The idea for this came after reading an article about how a mother found out and faced the fact that her daughter was being bullied at school and via internet, and how she still helps her through it, they are both beautiful people.
Her story inspired me and I went to look for other stories on this abuse that is usually and stupidly ignored by staff members at schools and online.
This is not based on one particular true event per say. Its based on the memories of people all over the world, because we know this happens. We have seen on the news and in our town, cities and schools that kids take there lives because they can't live with the pain and abuse any longer. So why do we turn blind eye? Why is it so important not to.
Because many do not get the picture I will spell it out for them.
The boy sat next to another in front of a long and worn desk. The blonde that occupied the office chair next to him picked up his coffee cup and took a sip. It was around seven A.M and they were about to get to work. He opened the laptop they shared, once he was seated and the page they needed to work on open, he turned to his counterpart and took his coffee cup with a sassy grin on his sleepy face. He couldn't believe it had been a whole year.
For a moment he felt flat out bad for the tiny bubble of happiness that ran around his stomach, guilty even. His friend took back his cup and finally spoke up "Are you just gonna gawk at the screen or are we going to make this post?" The blonde was looking at his with a dopy smile that reached his chocolate eyes, which for once weren't smudged with kohl. Tate just gave a tiny chuckle and ran his fingers through his brown hair to tie it in a ponytail with a band he wore as a bracelet. And so he began to type.
"I've gotten many a question on why this site is named the way it is, well I feel compelled to answer them on this day; our very first anniversary. It was on March 25th that Ethan found a journal in a park we hang out at with our friends…"
He rubbed his eyes for a while and put his fingers back on the keyboard, digits still and hovering. Ethan gave his shoulder a reassuring squeeze and kept his eyes locked on his cofounder. Brown met hazel and Tate could start typing again.
"…We knew the owner of the journal so we kept it to give it to them on Monday, when school was back in. Only she wasn't there, the buzz of news in the hall after first period left me frozen and the four of us ditched class for the day…"
The four friends were sitting in a circle near a cluster of trees; the tall oaks filtered the sun and sheltered them from view. Andrew took out a cigarette and lit up; he held his head, fingers digging into black loose curls, and laid down onto the ground letting out a puff of smoke. His hand moved from under his head to cover his eyes with his fore arm. Laurie was sat cross legged next to him plucking absentmindedly at the grass looking somewhere between her beaten high-tops and the maimed blades. Silence rang in the air as they tried and failed to grasp the concept of this loss. None of them where close to the girl but, even the small "good morning" they shared on occasion with the short brunet made it feel like a deep loss. She wasn't someone you'd forget, and every memory they had left them dumbfounded as to why she would take that exit.
"When Jonah cheated on me with Clair, she hugged me and gave me a pep talk" His confession surprised them and so did the light chuckle when he mentioned her warm words. Ethan pulled his thin blue hoodie around him and looked at Tate squinting at the sunlight. "She told me he didn't deserve such a beautiful boy and that he wasn't worth the eyeliner" He lowered his gave and smiled. The group's only raven cleared his throat and spoke still laying in the dirt like it was the worlds finest mattress. "Beth talked me into going to the principal after Trent and his friends beat the crap out of me" Andrew propped himself on one elbow legs crossed at the ankle, laying on his side. He grinned at Laurie and took a drag, "I didn't want to go 'cause I was scared half to death and I thought nothing would happen to them. That was in middle school if I remember." He licked at his bottom lip out of habit and looked up at the group eye brows knitted in thought.
Laurie was the next to speak; "She wanted to be an actress and work with Troy Duffy" she gave out a chuckle "she didn't give off that vibe, did she? I pegged her for Broadway." She snorted, not knowing what she had been thinking then.
Tate was abusing his pinky, chewing on the calloused edges before laughing at his memory of the young woman. "We were in elementary school and I had managed to get in a fight with her over some nonsense. I ended up covered in blue paint and she walked me to the office to get a new shirt. She called me a paint monkey"
The group erupted in laughter; despite the gloom of the moment the memories left by the girl would never let them feel sorrow. For a second the breeze was all that spoke between the four as it made its way through the tall grass near by. Andrew was gazing at the clouds while Laurie drew figures in the dirt with a twig. Ethan was just staring ahead, his back hunched and shoulders loose. Tate's eyes locked on his expression, his lips where pouted and his lower eyelids where fixed to make him squint. The blonde was probably doing the same thing they all might be doing, trying to comprehend why the brunet choose that end. Nothing in the way she acted led to that conclusion.
It felt as if the sky had become stone and fallen on their heads, she didn't act depressed or suicidal because she was doing just that, acting. She was putting on a mask every day, for an instant they had all mistaken the tiny worn cracks in it for a mind trick. Laurie dropped the twig and pulled out the journal that had been found in the park that Friday 25th. She left it in the middle of the awkward shaped circle they sat in. No question needed to be asked, they all knew every possible answer and the outcome would always be the same. For a while they just looked at the lilac book, hesitant to even twitch a finger towards it, like it would open up and the world would be sucked in. When the reasonable speculation would have been the journal becoming a dead end, Andrew picked it up and opened it to a random page down the middle. He had a new cancer stick between his index and middle finger. He was sitting up now and began to read a passage.
"I saw a kid from my class crying in the girl's bathroom. His eyeliner was all smudged up and running down his face. I know what happened to him, he shouldn't be crying like that. I bet he's already had a hard time, I wish he'd catch a break. I wish I could too. I know that it's something I should just ignore but, I can't, not when it's thrown in my face everyday. The names, the dirty looks, the pranks and the messages left on my account, all of it should not be clinging to me this much. I can't get rid of it" her hand writing was becoming erratic and light. The panic and misery etched into the lines paper.
"Every night I go to bed thinking of what I can do to avoid it in the morning, I'm terrified of going to school everyday, it used to be my favorite place. I'm tired of being scared, hoping for a better tomorrow, and praying that things change. I've talked with teachers and nothing changes. It's like no one can hear me scream every time they shove me against the lockers or when they pull my hair." He looked up at the group, his jaw set firmly and his eyes were glazed over and he skipped a few page forward reading a few lines. "Oh god" He covered his mouth and passed the book to Ethan. Andrew got up and walked around a few steps a hand on his hip while the other brought the cylinder to his lips where he sucked the life out of it. Andrew was shaking slightly, like he did when he was about to get into fight, agitated. He rubbed his finger tips on his forehead with cigarette in hand and let out a shaky exhale. His back was turned to the group the whole time. Ethan looked at the page and he bit back a whimper, and then began to read.
"They're right, I am a loser and I probably never should have been born. I mean how stupid could I have been to think I could make it anywhere. No one cares. It's best if I just disappear. It doesn't help anymore, cutting. It just numbs things a little but it's always there. And it's screaming at me that I'm a worthless little fuck up. I've tried for years to keep going and push harder but, I'm just so tired. I feel cold, like I'm dead already so what would one step further do other than finally shut me away from the entire world. The notes I found in my locker were so horrible I had to run to the girl's bathroom and vomit. I don't have anything left. I just want it to be over. I've cried for help but it's not like they would even want to hear me. It's all too much." He had to stop various times during the passage. His hands were shaking and he felt the tears prick his eyes. He dropped the journal as if the hate she had been subjected to would bleed from its pages to burn him too. Laurie was holding on to Tate and crying softly, he just held her and stared off into nothing. Their irrationality had won; the world was sucked into a dark place.
"…It changed us, knowing that all of that abuse was happening right in front of us. We didn't know what to do at first. For a good long time we just sat in the clearing and tried, we did honestly tried, to figure out how we let this happen. We could only fathom how her family felt. The sentiment that rushed through us was the same and it was vicious and enraging. We felt wronged. By the police, the school staff, social network moderators, and the monsters that chased her off that cliff. Physically there or not those monsters, were responsible. Then Laurie made her suggestion…"
Laurie walked toward the woman who was talking to the bartender who gave her a glance and nodded to the forty something year old.
"Excuse me Mrs. Adams" she dug into the purse she had hooked on her shoulder. "We knew Beth from English class" when she took the journal out Mrs. Adams's eyes widened and she looked at the four teenagers questioning but not saying a single word. "We found it at Galvin Park on one of the benches, we thought she might of forgot it so we planned to give it to her on Monday. I think you should read it." Tate's voice was tight in his throat; he couldn't even look at the woman. Her blue eyes were glazed over in seemingly permanent tears but her voice wasn't the small frail thing you'd expect. Her mouth twitched almost nervously into a smile as she spoke "Thank you" Ethan looked up at her as they were leaving adamant about making eye contact with the short trimmed brunet "I'm sorry for you loss Mrs. Adams." He offered her a smile and as they walked out of the black clad sea of relatives and classmate the mother looked at the small group a hand placed on her chest as she bit back a new set of tears. It warmed her grieving heart that these teens had given her little girl's journal to her but it would only serve to light a different flame. One that hungered to burn away the poison that had taken her baby from her and infected so many.
"…I'm so glad we made that choice, a few months later the police found the bullies and the case was closed. Turning in that journal helped the family get closure but their battle stayed on, it didn't end with a sentence from a jury. I would love to say that things changed but I would be lying, kids where still being bullied albeit discreetly. It was mid February and I was sick of it. The assisted suicide, as the county police had ruled it, only seemed to spur these creeps on. Everywhere we went it could be felt in the air. As we walked down the halls between classes, in the locker rooms, even away from school in the depths of cyberspace; that was when we knew we had to do something about it ourselves…"
Night had set in particularly fast; the blonde was sitting on his friend's bed while the other rummaged for food downstairs. The school had suspended class and his parents were out of town so he was to be chained up to the William's front door as this mom and dad had commanded; he wouldn't have it any other way. He would move in permanently if he could, they ended up sleeping over every other day so it wouldn't be any significant change for them or the William & Gray households.
The laptop was open and a slew of favorite artist where playing, he grabbed its edges and pulled it closer to him as he sat cross-legged on the purple comforter. For a moment his fingers hovered and danced over the keys, his lips scrunched to his left side in indecision. His fingers typed in a url he could go to in his sleep, he logged in and went to his regular chat room. The starch white background and the multi-color usernames only deepened the sense of familiarity he was craving since the news caught them by storm. All too soon the welcoming buzz that 'reaper_s_cloak has logged in' had given him, was ripped away from him by the next few words rushing up the screen. His hand immediately went to his mouth as his eye prickled with tears for the hundredth time that week. The chat was blazing with insults and jeers at a user by the name 'another memory'. The range of these comments went from parents not caring and letting him stray from one or another righteous path to physical threats and all around discrimination.
The one that finally did it for him was a message from some Stewart; those twelve words iced his insides. He didn't even register his friend coming in the room and rushing to his side as tears slipped down his cheeks, he had his hands clamped on his face cupping his mouth and nose. As soon as Tate's hands touched his back and shoulder he went into his arms and buried his tear plagued face in the neck of his best friend. He didn't hear the words of comfort whispered or the questions that where plaguing the faux redhead. All that he could think of was the memory of when those very same words where shouted at him.
It had been around the same time Beth had help him pick himself out off the bottom of that stall in the girl's restroom. He could clearly here the voice rumbling at him and the chill of the drink thrown at him through a car window running down his back and wrapping around his heart, crushing it. "Why don't you just kill yourself, fag? You should have never been born." Tate had been there then and he had rushed him home to get him a change of clothes. The blonde had been so shocked, his friend had to remove his shirt and yell at him so he could hear him say the most perfect words. "Don't you dare let anybody put you down for loving anyone" the way Tate had looked into his eyes, up through mascara altered lashes. "Cause I wouldn't have you any other way, you are perfect to me just the way you are."
It made something in him click. He wasn't alone in this, he was loved and his happiness made all the difference to the young man standing in front of him. The hair dye addict was actually shaking as he reassured his soft drink bathed friend. Tate held him as he cried, a hand in his hands flew over the keys and before he knew it he had sent an email to the kid. His name was Jeffery and he was in their English class.
"Back then we didn't even know what we where getting into, for all we knew we were just helping them pass the time. Other than someone feeling a little better because they knew someone believed they were worth something, there were no physical outcomes. We had no clue of the repercussions it would have. But we did know, before we even knew the effect it had, that we won't leave anyone behind and nothing unfinished. We might not have been there physically but what happened to that kid made us feel worse than anything we've ever felt. The bile crawled up and down our throats, a fathom of the bystander effect…"
Class stared right back up and Jeffery wasn't there. Ethan and Tate had told them about the chat, concealing the sobbing session. In instants Laurie had whipped out her cell-phone and sent a text muttering something about the gadget being useful for once. With in minutes they found a bittersweet twinge to the news. Jeffery was alive and safe after a group assaulted him; the teen was in the hospital recovering from minor injuries. They made arrangements to see the boy and later implement the plan they had come up with under the guidance of one of the schools teachers and a school counselor.
"…that day we learned the meaning of fragility and of just how inhuman a person could be. We also learned that speaking up is your best weapon against that black hole we get shoved into for one reason or another…"
When they got there, they were met with a completely different picture than they had expected. Yes, the room was full of floral arrangements and hospital approved chocolates, most of the flowers were daisies and wild magnolias. But there had been complications due to a kick to the head he was received during the beating. The steady hum of the machines hooked to the teenager in scratchy, too white sheets. All kinds of tubes exited and entered his body. It was like a blood curdling scream, a scream that rang in there ears 'Do something, help us'; they felt utterly useless and impotent. He was in the coma ward. What came after the visit to the comatose teen was a sense relief, not one that would ever lift that image or make it any easier to handle; just one that vowed a chance to prevent things like this happening.
"…That was what made us put this place together, the need for someone to understand and for this to stop. I don't find it unbelievable; I find it shameful and even disgusting. The things people do to each other, the way we've crumbled as a species, as a family.
Don't just sit there and let there words get to you; don't lock away the person you are just to fit the normal statute. Never break under the pressure and most of all if you feel like you may do something, like harming yourself please remember: you are worth way too much to us for them to get you to feel worthless. Contact a hotline, visit a website that can help you, listen to a song, draw, sing it out, dance, or write about it. Just don't let it take hold. Never change, people will always find a way to judge, there is someone out there who loves you just the way you are. No matter how far away they can seem right now, keep those hopes glowing no matter how dark it gets and you'll find your way to each other.
You are strong. You are beautiful. You are smart. You are a godsend. You are loved. You are a hero. You are our world. You are talented. You are passionate. No one will ever be better at being you. You are a super nova and we're your biggest fans. For every name, for every scar and every bruise, for every pill you took and every drink you emptied, every time you cried yourself to sleep and fashioned a way out and managed to change all of that. For every day you are still breathing no matter what they say. You are our heroes. We thank you for giving us hope and giving us the strength to carry on.
We thank you Jeffery for keeping opening your eyes and smiling again. We thank you Laurie for starting a PFLAG group at school. We thank you Andrew for joining the Red Cross and inspiring us to help heal the wounds medicine can't. Most of all we thank you Beth for giving us the will to do this and for opening our eyes. Thank you Beth for picking us up off the ground and for breathing life into out hearts, we miss you and we cherish every memory.