She was a complete stranger, yet she held a towel for me to shield the eyes of the water park from my nakedness as I changed. The line for the bathroom was too long. We laughed at how funny we must have looked. This was the extent of our introduction. We decided we liked each other, she gave me her number, and I left.
The neglect of children in shattered, volatile, and perverse homes writhes in our society; a monster that grows ever stronger just beneath our feet. It leaves those who still make it a point to eat dinner with their family aghast at the rejection experienced by countless young ones in my generation and their resulting pain. My new found friend is one of those children, although the definition of child no longer appears applicable to her situation due to the things she has prematurely (if there is ever a time to experience any of it) under the absence of proper parenting.
Her messages began after I arrived home. I inadvertently provided her with an outlet for her pain by accepting her, acceptance being a concept that she was sorely in need of. Her parents were divorced. Her stepmother told her every day that she was inadequate. Her stepfather attempted occasionally to sexually abuse her, and as her mother sided with her new husband, their mother-daughter relationship ruptured beyond repair. The people appointed to guard and nourish her instead fed her the merciless lie that she was trash.
I became the recipient of the morbid poems about suicide that she poured from her heart, and although they were, by nature, of a sorrowful topic, the underlying tone was of a lighter demeanor. It spoke of dancing stars dipped in her blood. She was truly delighted by the prospect of her own death. What torture must a child go through for them to derive pleasure as they contemplate ending their life? What pushes someone, whose greatest concern should be who they want to ask them to the school dance, to not only dread the concept of living, but rejoice in the morbidity of dying?
Atop her death wish, I received the news that she had lost her virginity to an addict, and that she had herself become a user. From the moment her parents cast her away, rejection became the blade that slit her wrists and caused blood to run freely from her inner thighs. This dismissive behavior is holding countless innocents at knife point, being eternally sharpened to a finer tip as it assaults a growing number of children deprived from the proper upbringing that they deserve.
As I gazed upon the newest picture message in my inbox, I acknowledged the diagonal slashes glistening in the flesh of the young girl’s stomach. The words below read, “…and it didn’t even hurt…”
She was 14 when I saw that.
I remember wishing that, just for a night, she could crawl into bed with me and see what it felt like to have her mom kiss her goodnight until she was old enough to know that there was no monster in the closet. I remember wishing that those wounds would heal to scars, never to be reopened, and that society would lay down its knife, once and for all.