childhood essay

They were fearless at 12. They’d experienced scraped knees, bleeding faces, the fear of getting in trouble, the made up stories of how each happened. Stitches and straight jackets to hold them still for application of such. These kids lived for pavement and forest, made up fantasy lands, sledding into a plethora of thorn bushes (but only because that was the best hill on which to do so). Those endless elementary school summer days of self-entertainment, of making up games, of walking miles just to get somewhere that wasn’t home all were just precursors to all the fear they’d have to face at some point. That point would come much sooner than any of them expected.

She was barely thirteen years old and deathly afraid of living. There was no reason to be this way. She was pretty, five foot two, average weight, popular, didn’t need braces or glasses: all the things that mattered in middle school. She struggled every day to get out of bed. Thirteen with clinical depression. Her parents had no idea what to do with her, how to try and make her happy with who she was. Alive but not really living. Writing pages and pages on her arms with a straight razor. She spent every night stealing liquor just to try and sleep, overdosing on Cordicin Cough & Cold during the day because thats all she could get her hands on. Bugged eyes and movements like the dead fighting rigor mortis, she walks into her house floating somewhere above her body, unaware she’s even still a person, a complete tripping embodiment of everything she’d been wondering about her lack of humanity.
They were thirteen and questioning their existence. Hiding pills and razor blades in lockers at school. Writing notes in codes to each other about some inexplicable sadness none of them can describe. Hiding scars and burns, the smell of cigarettes, bags of weed. Hiding behind those brilliant smiles they practiced to perfection, flashing at anyone who happened to be looking. Hiding who they didn’t know they were. Hiding from everyone they’d ever loved. Hiding from each other, though they knew there was nothing but unconditional love behind those fake smiles.
He wore a mask so thick he was sure no one would ever see his face. Fourteen years old and downing Percocet and Irish coffee before school freshman year. He was unsure of himself, confused about his sexuality, striving beyond anything else just to be accepted, wanting just to be loved. Opiate waves of warm intensity washing over his frail scarred body, warm coffee and Bailey’s, that warm rank smell of alcohol permeating from his seven o’clock am breath. Dumb glazed eyes and that erosion of a smile he’d perfected so long ago.
There was always truth in their eyes. The mask always had holes cut out for the eyes. The only sign of humanity left in these cold children could be seen screaming for help from those sad eyes. Still cold, unsure really what it felt like to cry anymore, his green and her blue eyes were calling out to anyone who would stare deep enough past all the hurt. Finally someone did; their stares were mirror images of frigidity. They didn’t know themselves anymore, let alone each other. All the time they had spent building up walls, putting on masks, creating some facade of safety around them was really just forcing them farther from everyone they longed so much to know. When they looked at each other they knew they were lying to everyone, to themselves. They broke one day. Early spring and it was cold out. They sat on her tire swing quiet, sharing a cigarette, letting the rustling leaves fill in all the things they didn’t think needed to be said. She cried. He just held her hand and told her he knew. Told her everything would be okay and he knew what she was going through. Told her he loved her.

childhood essay

Devin Hussey

Ellicott City, United States

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