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the empty

The fat girl as they call her, came to school with a hypodermic needle in her backpack. It may have been to defend herself, it may have been to instigate something. She comes from a broken home and this is her second or third school. E steers clear of her, and the bullies she tangles with. It was never understood  - how things began, who threw the first insult, the first punch, the first grabbed book but the end is a chronic cycle of violence. At one point, the girl's mother got the police involved and this was seen as offensive, a step too far. The police did not resolve anything so it was all just a lot of saber rattling. That is the most common sound here. The empty threat.

Last week, there was a sobrani, sort of a cross between a parent-teacher conference and a school meeting. I was busy, so E went by herself and took notes. Five minutes in she messaged me, that I was wise not to be there. Nothing about this girl was going to be resolved.
"Boys will be boys" was all …

censored


There are pockets, absences. In them, histories are hidden, memories stamped down under dry earth. There are episodes that have never been shared, fights and screams never repeated. I carry them in silence for a number of reasons. Some things are forced into shadow by warped law and influence. Freedom of speech is a privilege, and a vulnerable one. Some are edited by choice. Some are edited by necessity. The result is the same - an incomplete picture, a book missing pages, a song missing a second verse. 

There are dogeared boxes of papers that are too painful, too embarrassing too forgotten to yank from shelves, the smell of yellowing paper, the hot pang of failure on them. I cannot throw them away just yet, but plan to. Maybe I save some of them for E, scraps of evidence from a life she was too young to commit to memory, a life of wild-eyed desperation and daily drama. I don't know what she will do with them, but maybe they are for her to destroy, not me.

The past and present are both obscured, hidden behind drapes, unspoken. 

So much goes unsaid, I wonder what good it is to speak at times, to be play along with such lies, such deceptions, such over-simple truths. I used to get excited about theories about where truth exists, in hidden spaces between the known and the unknown - the gaps, the lines scribbled out of love letters. They were theories that inspired years of work, but only now do I understand the price paid for experiencing them first hand. To be mute is a prison I could never have imagined, a punishment that bites into fresh skin every day.

Comments

invisible woman said…
In honour of the burden of your silence, I shall leave you here a silent comment...
oldswimmer said…
save them for E!
Breathtaking. Again.

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