I slipped into the bathroom and stared long and hard at the creature in the mirror. I pulled out my stolen stick of red lipstick,  previously hidden under the layers of colors and pastel powders in my mother’s drawer. I drew cleanly onto my lips, shaping my mouth into beautiful , brilliantly red, bloody blossoms that simply dripped with scarlet pleasure. I put the lipstick down and contemplated my appearance. Slowly, I smiled. I plastered my face with the most sardonic, creepy, superficial, poster girl smile of a delusional megalomaniac  psychopath I could muster. And I thought (and I thought): This is me. This is who I have become.

Even after I wiped that lipstick off with the back of my hand, smearing it raw all around my eating hole until it looked like I had taken a bite out of a lion’s heart, I couldn’t stop the ringing echo of that thought, rattling around my skull. I stared dead pan into my still putrid eyes, wide like a doe’s. I couldn’t stop smiling.

That image will haunt me forever.


I Fear Silence

Silence is intimidating… to me, anyway. There are some select people in our loud community who do, in fact, embrace Silence. They don’t mind and, if anything, see Silence as an occasional dropper-by with whom they exchange shy glances across a busy street, before getting on with business.

Not me, however. Whether it’s a lull in conversation or the gentle hum of emptiness on weekends, I am intimidated. Why must I be? Silence won’t hurt me. Silence has nothing against me.

Silence doesn’t have an agenda. Does Silence?

Silence likes to massage my shoulders and whisper things in my ear. Scary things. Things I’d rather not remember. Thoughts that usually would drift at the back of my head come to center-stage only when Silence decides to drop by.

My thoughts and Silence converse so easily. They stand on the horizon as dark silhouettes. They stand there, hand in hand, waiting for me to drop my guard long enough for them to pounce and devour.

Silence is stern. Silence watches intently, glares at me from across the room when I am incapable of being interesting to the person with whom I try so desperately to communicate. I try to hint at Silence’s presence, nudge others around me in Silence’s direction and try to make them see its potential for danger. But they never notice my urging. So, I am forced to look hesitantly over again at Silence, who smiles sardonically and settles more comfortably into the armchair.

I ride the bus, sometimes. I try to drive Silence away with music. I remain plugged into my cellphone device like it’s my life support, but Silence still sits next to me. Squishes me against the window. All I can do is sigh, and hope time will fly by as fast as the pipes in the tunnel walls.

Silence will sometimes settle right next to me at any given time – at home, at school, in bed – and play with my hair. Occasionally, Silence will put a hand to my chest, ghostly fingers curling around my heart.

And Silence will settle in: into my heart, soul, and being.

I doze off, but my mind is awake and screaming.

Silence has come to visit. And I fear… Silence has come to stay.