Jul 16, 2015


Curled up on the floor, her back against the cold comforting wall, she allows her arms to wrap around herself. It is all the human warmth she permits, on special days like these when her heart is full with yearning yet empty with fear, choppy whirly waters that only arms can stabilise. Her skin is baby-pink raw, tingling sensitive, a fence armed with electricity; she recoils at the slightest touch. A stranger brushes past; a friend puts his arm round for a picture; a classmate pats her on the back; she immediately freezes rigid, struggling to calm the tremble. Something bitter and black starts to form at the back of her mouth and it rises to her temples and over her arms and legs and into the very pit of her, and she struggles to get it off. The instant aversion. Repulsion. Oh but she longs for affection, how she longs for affection. For someone else's strong arms to hold her frailty. Instead she spreads both hands over the ache, adding pressure, attempting to pacify. She has always borne the weight on her own, the hole in her chest wide open, a plea to be outside herself.

She met someone today. She was sitting on the little ledge behind the classrooms, overlooking the pond. Cross-legged, her hands clasped together, slouched over. It was a quiet, empty late afternoon, and she came to meet Peace again. But no- today somebody came and sat with her. She heard footsteps first, oh no. But the footsteps grew louder, sneakers dragging on the concrete, until they stopped by her side. A red haversack on the floor. She looked up at his pale blue tee, his fringe falling over his eyes; he glanced down at her. Set himself down on the ledge to face her, crossed his legs. Breathed out, a silent sigh. He raised his eyebrows at her, a small smile to say and what about you? She turned to look at the pond instead. The ducks were sticking their heads into the water, their butts pointing to the sky. Turned back. Fringe boy was still looking straight at her, his smile gone but the concern in his eyes clear as crystals. She took in a deep, slow breath - did she dare? - she nodded in her heart, brave. She looked at him for a long while, and he back at her, a silent acknowledgement of hearts, a communication of souls. One of those moments to keep in a tiny box of treasures in your pocket. His hands - his hands reached out towards hers. She froze. Her heart pounding, the electricity coursing through her arms, a warning, a siren, the black forming in a ball in her throat. Keep still. He could see it the fear in her widened eyes; he paused. But the fear turned into courage. Keep still. Frailty just beneath the baby-pink silk.

He reached out again, soothing her fear with gentleness in his eyes. Touched her knuckle, then let his fingers cover her hands. Wrap around her palms, a firm grip. His warmth seeped into her skin and spread up her forearm, up her shoulders. It was light, glorious light, and it was chasing away the ghosts in herself. She let the tears fall from her face; she began to laugh; it was the most beautiful day. 

"I am not repulsed by you." 

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