“You’re crap, you know that? We didn’t want you here,” she says.
A moth is flying blindly in the light. It batters its soft head against the bare light-bulb and I think it must hurt, as the heat scorches, but it comes back for more, again and again. The thumps of its dumb little head hit me like she does with her words.
“We even had to get someone else in here because of you. You just hang around don’t you? You don’t have any friends. You know we don’t want you don’t you?”
Does she really expect answers? I’ve got answers, but they stick in my throat as tears prick and a heavy tightness pinches my chest. Everyone is listening. Eight of us packed into a tiny cabin in bunks for the first night of our school trip. I can hear their breathing, and I know they’re awake.
“Why do you do it? You should just go away, cos I don’t like you. None of us do. You’re like glue, sticking to us. And you’re so booooring. You just hang around looking stupid. Because you are stupid if you think anyone would want you.”
She's always smart, in expensive clothes. They look good on her – cool, and she’s cute and her hair is flat and pretty, and she has dimples. My mum won’t buy cool clothes. My mum says they’re a waste of money, because they go out of fashion so quick. My clothes all look like I got them from the charity shop.
“You’re lucky you’ve got us. You know no one else would have you in with them. You should be grateful we let you. What are you for anyway – you’re just pointless aren’t you? Point-less.”
Maybe she’s right, maybe I am. What’s the point of me? I should get up and get dressed and go and sit outside. Go and sit on the steps or something. But someone’ll only come along and I’ll get into trouble, and they’ll want to know what happened and what’ll I say? I can’t tell anyone, because this shouldn’t be happening. I don’t want to have to be protected because it will only get worse, and I’m ashamed, because it’s my fault isn’t it? That I’m so crap and stupid and worthless I can’t fight my own battles.
“I hate you. Why don’t you ever say anything? You’re pathetic! You just lie there and listen to me and you’re so pathetic you don’t even say anything! I’m walking all over you. Everyone can walk all over you, and you let them. You’re like this sheep that follows us around.”
And they do, they make maa sounds like a sheep when they see me. Specially her. She hates me? Well I hate her back. I hate her so much I want to bash her stupid head right in till her yucky nasty blood splatters all over the place and her teeth are falling out. I want to get a sharp pencil and punch it into her dimples and turn them into big stinking holes in her face. I want to batter her all over. And I want her to fight me back to make me madder. And I want her to lose lose lose.
But I don’t because I’m crap and pathetic, and anyway there’s a part of me thats all hollowed out with what she’s said. It’s like she’s taken a knife and carved out a big chunk. My mum says if you ignore them they’ll go away. It’s not true.
She shuts up in the end. And it’s all quiet apart from the words that echo and echo, bouncing around in my brain in jagged black and red.
And I lie in the dark, crying quietly so no one hears, and I know I’ll always remember. A little bit of me will always be stuck here in this cabin that smells like polish and wet socks; like the moth, forever hitting my head against the burning light. I know it, because it’s the kind of thing you never forget, no matter how much you want to.