She was beautiful, I watched her from my corner of the classroom everyday but I didn’t have the courage to actually walk up to her. I would be tagged a castaway if I did. She was constantly bullied because of her fatness, pushed around by the seniors and taunted by the classmates, but she took it quietly. She had faced a lot of things even adults could not bear. There was a story of how she was raped at the age of thirteen, she was discriminated by everyone who knew this story. Of course she was blamed, everyone was made to believe that she probably seduced her half brother – the rapist into raping her. I knew it was not true and I wanted to reach out but I couldn’t, she preferred keeping to herself. I saw the pain in her eyes and watched how she covered it with an emotionless face every time, it was painful to see her go through this but then again I couldn’t reach out. She probably would have rejected it anyway.
One day she came to school in a sweater, it didn’t make any sense because it wasn’t even the period for sweaters. She looked uncomfortable in them and also looked like she would pass away if she removed them as she held on to it. She stared into space all day, she was depressed, I could feel it in my bones. I wanted to reach out, I didn’t care anymore. There was pain in watching her in pains.
I counted the time as it passed, I prayed for recess so bad, I was feeling very positive about talking to her, I prayed to God to guide me for I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Then I heard the bell, I knew she wasn’t going to go for recess, she never went for recess, her insecurities took the best of her. I walked over to her desk, she had a book in her hands but she just stared into it, she was lost; she didn’t notice my shadow fall over her, I felt a pang in my heart, I was distraught. I stood there for a while contemplating whether or not trying to talk to her was a good idea and then she looked up and stared at me, her eyes were blank, it broke my heart.
“You know, if you’re going to bully me, you should wait till everyone is here so you’d give them a show” there was so much fear in her voice.
“I don’t want to bully you at all. I just want to be your friend” I told her with all my confidence flying out of the window.
“Of course. That’s what you all say, you’re just here to find out why I’m wearing a sweater so you’ll pass it round the whole school so they will have something new to talk about. There’s no story under this sweater, so you can go before the whole school sees you talking to me. They would label you if you’re caught” she bowed her head to hide the pain in her eyes but not before I caught it.
My heart broke into pieces, she was too beautiful to go through all these, I reached out to touch her face but she stiffened, I was scared she would pass away if I touched her.
“I’ll be your friend. You know I’ve been watching you for a while now” I started.
“I noticed” she jumped in.
“Can I walk you home today?” I asked
“Please” I pleaded as she looked up to face me.
Her pupils diluted as she looked at me, I felt like I could actually feel her pain, it felt terrible feeling like I could feel her pain.
“Please” I pleaded again.
“Okay” she whispered.
That afternoon, I had the longest walk of awkwardness as I walked with her, she kept mainly to herself, I tried making a conversation but she was uninterested. I didn’t give up, I kept walking her home everyday and I kept losing friends everyday till I was left with no one but her. She was beginning to trust me after so many months of trying to prove myself, she began to open up. She told me of how her mother left her with her father because she was too young to be a mother, she had committed suicide days after she left her. She was constantly blamed for causing the death of her mother, at home she was regarded as a bad omen. Her step brother had raped her when she was thirteen and when she tried to speak up, she was beaten by her father and locked up for days without food. He called her an attention seeker and promised he would make life a living hell for her and he did. She showed me the marks on her body from her father’s belts and wires. Then depression set it, to cure her depression, she began to eat to cover up and one day, her clothes fitted no more.
I felt really bad for her and told her how strong she was, I tried to make her laugh every time and reminded her always that her smile meant a lot. I had moved from being the school’s big boy to being just a boy but I didn’t mind as long as she was happy. She began to come out of her shell but she was was still bullied in school and it sent her to an automatic state of depression. Around me she was very happy and I never failed to make her realize she was important. She had made me a different person and it felt good to be different.
On her seventeenth birthday, we were walking home from school together and I reminded her that she was beautiful as I did everyday. She smiled more often bringing out the beauty in her.
Then I kissed her.
She was terrified and so she broke away from the kiss and ran away. She ran without looking back, I stood there confused as to whether I should run after her or whether I should give her time. I walked home dejected at the thought of being rejected.
The next day at school, she avoided me like a plague, she caught my gaze twice and looked away immediately she did. I sent her a note that read ‘I Love You. Its us against depression’. She read it and smiled painfully, she sent the note back after scribbling ‘I’m Sorry’ under.
“For what?” I mouthed as she looked back at me sadly.
She never replied.
She was found dead the following day in her room.
She had killed herself…
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