What Could Have Been

Fitting in with all the rest,

There's nothing strange seen by her friends.

But they don't see what she seeks to hide -

Loneliness fills her up inside,

Invisible to waking eye.

Transformed by her assimilation,

She can't remember who she was,

And no one sees her panicking -

She thinks she's trying and failing

And she's dying

To be "good enough".

Skipping meals every day,

Getting high to pause the pain

Of trying to be someone else - Anyone

Except herself.

And no one sees beneath the countenance of confidence

Or what happens when it breaks

And she goes upstairs and takes

A metal blade from its hiding place.

Her mirror lies,

Distorting her figure so all she finds reflected is fat

And crimson lines

Across her legs, her arms, her hips, her chest -

Just one more thing will help, she says,

One cut, one joint, one meal untouched -

And she cycles through the three over and over -

Cycling and spiraling until finally she

Stops.

 

Takes a breath,

A bottle of pills clenched against her chest.

One by one, she rinses them down

Until her consciousness begins to drown.

 

The next day,

To her dismay, she wakes.

Head spinning, stomach aching,

She descends the stairs

And prepares for school.

Returning to the daily grind -

No one suspecting what she'd tried.

 

Even I, her best friend, was for months unaware -

And can you guess my feelings then?

When she told me of her attempt?

Shock, guilt, and even grief

Over the disillusionment of her state.

Certainly, I'm relieved and glad she's alive,

But is it not just as bad that she even tried?

And I am just as guilty as I would have been

Because I knew of her fatal wish

Yet I did nothing to get her help.

It wasn't real to me before,

But knowing how things could have gone

I absolutely abhore my passiveness.

 

I will not repeat my mistake.

I will heed the signs and take action.

It's not worth the risk in a game of fate

With deadly stakes.

So don't wait.

Show you care

Before it's too late.

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