I’m constantly in this weird limbo of wanting to get dolled up and show off for the men I’m seeing and wanting to curl into a ball and die because I look so bad.
He laughs a little and pulls back. Takes my hand and studies it. “Do you remember in fourth grade,” he says, “when Molly Carter signed up for the school field trip too late? All the spots were filled, and she stood outside the bus, crying because she wanted to go?”
He doesn’t wait for me to answer.
“I remember you got off the bus. You offered her your seat and she didn’t even say thank you. I watched you standing on the sidewalk as we pulled away.”
I’m no longer breathing.
“Do you remember in fifth grade? That week Dana’s parents nearly got divorced? She came to school every day without her lunch. And you offered to give her yours.” He pauses. “As soon as that week was over she went back to pretending you didn’t exist.”
I’m still not breathing.
“In seventh grade Shelly Morrison got caught cheating off your math test. She kept screaming that if she failed, her father would kill her. You told the teacher that you were the one cheating off of her test. You got a zero on the exam, and detention for a week.” He lifts his head but doesn’t look at me. “You had bruises on your arms for at least a month after that. I always wondered where they came from.”
My heart is beating too fast. Dangerously fast. I clench my fingers to keep them from shaking. I lock my jaw in place and wipe my face clean of emotion but I can’t slow the thrumming in my chest no matter how hard I try.
“A million times,” he says, his voice so quiet now. “I saw you do things like that a million times. But you never said a word unless it was forced out of you.” He laughs again, this time a hard, heavy sort of laugh. He’s staring at a point directly past my shoulder. “You never asked for anything from anyone.” He finally meets my eyes. “But no one ever gave you a chance.”
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (via booksasdfghj)