2015-2016, Short Story


Featured in the 2016 Spring Issue of Rambunctious

Michale Schueler, '18

Hey, you.
Yeah, it's me.
The girl who you called too loud, who you told to quiet down,
But now I'm speaking out,
And I'll be damned if you don't hear me.
You probably don't remember me,
Though I do remember you down to every dimple, every follicle, every nail bed. 
Because you were beautiful and gentle and perfect. And I am broken and cracked 
And falling into this wide expanse of nothing-and- dammit!- I'm angry. 
Because you... You have slandered every micron of my person,
You have criticized and shredded and torn at every millimeter of my skin.
Holding me close to the microscope lens so you can see my flaws better.
Because you left me naked, flailing my arms in a roaring river of rage 
And I can't get out.
And life is swirling around me in a vibrant mural of fire and tears
But all I can see is you.
And as the painted infernos burn and crackle around me,
All I can feel is the light of your eyes as you smile,
And all I can hear is the way you used to say my name.
And I know you think I'm crazy,
And weird and fat. And I am. You haven't missed the mark.
But I am more than the words you've scrawled on my face with permanent marker.
I am more than the words that you whisper behind closed doors
I am more than yours.
I am a flurry of too-bright colors
And too-loud sounds and too-fast words
Whipping every which way.
I am a rough tongue that shoots missiles into empty space- 
Because Mommy told me that was the only way you get by.
I am imperfectly, inexplicably beautiful,
I am the evergreen tree in February, living in the the face of adversity, 
I am three wishes from a genie,
Seven days it took to create the world,
One thousand nights in a sultan's chamber, 
Forty years across a desert praying-
I am a writer, a singer, a friend, a daughter. 
And I am my own.
There. I said it.
I belong to me.
Not you, not him, not her, not anyone.
I am not going to be paralyzed by you at fourteen,
I am not going to have you listed as an emergency contact 
Whenever I need someone to talk to
Because the silence in my head is too overwhelming. I am not going
To watch galaxies of red dripping down white forearms,
Done crudely with a shaving razor when you become too powerful.
Because your so-called love is quick and violent and oh so perfectly sculpted 
And it kills from the outside in-
Curdling the blood, cracking the bones and emptying the eyes of all shine.
But I will not surrender to that toxic personification of you.
I will not have your name be the last that graces my lips-
I will not only survive,
I will live.
I will live each day like it is my first and my last-
With wonder, with amazement, with speed, with courage 
And most of all without you.
Without your whispering words of grief and malice. 
Without your fear.
I will go everywhere, do everything, laugh, cry, smile, scream-
And it won't matter how deep I go, I will always climb back up and try to make my life better.
I will no longer sit in the corner at parties-
I will sing until my voice disappears.
I will talk the ear off anyone who'll listen.
I will hang on to the night until it is over.
And I will help that girl over there. With the brown-blonde hair and glasses and so much of you. 
And in the end, you'll lose.
Soon, you'll get a letter from her, too.