The limo ride is a slow one
I sit in awkward silence,
Staring at my own personal grim reaper
She looks a lot like me.
Only, older, more exhausted. Sunken looking.
I want to say something to her.
To ask why this is my time.
But I can’t seem to find the words.
I look out the window,
I recognize this building.
And the kids playing outside of it.
This is my old elementary school, and those are all my old friends.
I am shocked at how close death can be to these children and they have no idea
One red-haired girl, in particular, stands out.
It is me as a young child.
While all my friends are playing on the playground,
I am walking around the school path pushing my wheelchair bound friend.
Her and I moving in silence.
But in that silence, we say so much,
She teaches me so much about life at such a young age.
I stare in shock as other children run up just to taunt us.
Making fun of her because she can’t walk or speak
Making fun of me for spending my time with someone like that.
We drive until the scene is no longer visible
I go back to staring at my grim reaper.
I have so many questions for her.
About the afterlife,
Why I died,
How I died.
Yet I still cannot find the words.
The reaper won’t even look at me,
She looks straight ahead,
Almost as though I’m not even there.
I look out the window again as another scene unfolds.
It is the same red haired girl
But this time I look to be in the fifth grade
The teacher just asked a question in class
It’s an easy question, I know the answer almost immediately
Filled with excitement I raise my hand and wave it around.
I quickly lower in when the girls sitting behind me start laughing hysterically
Making comments about my flabby arms and my weight.
I watch my younger self zip up my hoodie and lower my head
Trying to pretend like I don’t exist.
Trying to disappear.
As I watch this unfold I feel anger wash over me.
I clench my fists and turn to the reaper.
This time I don’t have a problem finding my words
“Why are you showing me this?”
She continues to stare ahead.
As though I finally succeeded and I don’t exist.
I watch out the window
Waiting for the next horrible scene to unfold in front of me
It doesn’t take long.
I am standing in the gym teachers’ office.
Grade seven, new to middle school.
She is threatening to fail me because I won’t go swimming with the class.
I am in tears, frantically trying to explain to her that the class is full of people who make fun of me.
She doesn’t listen
She doesn’t care.
The scene quickly flashes to a different one in the same year.
I am standing outside the gym with another girl.
She is picking on me in front of the rest of the class.
The young me has had enough and shoves the girl into the vending machine.
A teacher runs in and pulls me towards the office while the whole class laughs at me.
The scene shifts again at dizzying speeds.
Same school, same year.
Standing outside English class waiting for the door to be unlocked.
A young boy is picking on me because I had no friends.
I angrily punch the wall and walk away.
Going home and skipping the rest of the day.
The scene fades for a moment and I close my eyes.
Willing this hell to stop.
I open my eyes.
Hoping to be back at home where I belong.
No such luck.
I open my eyes to see a face I never wanted to see again.
A thin boy with curly black hair.
I see him standing in front of seventh grade me.
Spewing hate filled words.
His words cut me deep even as I watch from the limo.
“No one likes you. You should just go kill yourself”
I watch my younger self have the same look of pain that I still feel.
Going and telling the teacher.
He does nothing, just tells me that “boys will be boys”
The scene fades to black again.
I look to the reaper.
“Please… stop…” begging her.
She turns to me.
Finally acknowledging my existence.
She points a bony finger to the window.
I look to where she’s pointing.
I see my mom and myself at fifteen or sixteen years old.
I remember this day like it was yesterday.
This is the day my world came crashing down around me.
We are in the parking lot of a store sitting in a car.
Mom turns to me and says those three words that will change everything.
“I can’t see”
Those three little words.
Turned our lives upside down.
I went from being the teenager to being the caregiver.
I couldn’t handle it.
I turn back to the reaper
I beg her to stop showing me this
I beg her to leave me in peace.
she turns to look at me.
It feels as though she is looking through me.
Into my soul.
She speaks, but her mouth doesn’t move.
Her words echoing through my mind.
“These are some of the worst points in your life.
These are the moments that kept you awake at night.
These are the moments that made you end your life”
-Shawna L Ferguson 2017