The Struggle To HelpMature

“…Ugliest little bitch in the school!”  I winced at the words that echoed inside my head, taunting me and knocking me down more than I thought it would.
Standing in front of the mirror in the girls’ bathroom, I studied my features intently. I looked at my plain brown eyes, brown skin and black hair, I had no sharp cheekbones or strong feminine jaw, didn’t have the permanent lip pout that most girls have. My body was built like a boy, with the long legs and arms, the flat torso and flat boyish hips. “…Ugliest little bitch…” I winced again and turned away from the mirror.
What was wrong with people that whenever they look at another person, they expect a beauty queen or king? How dare we have such imperfections in this modern world with the numerous plastic surgeries and concealer cover-ups? Why are we based on self-image and the way we’re depicted to others? I shook my head with a sigh. It wasn’t right, it wasn’t fair and it shouldn’t be that way.
Everyday I’m bullied, not just because I don’t have the perfect body or face but because I was an outcast, I was different enough to the point that instead of accepting it, they bully me. They make my life miserable simply because they don’t understand me and never took the time to do that. I hated them for it. I hated all of them with such a deep passion it made a ball of fire ignite within my belly, burning with such rage and hatred it staggered me.

The door to the bathroom opened and some of the popular girls strode in. They all paused to look at me with their usual looks of disdain, disgust and petty hate.
I sighed and faced them, waiting for the insults.
“What are you doing in here Alvera? Looking for your beauty?” The lead girl said and pretended to search around the bathroom and in the toilet cubicles. “Nope not in here, maybe like your social life, it was flushed down the toilet” she said with a venomous smile. They all laughed merrily and pushed me out of the way so they could apply more make-up to their caked faces.
Shaking from shame and anger, I left the bathroom to make my way toward the cafeteria to meet Hayden for lunch.

Striding into the packed cafeteria, I spotted Hayden sitting at our usual table, staring at his food with his face still purple and yellow from the bruises and marks that marred his skin.
Curiosity and sympathy built inside of me whenever I looked at the bruises on Hayden’s face. Who did that to him? Was it Isaac and the many jocks that taunted and teased him?
I sat opposite him and smiled. “Hay” I said softly.
He looked at me and nodded with a small smile then returned to staring down at the table and looking over at the table Isaac sat at, watching the two of us like a hawk.

Hayden always seemed a little distant from everyone, especially me, but I knew that it was just something to stay sane, to block out all of the pain. Biting my lip, I grabbed his arm gently to pull him to get his attention.
"I'm just going to say it, I don't know how the bruises and marks got there and I won't ask. If you want to tell me, then okay, I will listen." He watched me warily, not saying anything. I touched his shoulder in support. "I'm your friend Hayden, no matter what those jerks say or do to you, I'm your friend. You can count on me and I hope I can count on you, we're a team and I'll be by your side no matter what." I blinked away the unexpected tears and gave him a quick but gentle hug across the table.
He stiffened and pulled away from me just as the bell rang to go to class.
“Thanks” Hayden said and walked off. I watched him walked away before gathering my things to hurrying down to maths for the afternoon.

Feeling a little heavy hearted at Hayden’s distance, I struggled to focus on my work all through the lesson. In truth, I had no idea how to help somebody; I’ve never been in the position that would give me the chance to. What do you say? Do you back off and leave them be? I didn’t know, but Hayden was my only friend at this school. My heart ached for him; I knew what it was like to be so alone, to have nobody on your side or willing to fight for you.
Pain, when ignored, can grow and grow until it becomes all-consuming and unmanageable. Pain and I were always in the same corner, fighting over supremacy and dominance. But dealing with someone else’s pain? That was something I knew nothing about.

The bell rang again, signalling the end of the school day. Everyone stood up at once to make a beeline for the classroom door.
Shuffling out of class and down the school corridors, I made my way outside to where I saw Hayden waiting by his car. Hurrying over, I smiled at him.
“Alvera!” I turned around at the sound of my name and spotted Jonah walking toward me.
“Jonah?” He grinned at me then looked over at Hayden. “What’re you doing here?” I asked him.
He gazed back at me before looking back at Hayden. “I’m here to pick you up for your Voodoo teachings. Who’s this?” He asked with a small gesture toward Hayden.
Hayden stood watching Jonah with a small frown on his face. “Oh, Jonah that’s my friend Hayden. Hayden, my friend Jonah” I introduced awkwardly.
Jonah nodded at Hayden. “Nice to meet you” he said politely.
Hayden blinked and nodded back at him. “You too” he murmured. I cleared my throat and hitched my bag up on my shoulder more. “I guess I’m going with Jonah today Hayden, I’ll see you tomorrow?” He nodded before turning to get into his car and driving away.

“Come on, we better leave before there’s too much traffic” Jonah muttered while pulling me to where he had his car parked.
“Your friend seemed a little…distant” he commented as he drove out of the school gate.
“He’s going through a tough time right now, poor Hayden” I said softly. Jonah looked over at me and studied me.
“Yeah, I noticed the bruises on his face, I hope it wasn’t the same guy from the other day” Jonah said with a frown.
I sighed. “I don’t know if it is or not, Hayden probably won’t talk to me about it, which I totally understand but I’m worried about him” I whispered quietly.
Jonah patted my hand in comfort and fell silent for the drive.

Looking out the window, I contemplated ways a damaged girl like myself would be able to help Hayden with his troubles. After all, how could I stand there trying to help him when I myself take a blade to my skin every night to ease some of the near soul shattering pain that threatened to consume me as each day slowly crawled on by?
That’s just it…I couldn’t.

The End

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