Lonely Child: a story of a girl whose life was shortened because of bullying
All 370 pairs of eyes were focused on her as she walked across the stage, beautiful blond hair caressing her back. She focused on walking as a wave of nervousness washed over her. This wasn't Tania's first time performing on stage before her schoolmates, but having everyone staring and snickering, and the feeling of her heart in her throat made her feel about two feet tall. She wished she could just disappear into the floor but she had to do this, for herself. At least that is what her psychologist said.
She stopped at the center of the stage and surveyed the crowd before her with great big brown eyes. There was no sign of them. Her parents never did, but she always hoped they would choose to see her perform.
Tania balanced the violin on her shoulder and lifted her bow. Before she could even strike a note, a loud fake yawn resonated from the crowd evoking peals of loud laughter.
"G-g-get s-s-star-started already'" one voice said.
"Yeah, d-d-d-do it qui-qui-quickly," another added.
Shaking like a leaf, her heartbeat deafening in her ears, she started to play. It was a piece she loved and had been practicing for weeks. It started out as an excerpt from Demanio's concerto then she added hip hop beats to it. She thought it was wonderful and her tutor said it was creative and fun.
Soon after she started playing, someone stood up in the middle of the crowd, hands planted over her ears and screamed, "Make it stop! Make it stop!"
Through her tears, she managed to see that even some of the adults seated at the back were laughing uncontrollably while their children hurled insults at her.
Tania ran off the stage crying and stormed through the exit door backstage; stopping only long enough to pick up her carrying case for her violin. She did not dare stay for someone to find her. She ran along the sidewalk under the streetlights until she could turn into a dark alley. Walking in the darkness, she thought how pitiful and pathetic she was. She had promised herself she would not run away again.
After walking for nearly fifteen minutes, Tania opened a freshly whitewashed gate and walked through the backyard up to the kitchen window. This was where she had been living since she was five months old. She peered into the kitchen window and stared at the couple sitting at the table for what seemed like hours. She felt like she owed them so much.
"They've given me so much," she thought. "Why do I always disappoint them? I'm so stupid.” Feeling extremely lonely, she threw herself down into a chair.
Having heard noises on the back porch Trevor Ranche moved from his seat beside his wife in their kitchen and flipped a switch, flooding their back yard with a bright fluorescent light. Unlocking the back door he scanned the yard and saw his sixteen-year-old daughter huddled in a big porch chair.
"Oh you're home. How was it?"
"It wa-wa-was f-f-fine," she forced a smile up at him, focusing on the crucifix hanging from a gold chain around his thick muscular neck. She would not dare tell him she was booed off the stage.
"Good. Good. Moreover, you did not stay until late, good. Now come inside, I'm sure you have things to do." He held the door open as she picked up her belongings and trudged into the house.
"Hi m-m-mom," she stammered the greeting as Julia's head bobbed on her shoulders, her eyes scrutinizing her freshly manicured nails.
There were so many different emotions bouncing inside Tania as she bounded up the stairs and practically ran into her room. Throwing her things on the floor after carefully locking her door, she sprawled out on her bed. She reached into the pillow and felt around for the pocket she had sewn into the pillow. When she found the little slot she reached in and pulled out a small purple hardcover book with a tiny pink padlock that held the two covers close.
Friday, June 8
I just got back from that stupid concert at school and as usual, it was a nightmare. I ran off the stage crying, AGAIN. It was like being right back in first grade. I couldn't help it though. It felt as is something took over my body that I couldn't control. I felt so stupid, cowardly, and dumb.
Why does this always happen to me!
Mom and Dad weren't there. In a way I'm glad they didn't come. I don't think I could bear them seeing me in the condition I was in. That's not the daughter they want…
She rolled over on the bed as she remembered the first time they told her of her history, her real history. They had brought her home from preschool one afternoon and they were all sitting in the living room. She remembered the feeling of loneliness that spread over her body when they explained to her that she was adopted.
Trevor and Julia had been married for five years. They knew they would never be able to have children naturally. So a decision was made to adopt. She remembered being very happy as a little girl, even after she found out she was adopted. She would stay home, read, and play in the tree house her father had built in the backyard.
Everything had been perfect until she was seven. Her speech began to slur, and her hand-eye coordination started to deteriorate. Julia and Trevor took her to the best doctors and therapists; and while they managed to slow down her coordination problems, her speech became worse. At ten years old, Tania's speech was completely unclear. She would stutter every time she tried to speak, sometimes so badly she would bite her tongue and lips.
Tania became even more of an outcast in her community. She had no friends and was on the receiving end of insults and ridicules.
That's not the daughter they wanted to have. I bet if they had known I'd be such a screw-up they would never have chosen me. They don't even pay attention to me anymore. Just now when I came in Mom didn't even look at me. Its like she's disgusted with what I've become.
It's like I don't exist.
No one understands how absolutely horrible I feel. And I can't talk to mom and dad about it.
I tried once when the girls at school had started sticking sanitary napkins with strawberry syrup on it on my back. Those bitches!
Dad said I should ignore it. How the hell is someone supposed to ignore that! Mom just gave me that pathetic look and basically told me to suck it up (only not exactly in those words).
Now that I think about it, my 'parents' don't even seem to care. Yeah they take the time to plan everything for me. Every second of every day (and night) is stuck to the fridge on a big blue calendar. Its like they want to keep me as busy as possible so they don't have to be around me.
I HATE my life!
I HATE this.
I HATE me.
By now tears were streaming down Tania's face and falling into her book.
I keep telling myself that its just another low, that I'll be fine soon, but the cycle never ends. And its as if my lows are longer and more frequent than my highs. I just want the pain to stop.
The last time I was like this I ended up having my stomach pumped. I wasn't really trying to end my life, I just didn’t want to feel anything.
Tania rolled over on the bed, staring up at the ceiling.
I have to do this. This time I'm going to do it right.
This time I'm not going to be humiliated or embarrassed.
I'm going to fix this once and for all.
What's the point, I have no friends, no real family. My biological mother threw me in the trash for crying out loud.
Isn't that proof enough that I don’t belong here.
She glanced at the clock beside the table, 11:47; her parents would be asleep. She threw the book across the pillow, walked quietly to the bathroom, and began filling the bath. Tania knew exactly where her parents 'hid' their medications. She felt around inside the linen closet for the detergent box. Wrapping her fingers around the cardboard box, she pulled it from between perfectly folded, fluffy white layers of cotton. She went through the contents of the box, until she found the bottle containing her mother's sleeping pills.
Undressed, she slipped into the bath, now half-filled with soothing warm water. Her eyes filled with tears as she lined up the pills on the edge of the bath. Sixteen in all. She smiled as she wondered how much she would be able to get down in time.
"They deserve this," she thought, "They should've treated me better."
She swallowed them two at a time as quickly as possible. There was no going back now. Her body started to relax, sinking deeper into the tub, eyelids drooping close. The last thing she saw were the four tiny pills being washed over the side of the tub as the water overflowed. Feeling the urge to sit up, she thrashed about in the tub to stop the water from invading her nose, but she had no control over her body. It was done.