I am nothing to them.

I’m only a list of differences . . a list of adjectives to describe what they see when they look at me . . a collection of words to define themselves as whatever I am not.

Strange . . because they say so.

Weird . . because they say so.

Troubled.

Broken.

The world is happier if I never get fixed because trash is better left out by the side of road.  No one minds the smell or the maggots as long it stays out of sight and far away.

I try to stay as far from everyone as possible.  I walk near the edges of the hallways.  I sit in the back row of every class.  I keep hidden behind my hair which I’ve let grow long so that it covers my face.  I figure if they don’t want me, then I don’t want them.

They say they are concerned about me.  Every one has been concerned about me my whole life.  My teachers . . my guidance councilors . . my father and stepmom . . concerned that I don’t fit in . . concerned that I don’t reach out and embrace being popular or having lots of friends . . concerned that I don’t want any of the things they want for me to want.  That is what makes me strange and dangerous to them.

They are concerned about my silence. 

They want me to talk about what’s inside of me.

-I don’t understand you- my dad says whenever I sit there facing the wall . . the color of my eyes like worn-out blue jeans behind the bleached strands of hair . . a tiger behind the cover of trees . . fierce and protected.  –I don’t know why you have to be so goddamned difficult all the time- but I want to tell him there is nothing difficult about silence.

Staying silent is better than conversation. 

Staying silent is better than telling the truth.

Besides . . they don’t really want to know what I feel.  They don’t want to hear the truth because it upsets them.  They don’t want to hear about how my mother says I ruined her life . . that I cause her to drink.  They don’t want to hear about that asshole boyfriend of hers.  Roy.  They don’t really want me to tell them about how he thought I was pretty for a boy . . or how his hand felt like burning liquid as it moved down my spine . . how his fist felt like metal when I tried to pull away from him. 

That would make them uncomfortable.

That would damage their view of the world.

They only want to know what happens if it happens according to the rules they imagine for how things are supposedto be.  Anything that creeps in to ruin the illusion of nice homes and big cars and shopping malls needs to be kept inside . . buried away . . lost and better forgotten.  But all I see when I look around are the bad things that have crept in . . the demons that live near the shadows where I stay.  I can’t see the things they do . . so I stay silent as much as possible.

I’ve learned to lie.