Nine. I love when I work hard, spend days and nights awake, sweating, thinking, discussing, to have, at the end, a beautiful piece and some recognition.

Ten. I love to laugh, not worrying who’s judging.

Pride

I was sitting at my new favourite spot at school: a corner at the kid’s yard no one ever went to. That’s when my best friend, Sam, came over and sat next to me. She didn’t say anything at first. We had been fighting for a couple of weeks.

“You saw the news.” she stated.

“I did. It’s outrageous.” she’s talking about a recent event that wasn’t even published on the mainstream papers: a guy, openly gay, was beaten to death in a gym on our neighbourhood. Everything pointed to a hate crime, so the police didn’t give a shit. No one did.

“That’s what happens when someone comes out. Don’t — say anything. Just. Listen. People like us, we don’t have a right to come out in this country. That’s what happens when we do. And, yeah, I know you are going to tell me that we can’t let that take us down and we have to take a stand and all that pride bullshit, but how does any of that work if we’re gone? We can’t be proud of being who we are, because that only makes us dead. Not heroic, not revolutionary or advanced; just dead. I’m not ashamed of you, I’ve never been. Neither in private, nor in public. I just… don’t want you to be the next body that no one cares about. And I guess if I couldn’t stop you, I didn’t want to be around to be hurt when you got yourself killed. I mean, I know it wouldn’t be your fault, but yes it would. Because you knew the risks and you did it anyway. It’s like you don’t care about anything anymore, like you want to kill yourself, but you can’t pull the trigger, so you give them a reason to. You’re angry, I get that. You should have every right to tell everyone that you like girls, and you should get to have a girlfriend and hold hands with her in the halls and kiss her on the streets and be as irritatingly clingy as all of our straight friends. It sucks that you can’t. That we can’t. The world is a fucked up place. But if you let that consume you… that’s when they win. When you– do reckless things in the name of ‘pride’ and become so angry at everyone that you can’t listen to reason. I’m sorry I screamed at you and I’m sorry I stopped talking to you. Honestly, I got scared of losing you. Maybe I got a little scared that they would come after me too. I’m not made of steel, you know, sometimes I get scared and say things that I don’t mean. But I do mean what I’m saying now and I meant when I said you were doing the wrong thing. Can you understand that? Can you understand what I’m saying? Wait, don’t answer right now. I just threw a lot at you and I want you to think about it. Consider everything I said, think about everything you’ve been doing for the past couple of months and why. I’ll call you tonight and you can tell me all of the reasons that I’m wrong, okay?” she stood up to leave. Then she looked back at me. “I… care about you. A lot. Okay.”

I watched her turn the corner and disapear. I heard the bell ring, but didn’t move. I sat at that same spot in the kid’s yard for hours. I thought about everything Sam said, and how hard it must have been for her to say all of that. I thought about what I had said and done, what I had felt. And I thought about everything that happened ever since I came out. That’s when I found myself crying, because Sam was absolutely right.

 

I was a bully!

Shining Seeds

No, I did not mistype that heading.
The topic of bullies is an ongoing concern in today’s society.

One of my friend’s social media threads recently read as such:

“This is the reason why teenagers commit suicide.”

While there would always be other factors, such as mental health concerns, being bullied is certainly a contributing factor to teenage suicide.

It is freighting horrible how children treat other children. I’d like to add ‘these days’, to that sentence, but I can’t. Minors have bullied and been horrible to other minors for centuries. Knowing someone who recently tried to end it, partly because of being bullied has me paying attention to this behavior.

Quite frankly, it’s not just children. Adults can be mean and horrible too. We usually go about it differently. We don’t call it being bullied. We call it being targeted. Nepotism. Favoritism. Slander. Internet trolling. You get the picture.

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Poem

It’s a glass too full

It’s a broken dam

It’s walking in opposite directions

It’s a double-bladed sword

It’s pulling a trigger

It’s a violin

It’s a drum

It’s chaos

I should have kept my mouth shut.

Spijt!

A kid in my class recently killed himself. Everyone is convinced that it wasn’t our fault because we didn’t throw food at him or call him names, but I disagree.

He, like most of my classmates, has attended the school for ten years, and yet a lot of us didn’t know his name until he swallowed a bottle pills. I haven’t spoken with a single person that can tell me what he liked or what he did when he was not in school. It’s not that they disliked him, they just didn’t think about him. At all. No one knew him because no one cared to try.

To those out there who need an explanation: not everyone finds it easy to socialize and make friends. Sometimes just saying hi is the hardest thing in the world. But saying hi is never enough. No matter how hard someone tries, they can’t insert themselves in a social circle unless people give him a chance. No one gave this boy a chance in ten years. He might have had an amazing talent, he might have been funny, or loyal, or share the same interests as some of us. We didn’t know then and we’ll never know now.

He went to school everyday. My school doesn’t have any quiet, secluded places, so for the thirty minutes of the break, he sat alone at a corner of the yard, with a book in his hands, where everyone could see him. No matter how used to this he was, there were certainly days in which he couldn’t concentrate on his book because he kept thinking of how much he wanted someone to sit next to him. We all saw this, we all saw him sitting by himself at a corner of the yard and no one ever sat next to him.

We talk a lot about those kids in school who are abused by their peers, but very little about those who are cast aside. Obviously this wasn’t the only reason that led him to suicide, but if he had had someone to call when things got bad, he might have held on. If going to school hadn’t been so hurtful, his days wouldn’t have been so heavy. If we had done something, he might still be alive.

As far as I’m concerned, we bullied him. As far as I’m concerned, we knew he was at least not happy and we didn’t give a damn. Everyone who knew something was wrong and didn’t do anything about it is guilty of his death. The least we can do is acknowledge our mistake, instead of telling everyone how he just wasn’t bullied.

The Party A

A has many friends. Friends who call him fat, snobby and faggy. He takes it as a joke, most of time, but when they all decide to get drinks, he doesn’t have the balls to tell them he doesn’t want to. It’s the fifteenth-year-old birthday party of a girl in his class so there is a fancy bar with expensive drinks that are not to be served to underage kids. The pink paper bracelet on A’s arm clearly states he is underage. D, who’s dating the birthday girl and knows everyone in here gets some college kids to flash their green bracelets to the waiter, who pours them a few glasses of vodka. Watching his friends do so, he takes a sip, the alcohol burning his throat. He hates it. His friends all make comments on how great it tastes or how much fun they’ll have. Thankfully, it doesn’t take long until A can discretely leave his drink with a waiter and tell his friends he finished it. Midnight comes and goes, there is the rehearsed beautiful dance of the comitee, then a DJ arrives and the party really starts. A’s fading into the background soon enough. He wants to dance, but he’s not good at it and his friends would make fun. When a waiter offers him a drink, A almost takes it, then has a better idea. He doesn’t need to be drunk to be cool, they just have to believe he is. He waits a while, taking a few non-alcoholic drinks and easing his way into it, first stumbling, then shouting. Half an hour later, A’s tie is around his head and A’s shirt is all the way open. He jumps, screams, dances horribly and flirts with girls way over his league. When A approaches someone, they laugh with him, not at him. He steals someone’s hat and playfully fights over it, the other guy not taking him seriously because he thinks A is drunk. There is this girl, G, who he kissed once, months ago, and he desperately wants to kiss again. She laughs when he talks to her. He even falls over a chair just to hear that laugh again… For the first time at one of these parties, A has careless, senseless fun.

Next Monday, A is at school, talking to his friends when one of them says:

– Some people like to drink, other people like to pretend to be drunk. – he shoots him a look and a feeling of dread settles in A’s stomach.

– I was holding one of those non-alcoholic drinks and A comes like “is this spiked?” and I said yes, so he drank it all at once then made an exaggerated face like it tasted really strong. Next thing, he turns around and starts jumping! – weeks later, they are still talking about it.

– H2O is dangerous… – someone else is saying.

– Yeah, A drank two glasses of it and got wasted.

– No, don’t you get it? The alcohol was in the tie around his head, drunk by contact. – everyone laughs.

Seems like they are all laughing at A, not with A, after all.


A/ N: I’ve always been fascinated by the way different people behave in the same setting. That’s what got me the idea for a few drabbles: a party and multiple people that attend it. It’d be simple, just a character study, in ways, see what they’re all doing and why (maybe some readers out there might identify) So, here’s part A, if it gets likes, I’ll continue:

 

The Day

There was a day. If you asked me to recount what happened that day, I couldn’t. I can’t repeat the words said, or the color of the walls, or even I there were walls. The laughter, though, still reverberates in mind like a cello: soft at first, then louder and all-consuming. It was a lazy day, when nothing was rushed and all was easy. It could have lasted for hours, it could have lasted for minutes. It felt like we were hugging, huddled together under a warm blanket, but I know we were not. I can’t remember if any of them was actually touching me, but if they did it wasn’t meaningful. Except, that day, everything was. I remember water. Not all round us, like in the beach or a swimming pool, but small drops of it, like the rain or a splatter. We felt giddy and giggly. We felt wise and important. There was a day, when I was happy.