Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time there was a girl who was a fraud, because she could be. She could pass for normal and no one knew. There are kids who are so deeply weird that it emanates from them like a smell that they could never wash off; they are born destined to be cut out from the herd and shunned as weirdos. And then there are the secretly weird.

This girl was one of the secretly abnormal ones. She was pretty and she wore the right clothing and had the right friends; her boyfriend played both football and baseball, and she was a songleader (a subspecies of cheerleader that does dance routines). She got good grades and won prizes with her artwork and her parents were happy.

But the girl was a fraud. At night she cut herself, and used the blood for ink to write dramatic, bad poems about loss and loneliness. She burned herself with candle wax and could hold her finger in a candle flame for ages. She didn’t wear black clothing, she didn’t dye her hair or wear black lipstick or nail polish. She had nothing to do with the weird outcast kids that hung around on the smoker’s hill behind the school, looking furtive and holding profound books that they would never read. She walked through the halls with her shining friends, and the sleeves of trendy shirts hid the marks from cutting.

You never outgrow being a fraud, really. You go on through life, your happy, professional, reasonably content life, and no one ever knows. In your heart, though, you’re still the girl who cuts herself by candlelight, and can hold her finger in the flame until you can smell her flesh.

4 thoughts on “Once Upon A Time”

  1. Yes…I knew there would be people who would relate. I’m sure you’ve had people say “how can you write all that personal stuff for strangers to read?” Because there are other people who understand, that’s why.

  2. “Because there are other people who understand, that’s why.”

    That’s a very comforting thought. thanks for the reminder that sometimes the people in the shadows, beyond all the loud and intrusive people in your face, are still listening and quietly understand.

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