Fear, everyone feels it but most survive it. Many are unfounded but hers, hers is real; men are evil, sick, selfish, and vile, but most of all they are sexual, and to her, this beautiful declaration of love has become more terrifying than words can express through simple explanation. There is one man, one man in particular, the man that started it all, the man that makes her want it to end, he haunts her mind and steals her sleep. He lives in her dreams, and it is always the same dream; every night she tries to sleep, and every night she is waken by the same damn dream. Her name is Allison DeFenta, and although everyone has bad dreams, but this dream is real, this dream is killing her.
In the dream, she is waking up, to the smell of fresh coffee and sounds of the birds singing. Everything feels like a normal day, but there is still his nagging feeling deep inside her gut. She walks to the mirror and sees her normal everyday face, a fifteen-year-old Caucasian girl, overweight and hideous. She feels her everyday mixture of excitement and dismay, with a splash of hopelessness added in for color. Stepping into the shower she goes through the everyday routine of making sure she does not add to the list of reasons that every single boy in New York City finds her unattractive. Going downstairs, she eats her everyday breakfast of way too many calories, steps into her everyday Converse shoes and steps out her everyday front door and into her everyday bus sitting in her everyday seat in the back, alone. She hears the everyday gossip about boys from girls and girls from guys.
Once she arrives at the massive everyday school she goes to her everyday locker, takes out her everyday school supplies, and goes to her everyday class. Freshman English, a class of forty-five students, gender ratio of nineteen babbling boys, twenty-five giggling girls, and one disgusting creature named Allison DeFenta. The class consists primarily of an hour and a half of pointless everyday bullshit about what the class was assigned to read the other night. Today it was some poem about the art of losing.
“I should know all about that,” Allison thinks as the class continues with its bullshit. “After all I lost my virginity to my own father.”
She remembers it all too well. The art of losing sure was easy to master; “shut up, lay down, don’t fight, I’ll kill your sister if you tell anyone.” It only went on from when she was twelve to when she was fourteen when the school taught about sex in health class. She told, and now her sister is dead and her father is in prison. That was over a year ago, but she still goes through her everyday breakdown when the memory is triggered. After her everyday visit to the guidance office, she goes on to second period; math class. Once that bullshit about equations and variables is over, she goes to lunch, everyday slop served on a Styrofoam tray.
Allison believes with some degree of certainty that the majority of New York’s pollution is indirectly caused by this school’s cafeteria. That is why she packs her lunch; a pack of twizzlers and celery sticks with a massive cup of peanut butter, all washed down with a 12 oz. bottle of vodka disguised as a 12 oz. bottle of awful smelling water. She sits alone at her everyday lunch table trying to disguise the fact that she cannot stand up straight. Once lunch is over, she wobbles her way to the bathroom and goes through her everyday routine of puking up everything she ate and drank.
Obviously, she skips the next class, Study Hall, instead of sitting in a classroom writing about all the things that she hates about herself, she sits in the handicap stall and cry.
Finally, the dream deviates from the everyday.
Someone walks in.
“It is a boy, in the girl’s bathroom, the bathroom on the empty side of the school.”
“I heard someone crying. Is there anybody in here?”
“Maybe if I’m quiet he will go away.”
Footsteps, getting closer.
“Allison is that you?”
“It is him.”
“I’m coming in sweetheart”
“It’s locked honey, can you open the door?”
“Go away! Please get out of here!”
The door shakes.
“What’s wrong Allee? Don’t you miss your daddy?”
“It opens. How did that open?”
“There you are. I’ve been looking all over for you!”
“A knife. In his hand. Bloody.”
“You’ve been crying! Come on. Give daddy a hug, you will feel so much better.”
“I can’t move. His hand, touching my face. My skin, crawling away.”
“Your skin is so soft, you haven’t changed a bit.”
“I can feel it, I’m going to puke.”
“It’s been so long baby. I missed you so much!”
“How can he say this? How does he smile? Doesn’t he remember, doesn’t he know what he did?”
“I know you think what I did was wrong, but I only did it because I love you so much. I could not stop myself. Once I got a taste of your skin, the feel of your body, I cannot stop myself from loving you. This is just my way of showing it.”
“Paralyzed. That is what this is called. I need to move, to get away, right now.”
“You look so tense, aren’t you excited that we get to spend time together again?”
“Fuck you. That is what was supposed to come out of my mouth. However, something went in instead, his fingers.”
“Now just calm down and hold still, this will all be over soon. Try to enjoy this. Not every girl your age gets to do this with such an experienced and well equipped man.”
“Christ Allee, you got so much better at this.”
“Thank god, that is where it ends. When I awake, I can still feel it inside my mouth, suffocating me. My skin crawls. If I don’t do this, it might just crawl off my body. I take the box from under my dresser and pick up the blade. I need this.”
She loves the feeling. The skin separating at the touch of the blade, it is only four in the morning; the dream only ever allows her two or three hours. For almost half an hour, she carves her flesh, ‘slut’, ‘freak’, and ‘stupid’. Putting labels on herself, not for others to see, but as a reminder for herself, every time she looks in the mirror, “this is all you will ever be.” After the bleeding is done, she lays in bed staring at the ceiling not daring to close her eyes lest the dream take over again.
Once the morning comes, she repeats her routine, just as the dream enacts. She is exhausted, tired of everything. The dream is just too much for her to take, and she’s out of room on her arms and legs to cope. She could pretend to be sick; skip school and go solicit men to buy her more alcohol, but something inside tells her she has to go to school today. Although she knows her father will not be there, she has her mother check every night. He is still in Sing Sing getting ass-fucked by his Arabian cellmate.
Despite the knowledge that he cannot hurt her, physically, anymore, she still has the feeling of him stuck in her mouth. Every man in the hallway has his sick face staring at her; every time she bumps into a guy, she feels his hands rubbing her shoulders. Her skin crawls, her brain screams with anxiety, it is a miracle that she can go through the everyday shit storm that is life when no place is safe. He is everywhere, he always wins, and her psychologist tells her that he is gone, but he is not. He is always there.
She knows she could end it. It wouldn’t even be difficult, she has access to every single suicide strategy that exists; sky scrapers to dive from, guns to stick in her mouth, pills to overdose, razors to slit, train tracks to lie down on, cars to jump in front of and rope to hang from. She often wonders which one she would choose if she was going to do it. She will not ever know; she lives for someone, she lives for him. Ryan Engels, he might actually be the world’s most attractive and edgy seventeen year old in the entire western hemisphere. He listens to Senses Fail, he drinks himself to sleep, and he hates everyone. He is like her soul mate. Today she made a resolution; she will sit with him on the bus, fuck what the bitch who drives the bus says, this is happening.
The moment she steps foot on the bus she sees him and freezes. Before she knows it, ten seconds have passed and he is staring at her.
“Hey Ryan” she says awkwardly.
“Hey, umm, are you looking for a seat?”
“Is he talking to me? He is. Ryan Engels is asking me if I am looking for a seat.” She thinks excitedly. “Yes, can I sit with you?” He is moving his stuff “holy shit I am going to be sitting with the most amazing specimen of the male gender to have ever existed.”
“Wait, I’m not moving. Come on Allison! Step forward he is like three feet away!” she urges herself forward. It seems like minutes pass before she reaches his seat. “Sorry about that, someone was sitting in my seat.” She lies.
“No, actually I wanted to talk to you.”
“What?” she asks surprised. “He is smiling, I love that smile.”
“I wanted to talk to you about something.”
“Oh, umm, about what?” She asks.
“Nothing in particular, you just seem so sad all the time and you never talk to anyone.”
“Why do you care?” She blurted.
“I just do. Do I need a reason to care about another human being?”
“I’m fine” she lied.
“Show me your arms Allison.”
“No.” She answered, pulling away.
“Allee, it’s over a hundred degrees outside and you’re wearing a sweater. There’s only one reason anyone would be doing that.”
“Don’t call me Allee, no one but my dad ever called me Allee.” She screamed. She gets up to move away, he grabs her arm. She feels it, the gentle warmth, it is sickening, and he has a grip like her fathers.
“I’m sorry, what the hell is wrong?”
“Don’t touch me, don’t even look at me, I knew this would happen. He ruined me and nothing will ever be the same. I’m sorry but I can’t do this anymore.”
“Allee don’t go.”
“No Ryan, I have to. ‘ Just save yourself, ‘cause it’s too late for me,’” She screamed, running to the back of the bus. She meant it, she finally see’s, it is too late; she can never be the same again. She pulled the emergency hatch and jumped out. She ran and ran down the road and never looked back. Headlights show in the distance. She wondered if this could be the light at the end of her tunnel.