It Could Get Worse

Just Keep Smiling

Its so hard to tell people to stop. To leave you be, and let you be happy. What do you say? If you say that they
e the problem then you
e shifting the blame. You
e projecting because suddenly you
e the problem in the eyes of everyone. You can run and you can hide.

Legs dangling from the bridge while water rushes below. My feet feel like they
e floating, almost as if they
e walking on the breeze. The freeing feeling of being close to something nobody controls. Nobody can tell the rushing water what to do, but the currents. Who tells the currents what to do? There are so many ways to process hurt Im not sure if theres a correct way to deal anymore. Two people could have the same experience, and both end up completely different. One person is the water. Calm, rushing, not listening to anybody but the currents. The other person ends up as the currents. Small rushes of intensity, a pushing force, and listening to nobody. While one person grows from hurt the other gets lost. They suddenly are only attracted to those who will hurt them. They see the other getting their life together, and start to think. Maybe Im the problem. The common denominator. Thats the problem though, hurt can make you soft or make you hard. While both can be positives and negatives they don decide if you
e the problem. Abusive people hurt on purpose, or for the end goal of control. So, if you
e wondering if you
e the problem, its probably not you.

⇜ ⇝

My feet wish to sit down as I stare at his stupid face puffing up with agitation. ”Im so sick and tired of life being simple. I want a complicated life. ” I think someone has watched too many coming of age movies. ”Baby, I need more, someone more, Im sorry. ”

”So, are you breaking up with me? Is that whats happening here? ”

”Yeah, ” he says defiantly like hes holding his manly ground. I roll my eyes and stomp away. ”You aren gonna say anything?! ”

e stupid Charlie! ” My voice echoes while my feet rush back to him. I give him a good shove and he takes two steps back. ”Go home to your mansion and your simple life. You can kiss my ass! ” I kick dirt at him feeling pissed.

”Screw you Mona! ” He stomps off to his car, kicking up dirt as he speeds away. I keep walking as fast as I can, but after ten minutes Ive used up the little amount of energy I have. Hes so dense, he always thinks he wants to not be rich and preppy, but hes too privileged to ever be complicated. He does this all the time, then tomorrow after school hell call me asking if we can hang out. Ill say yes, because without Charlie I have nothing.

What bothers me though, is when we do these break up scenes, Im left feeling nothing. Not that, ”Im so heartbroken ” nothing, but the I don care about anything feeling. Why would I care? I always have to pretend to be someone else when Im with Charlie. Him and I have dated on and off for the last year, and he doesn know anything about me. He never felt the need to get to know me. Hes never asked me anything about myself. He doesn know my middle name, my fathers name, or my favorite color for Christs sake. I always have him pick me up at my ex-friend, Lils house. The truth is I pretend that I live with a well to do family like everyone else in my school. Honestly, sometimes pretending is more work then just living with reality.

When I enter my real neighborhood I pull my hood up, and hold my keys between my fingers. The grungy buildings look over me. Nobody from my school would ever consider coming close to this part of town. This is where the druggies, dealers, and undesirables, as they say, live. Theres a hooker on every other corner, and a meth addict dying on almost every wall.

At school I pretend to be this preppy girl whose father is always away on business. In reality Im the girl who has no father, and hardly a mother. I live in a dangerous part of the city, while my fathers mother pays for my expensive school. He always wanted me to be well educated. His mother hates my mother and I, not that I can blame her. If I was her I would hate us too.

I rush into our apartment that we pay $100 a month for. Our landlord is some greasy perv who stays two doors down. I don think she even pays rent anymore, to be honest. Lately, Ive been sneaking in, and squatting in my room after shes passed out. I try to not interact with her very much because its never good. She also asked me to stop living there a couple months ago, so Im left to sneak around.

When I open the door my mother lies on the couch, her skirt pushed up a little too far. Considering shes passed out, our landlord must have stopped by to get his dual payment. I look at the pathetic women who I still somehow call mother. Yes, shes a meth head, but not only that. She does anything she can get. Shell do meth, coke, acid, even your grandfather if theres a possibility he can hook her up. My shoes make a tapping sound as I walk across the flat carpet in my bedroom. The blankets are cold on my neck, and smell of cigarettes and weed. I lay in a bed meant for a 12-year-old. My toes grab the back of my shoes and slide them off onto the floor. My feet dangle off the bottom of the bed, and I feel the carpet brush my toes. I close my eyes with my pocket knife clenched tightly in my fist. Its a dangerous world, you can let your guard down, especially when you
e asleep.

⇜ ⇝

I wake up early in the morning to sirens outside. My heart jumps when I come out of my room to the shuffle of shoes in our kitchen. I slowly come out my eyes glued to the door when the landlord pops out. ”Hey there kid! Long time no see! ” I puke in my mouth.

I stare at the scar running across his cheek that I gave him after he tried sneaking into my bed one night. The thought of his surprise when I pulled a knife out from under my pillow makes me laugh. ”What the hell are you doing here so early? ”

”I guess you don know since you haven been home much lately. Your mother and I have decided to start seeing each other. ”

”Home, ” I whisper to myself, he gives me a funny look when I laugh to myself. ”Good luck, because once she knows you two are going out, shell start asking for a lot more. ” I open the front door, ”Oh, and a word of advice? ” I turn to look him in the eyes, ”Stay away from the study room, ghosts, if you know what I mean. ” I see his face turn whiter before I dip out with a smirk.

Disgusting, I actually feel a bit bad for the nasty little man. My legs prickle at the wind hitting my bare legs. Damn private schools and their school girl costumes. I almost think the vibration of my phone is a shiver. ”Hello! ” I say holding out the e.

”Hey Mona, its me, Lil. ”

”Um, hi? Whats up? ”

”So, I heard you and Charlie broke up last night…again. ”

”Yeah, and? ”

”I just wanted you to know you don deserve him is all. Bye. ” She hangs up, ending our pointless conversation.

I start to see the school when the sound of tires on dirt reaches my ears. The car rolls down its window when it parks. Charlie sits in the drivers seat and gives me a nod, so I get in. ”Hey, I wanted to apologize for how I acted last night. ” Getting straight to the point, thats new. ”I was an asshole, and shouldn have said that. ” He lays his hand on my thigh while staring me in the eyes. I know what hes searching for, Im just not sure if I wanna give it to him. I like my teeth searching for what to say.

”Look Charlie, weve been together for a while. Im just not sure if I want to pick this back up again. I think I might need some time to think. ”

”Okay, just know that when you start missing me, Im always here. Whether we
e together, or not. ” He says as he slides his hand up the corner of my uniform.

The realization of what my problem is hits me like a truck. My feet hit the pavement while my legs run for the warmth of school. I stay with people who use me, and I use them right back. Neither of us care. Im basically my mother.

I feel sick all day as the idea swirls around my head. Have I really been acting like my mother? Am I the kind of person who stays with people I don love just because he buys me stuff, and I don have to pretend to be happy around him? He just ignores all emotions except his own. Is that what makes me happy, is that what I want?

I ignore Charlie when he grabs my hand at the end of the day, trying to flirt with me. I tell him I have to go home right after school. I slide my eyes to see if hes mad, but hes oblivious to any words that I made. His eyes eat up a younger girl next to us. His half smile makes her blush while out intertwined fingers burn. Pathetic. I throw his finger off mine, and leave while trying not to make a scene. A part of me wants him to follow me, to plead and ask me to come back. Maybe even for him to convince me not to go home right after school. To get on his knees and tell me he loves me. I want him to beg me to be his again, that he has eyes for me and me alone. Hell, Id settle for a convincing please.

My knees shake in the wind as I walk next to the train tracks, alone. I stare at my feet letting them take me wherever they want. I don have anything to do, or anywhere to go. Mom wouldn be passed out this early, and normally Im with Charlie. My neck prickles to the earths breath. I stop and turn around to find a strong gust of wind. I close my eyes to keep dirt from flying in them. I feel little pellets of train dirt hit my cheeks and chest. Slowly my hair settles against my face. My eyelids rise to two skinny boys walking my way. Normally, you don worry about two small teens, but in this neighborhood they
e prime picking for gangs.

I spin on my heel, trying to act carefree and seamless. Walk quicker, but don be obvious I think. My hand slides up from my leg to my other hand, I rub them together. ”Oh man, its so cold out! ” I try to make them say. I flip them back, the back of my hands sliding on my slick, black coat. My right fingers feel the tip of my pocket knife right as someone grabs my elbow. Im yanked to face something scarier than the two skinny, white boys.


⇜ ⇝

Those cheeky dimples, and bright white teeth blind my vision. I try to pull my arm out of his strong hands. I feel the bruise growing under his fingers on my wrist, and stop pulling. ”What you doing around here hun? ” The white boys come up and stand next to us.

”I live around here poindexter. ” The white boys give me a pity chuckle.

”Nuh uh, I thought you were livin in one of dem fancy mansions your friends own. ”

”You mean my boy….friend? He does live in a mansion, but I don live there. Normal people don move in together until after high school. ” I give him a cocky, glare.

”Bitch got a quiet mouf on her for being part of the ghetto. ” The blonde boy says with a lisp.

”And you have a lack thereof, bitch. ” He puffs out his chest towards me, but stops when Leo raises his hand. He gives them a look, and they start to leave. My hands start to precipitate, and suddenly the white boys are my safety walking away. That evil grin turns to me, and my heart starts racing. I see a new tattoo wrap up his arm from his wrist. Stupid Charlie, its not his fault but Im going to blame him anyway.

”Miss me? ” He says after a while of silence. I give a huff and look down the tracks looking for an escape plan if I need it. He grabs my chin and jerks my face back to his. ”Look, I understand you
e playing around with this new bitchy personality, but we both know thats not you. You can turn off this fake badass act. We know you
e just a scared little girl. You don have to act in front of me babe. ” My blood boils and my fists clench at his analysis of me. I take my free arm and swing it at his ear. It won do much, but a hit is better than nothing. His head turns a little at the shock of the smack. When his eyes turn to mine again, they
e on fire. My leg sweeps up to hit him in the knee, but to my surprise he catches it. He gives me a smirking glare while he pulls my leg out from under me. My back hits the ground with an audible thump that echoes in my ears.

The sky is cold and gray, as is he. ”You know I don like being mean to you Mona, but when you act like that what am I supposed to do? ” I try to kick my foot out of his hand. He gives me an angry grunt, and starts dragging me down the tracks. I keep trying to get my foot out of his grip while his temper rises. I take my left foot and rise it above his hand. While trying to keep balance I swing it down on his fingers. He shouts and drops me. Im on my feet as fast as I can and running. My brain just keeps telling me to go to the buildings. Nobody will probably help me, but Leo won do anything with people around. Hopefully.

I get past the corner of the nearest building, and at the front of the shop is an empty street. I look to the sides and see one man passed out on the ground. ”Damn it. ” I go to run down the street when I get yanked back by the waist. My back hits his chest, his breath hot in my ear.

”You act like Im gonna hurt you stupid. ” He chuckles quietly in my ear. He turns me around to face him, holding on to my elbow this time. I try to move and he squeezes making me wince.

”Considering who you are, I don expect anything less. ”

”Christ, you act as if Im this big scary guy. You went around telling everyone how awful I was. Oh yeah, Lil told me the little sob story you told everyone. Why do you think the guys don talk to you anymore dummy. ”

I scoff, ”So, you two together now? Or is she still just hoping youll give her the time of day? ”

”We ain together, together. ” He says with a little half-smile.

”Impressive, you got a girl with no self-respect to sleep with you. ”

”Yeah well, its my type. ” He looks me up and down. My middle finger goes down almost as soon as it is up. ”Look, I thought this hard, bad girl routine was cute at first, but you
e starting to piss me off. ” My fingers start to go numb, but I glare and stare him down. ”Why you acting like this? Lil and I didn start sleeping together till we broke up. ”

”I wouldn care even if you did. You
e not my problem anymore. ” He scoots in closer grabbing my check and chin with his hand. His face sits inches from mine, so close his breath is almost my own.

”Why you gotta be cruel to me all the time? Im trying to be friendly and you
e so hostile. ” I try to pull out of his grips on me. He pulls me toward him while I keep trying to get out of his arms. ”Knock it off. ” My head yanks back as he grabs my hair by the roots. I feel his hand on my chest shoving me to the ground before I even see him coming. My ass hits the ground with a sharp bite of pain with my back following. I see the swing of the fist seconds before the sound of the punch echoes from Leos face. He looks back forward wiping a little blood from his broken lip. His eyes are on mine as soon as I look up. The death glare of his never let go of mine.

”Leave our kind be. Trash. ” Leo smiles, sends a kiss my way and leaves. A hand reaches down towards me. I push myself up off the ground, and my eyes become level with a white shirt and jacket. His hand touches my cheek, ”You have a scratch on your face. ” His voice is so monotone it sounds as if hes bored. I meet his eyes, ”You live around here? ” I see a bit of his dark brown hair hanging in his face.

”Uh, yeah. ”

”Why are you wearing that uniform then? Did you steal it? ”

”What the hell are you talking about? ”

”Its full of dirt. Ill be letting the principle know that a poor girl stole a uniform tomorrow. ” He turns on his heel and stalks off. I stand stunned for a while. I head to my moms apartment when I break out of the shock. Guess Ill have something to deal with at school tomorrow.

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