Do you ever feel physically sick thinking the night before about having to return to school after a long weekend? I do. Sometimes I’ll wake up in the morning and would literally rather have to endure anything in place of having to walk into that godforsaken building. (Which we will call “Wonderland high” for privacy purposes.) On the bad days I’d rather face all of my worst fears at once than even step place in Wonderland High. On the good days, well things aren’t much better. I’d still find myself scheming to run the thermometer under a hot tap or make myself sick so I don’t have to face my fellow peers. “But why?” I can almost hear you asking through the dim screen of my laptop. Well this is one of the most difficult questions that someone could possibly ask me. I can only try my best to answer without knowing the full extent of the answer myself.
I’ll explain to you the layout of my day, so maybe I can give you some insight into my day to day life. I entered Wonderland high at exactly 7:55, the bell rang a few minutes earlier so people are scrambling to get to class on time. I get barely three steps into the door before a senior walks into me head on knocking all of my binders and books to the floor and tripping me. He doesn’t apologize, acknowledge me at all, he doesn’t even look at me as if I was to ugly for him to bother looking at. People are still swarming the hallways as I attempt to ignore the bloody scrape on my elbow and pick up my stuff that now litters the hallway floor, and not one person out of the nearly hundred people that passed me offered to help. I’m not even sure most of them knew I was standing there, they just formed a path around me and kept pushing past me. In my first four classes I didn’t speak to anyone and kept to myself because I had learned from previous experiences to keep my head down and stay quite unless a teacher asks me a question. Besides I don’t talk much, I tell myself it’s because I’m just better at listening.
Lunch time is one of the few times I feel like I can actually be myself or at least I can be the better parts of myself and save the awkward, stranger parts for when I’m alone and no one can see how weird I really am. I have a small group of friends who sit at one lunch table together so it is easy to find them but on days like today and the crazy, dangerous, chaos of the cafeteria is to much for me to handle, I will travel outside to the courtyard with a friend instead. Today I sat outside on a bench underneath a tree with my incredibly shy friend who we will call ‘Annie’, we talk a bit about our spring break and it was actually quite pleasant. For a moment anyways and then the unpleasantries start up taking the form of raining fruit. It wasn’t actually raining fruit obviously but some group of boys thought it would be funny to throw fruit around and watch it smash against the building. First a carton of apple juice spraying us from head to toes soaking our clothes with sticky sweet liquid, next an apple hits the back of my shoulder, and lastly a banana exploded against the pavement to our right covering our pants and shoes.
The funny thing is when I felt the heat of embarrassment fill my cheeks with pink and the sickness of humiliation make my stomach clench, I was used to it. I am used to it, and when Annie and I locked eyes we both knew that we weren’t going to say anything and maybe that was what made it so much worse. Those boys who threw the fruit and watched it hit us, they didn’t apologize, they didn’t even laugh that much. It was like we weren’t even worth their time at all, and Annie and I, we didn’t say anything to them. Didn’t yell at them for disrespecting us, hell we couldn’t even bring ourselves to look at them as we walked past to go clean ourselves up. We gave them what they wanted and that’s what is so sick about it. They wanted to pretend we are invisible and we allowed ourselves to be. I allowed myself to be because I am weak and afraid.
It would be too easy to say that I feel Invisible. Instead I feel painfully visible but entirely ignored. It took me about halfway into eight grade year to realize that was how I was feeling and almost annoyingly to long to understand why. My friends and I are the ghosts that haunt the halls of high school just like many others before us. The living can’t see us or just choose not to because it would be easier than having to deal with a haunting. We are the kids who slip through the cracks unnoticed, so under the radar that we’re not even sure if the radar still exists. The living won’t bring themselves down to our measly level unless they need something from us, can’t even remember my name when asking for a pencil or a piece of paper. Of course I give them their requested pencil or piece of paper along with another shred of dignity that I have left, because I know in my heart that I am to weak to stand up to them. To ask them just once, Why? Why do you ignore me?
I feel like my silence is a curse but a kind of superpower, I notice everyone and everything around me. From the most beautiful to tragic things that I wish I hadn’t seen in the first place but no one ever notices me, us, the kids in the dark.
Most days I’m okay with being left alone, that’s not it at all, in fact its easier that way for me to hold myself together. But when people don’t notice me at all, it hurts. And I know it’s my own fault for becoming invisible and isolating myself from everyone because I was to afraid of rejection. But just once I want a strange to help me up when I fall instead of walking around me, to say hello to me, hold a door open for me, ask to be my partner in class, pick me first for teams, say bless you when I sneeze, simply acknowledge my existence and pull me from the cemetery of the dead and back into the grasp of the living.
If I could say one thing to the world and they would listen it would be this : I’m quite but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot to say. I’m still listening to the ghosts that haunt my halls, some of them are even my friends, I listen to the dead because I am among them, buried six feet deep under silence. I’m listening to you.
Are you listening to me?
“But most days, I wander around feeling invisible. Like I’m a speck of dust floating in the air that can only be seen when a shaft of light hits it.” ~Sonya Sones