Her name was Candy.
I carved her features with my eyes as she wandered the bustling corridors. Many faces flicked past; hers the only one I remembered.
Years of fleeting smiles didn’t see a friendship grow.
I’ll never forget her.
She was pretty, as we all are.
Her skin looked to be brushed with the finest snow. I wondered if she felt as cold as she looked. Her pale nose was dusted with caramel freckles
She had deep grey eyes.
Not quite blue, not quite slate.
There was a story within those eyes.
I longed to delve into them, and ponder the round pebbles beneath my bare feet. I longed to push away her dark lashes and gaze into her wishing well.
The uncertain depths frightened me.
In year seven, I caught her crying in the school toilets.
Tiny diamantes formed in the corners of her stormy eyes and trickled down her cheeks like delicate raindrops. They glittered in the florescent lights and filled me with an intense need to dab away her pain with my cotton dress.
In year eight, I caught Candy smoking weed. She was getting stoned with year ten boys behind the science block. She had flashed me a guilty smile as those boys swore at me. They had told me they’d kill me if I dobbed them in. I stopped talking after that.
In year nine, they told me I needed help. Mrs Brown took me to Amanda James; the school counsellor, on Wednesdays after school. She was young, polite, convincing.
I still wouldn’t speak.
She asked me questions to trick me; played word games with herself until our time was up. I watched every movement of her wall-mounted clock. I hated Wednesdays.
In year ten, I dropped out. I started drinking too much.
I liked the way the ninth drunk always brought me numbness.
It was a predictable gift.
I was dependant.
Every morning I woke with a broken head, and a sick taste in my mouth that never quite went away.
I longed for fresh air and dreams I once had.
All I had was a stuffy room and a never-ending bottle that was always half empty.
I forgot hours, days, weeks at a time.
After school they threw me in a drug rehabilitation centre. It was the kind with group sessions and long corridors and shit food.
I saw horrifying things in that clinic.
Things that will haunt me forever.
Teenage girls scraped away anaemic skin with their chipped fingernails.
Teenage boys clawed at their faces when they saw a monster in the mirror.
I hung my head in sessions.
Not caring to put a face to another horrendous story.
One Sunday, in session, a female voice with a fine rasp spoke. I barely listened; couldn’t bare it.
“I started smoking weed in year seven… it was nothing serious. A few joints now and then… you know?”
A brief pause;
The counsellor spoke.
“By year eight I’d tried ecstasy and ice.
I got them off older friends.
They were great when I was upset.
My mum didn’t even notice. “
“By year nine I was taking Heroin.
I never thought I’d start selling myself for a hit.
But that’s what it came to…
I missed countless days of school; it didn’t matter as long as I was high.”
“What about your friends?”
“No one really missed me… That was how it felt anyway.
The downs were the worst. Crying and contemplating suicide. It made the highs even better”.
Shaking my head I stretched my fingers.
I watched the blue veins pulse blood through my body. There was no alcohol in my system. I had been sober for three months now.
What am I doing here? I’m not like these people anymore.
“I’m sorry…” the voice of the counsellor echoed in my ears.
You counsellors are never sorry. You can’t understand any of this.
“What did you say your name was?"
Finally I raised my eyes to those of the speaker. They were pools of grey- not quite slate, not quite blue. There was a story within those eyes. The uncertain hollowness startled me.
A sob caught in my throat as she spoke.
This story is about the age old saying…
“There’s two sides to every story”.
Its about the way we can misunderstand
things by allowing what we SEE to affect
our understanding of the ways things
What seems beautiful on the outside
May be falling apart on the inside.