Inside

It feels like being locked in a room with a thousand voices screaming around you.
Some of them are shouting, raising bloodied knuckles at their reflections in the mirror, others are quietly weeping though their eyes don’t much look like anybody’s inside there.

I can’t make out their motivations, why it is they’re emoting all over the carpet with their hatred and sadness and crazy and why that one girl just sits there grinning, tracing her fingers along a switchblade more familiar to her than her name.

They’re all just there, doing it, tapping at my temples and raking their diseased fingernails through my chest.

Once the poison gets in, it’s a long time working it out again.

Cigarette butts pile up before me as I stare them all down, trying to decipher their separate stories. I don’t know why they’re in here or what they want. I don’t think I invited them in. Or maybe I did one day, quietly, absent-mindedly when something went a little awry.

They’re strange, but not strangers.

Sometimes, when I’m locked in that room, a familiar girl with strawberry blonde hair and green eyes stares up at me from a corner. She doesn’t speak with her mouth, only with her eyes, which ask me to remember what the grass smells like when you’re 7 years old and running down a winter hill. They ask me to remember the tightening on your skin when sun has dried saltwater and you’re helping your dad reel in a fish. Or the smell of birthday candles when you blow them out.

Piece by little piece, she recalls me to myself, giving me the key to get out and shut the others in. Wordlessly, I ask her to come with me, but she shakes her head and her green eyes tell me she can’t leave. Her place is there, to wait for me. For the next time I get locked in.

 

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