“you’re pathetic” said Jona as he loomed over me in the corner behind the dumpster at the back of the school. I could smell the chocolate and chips on his breath. He shoved his hand in my pocket and pulled out my 3 cookies I had for lunch. I tried to grab his arm and take them back, but Jona’s other arm came crashing into my chest and knocked the wind out of me as I fell back onto the concrete. My back aching from the force and my arms burning from where they scraped the ground. I looked up. I couldn’t see Jona as my eyes filled with tears. But I heard his voice. “you’re a loser!”
“Do as you’re told. You stupid dickhead” said the man that was my new dad. I looked up at him. His clothes had the stink of cigarettes and vinegary smell of alcohol. “eat it” he said. Shoving the orange ends of his smoked cigarettes into my small mouth. I turned my head away and squirmed to run. But his hand was holding my thin arm with a grip that was as strong as a vice and just as deadly. “eat it!” he repeated, successfully stuffing a handful of the cigarette butts into my mouth. They tasted of ash and poison. I choked and spat them out, feeling a warmth spread in my pants where I had peed myself. “you pathetic mess! Look at the mess you’ve made!!” said the man as he raised his hand above my head. I couldn’t see him as my eyes filled with tears. “you’re nothing but a loser” his voice rang in my ears.
“you loser. Why don’t you just go kill yourself?” I woke with a start from my bed. I sat up and saw only darkness. As my eyes adjusted to the dim flickering tubelight in the hallway, I saw that I was alone. “you stupid useless idiot” the Voice rang in my ears and I pressed my hands to the side of my head. I told myself It’s in my head. The doctor with the kind eyes told me it’s just Voices in my head. Before he gave me the pills to put me to sleep. Now I’m awake. “yeah you’re awake, dickhead”. I can still hear their Voices…. Then what’s real? “you’re crazy. That’s what’s real. Loser.” I looked down at my arms. Even in the dark I could see the linear gashes and scars criss-crossing all the way down on my forearm. Some still raw, bandaged by the doctor. Marks I had given myself. “see that? Loser scars.” I smiled to myself. They’re not. I slid my hand under the pillow of my bed and extracted the lone object that lay there. The paperclip that Steve from the room opposite my own had given me. The one that I had bent out of shape until it was a thin rod and sharpened on one end by the dinner cutlery. I pulled off the bandage that was wrapped just below my elbow. I felt the air touch the still healing wound. I pressed the sharp end of the paperclip at the top of the wound and ran it down the length of the old cut. I savoured the burning pain that shot through my arm. The sound of my heart in my chest as it began to beat rapidly. The cool sensation of the blood leaking out of the wound. I did it again and again. As I did, the Voices got quieter and quieter. And then they stopped.
Pain is good. I don’t know what’s real. But atleast I know I’m alive.