For the longest time. I was that kid at the back of the class. Forming rhymes, doodling caricatures. Melting away time with the matches of my mind. That kid whose name was a whisper behind a shadow, that existed in a shell. She was everyone’s bestie when exams was around the corner, besides that she was that face that never lifted her hand, yet always knew the answer.
I have not forgotten her passive demeanour. I have not forgotten She sat with the teacher when others were out like conquaestor in the playground. At times the teacher would leave, the teacher had friends too, and would ask her to watch herself. I have not forgotten the girls , that said she had to own a pair of Nike to be initiated into the cool kids club.
She doodled the earth with wide arms so that it could hug her back and remembered a thousand faces she painted with brazen fingers. She let her heart bleed each time she pressed kohl to a page. Then she’d fill in the spaces with pressure from a crayon and gave it to her teacher instead of a rose. She couldn’t stop rhyming every song in her heart that she could only utter when absolutely certain her voice would echo through the concrete without interference.
She had learnt that the quieter she became, the more she could hear.
Alone in her mind was when she stole the spotlight. No one could deflect it. There she was the comedian, the musician and the ballerina. Then she was the only one sitting at the front of the class.
She is a peculiar one she is; the more she hid it, the more her roots grew . A peculiar lonesome girl at the back of the class. Halfway into adulthood still crossing paths with her kind;
the one who sits alone at lunch and reads an adult novel to herself . She’ll show up without delay at violin recital but sluggishly plays dress up.
She is everywhere, and I know her well because she is still inside me smiling like she dreams in lucid colours and that’s how she couldn’t have sacrifice even a nail to adjust for she is one hell of a survivor.
Illustration by Yaoyao Ma Van