The Target

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I should of waited. I should of just stayed behind and helped clean, just like every other day. I should of kept it in the corner and waited for everyone to leave before catching the bus. I shouldn't have left the same moment as everyone else. All I could think of was out of every single mistake in my life this was the absolute worst. I felt everything inside me shatter, everything fell apart. For the thousandth time, I collapsed with utter weakness and disgust in myself. I stared down at the ripped shreds of the thick material used to paint on over the easel. Everyone was milled around, most laughing and giggling nervously. I knew what I looked like. I was red in the face with anger and the burning feeling of wanting to scream and cry at the same time. But at that moment, I only stared. I didn't look at the people around me, but only made eye contact with one other person. Andrew. He was at the rim of the crowd, looking over the shredded art work covering the hallway floor. 

I couldn't read his expression, but I knew what I felt. I knew it like it was the same action of involuntary breathing. It was a snap decision the brain made. But I didn't move. I wouldn't run away like I'd done all those times in front of these kids. They only stood and watched as the laughter bubbled in there chest to their lips. William stood, looming over me and looking over the work he'd committed. I could hear him heavily breathing. Or that was me. I didn't know who it was, but I could feel my cheeks becoming warmer as the sounds of their feet against the tiled floor headed for the exits slowly. William was the last to leave, turning to look at me. My heart exploded with anger, dripping down my chest from the inside with sharp pangs of guilt and regret. 

When he smiled, my fingers curled inward, my nails digging into my palms. I tightened my hands into fists, boring my eyes into his until he finally decided to turn and leave. In the moment the door closed and I was left alone in the hallway, I pushed myself to my feet. For a moment, I leaned against a locker, heavily breathing to hold back the tears. My throat was hot and it felt tight like I couldn't breathe, making it harder not to cry. I squeezed my eyes shut, digging my hands into my jean pockets before opening my eyes to see the mess once again. 

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a dark figure near the door. At first I thought it was William, but the figure soon moved closer to the light of the hallway and I could see him completely. It was Andrew. He glanced at the mess before lifting his eyes back to mine. I felt sick. He was watching me. He didn't know what else to do. I only stood there, feeling even more worthless than I ever have in my entire life. I turned away from him, and began to run. 

He didn't even call out to me as I ran from him and the mess of my useless effort. The tears were coming easily now, turning into breathless sobs as I turned the corner and burst through the exit door into the football field. I ran, picking up dirt and clumps of grass behind me as I went straight for the bleachers. I couldn't make it to the track. I just couldn't. The feeling of absolute numbness, the cries becoming louder, becoming screams. I went past the bleachers, into the woods. Maybe I could make it to the track, by using the woods as a short cut. I could find the trail maybe and make it there easier. 

I didn't bother. I threw my hands out last minute as my feet caught at the thick roots of a tree. The palms of my hands scraped at the bark of the trees surrounding me as I hit the ground hard. I felt the thick roots bruising the soft skin covering my ribs as they dug into me. I crawled across dry leaves and pine needles, my hand falling into the stream that ran through the woods and into town for miles. Grabbing the bottom hem of my flannel, I tore it from my body, leaving myself on the ground in just jeans and a black tank top. I took the thin metal piece from the shaving razor from home I kept in my pocket. It ripped a tiny hole in my jeans as I dug into my pocket furiously for it. I barely had it held securely in my hand before I was shredding my wrist with it. 

The tears came slower as the blood trickled faster. I tilted my hand to the ground, letting it flow from my finger tips. I stared down at my arm, looking at the pale blue veins pulsing underneath my skin. One motion and I would soon be drained. That's all it would take. That's all I needed. I would be granted with a prize that I could never give back and I would be more grateful then a starving child with a plate filled with warm food. 

I could see the wide openings that tiny blade made against my soft skin. I took it and dragged it more slowly, adding pressure as I moved it across my skin. As soon as the tip of it was at my skin, more blood was dripping onto the leaves where I sat. I felt it fall onto the cloth of my jeans, soaking through. I smiled at it. It wasn't a warm smile. It felt like the smile that William used when he was standing in the hallway looking at me. It was cold. It made me feel even more sick. That I could smile like that thing could. And I wasn't ashamed of wanting to hurt him even worse than he had already hurt me. 

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