"I'm sorry." She murmured as she bumped into yet another someone in the crowded hallway. She made eye contact for less than a moment and then cast her eyes back down, where they belonged - because no one deserved to see such a hideous sight like her face. The one she bumped into simply huffs arrogantly and looks at her with a sneer that silently conveys just how inferior she is to them. They walk away without so much as a second glance.

She takes a better hold of her books and backpack and hurries to her next class, trying not to come in contact with the rest of the student body. As she walks, she prays for the classroom to be empty so that she could have a moment of peace; a moment to regroup and to fix her façade. She needs to fix the holes in her barrier before someone sees through it and think she is even more despicable than usual.

She is used to people considering her as inferior, underestimating her and ignoring her existence in general. It used to bother her at first, the loneliness used to scare her out of her wits – but now, she doesn't mind it. In fact, she welcomes it with open arms. Being alone is not scary anymore, quite the opposite, it's oddly soothing.

She puts on a fake smile as her friends and classmates start filling in. A few of her closest friends sit next to her and ask if she's alright.

"I'm fine." She brushes them off with a half-hearted smile that she knows, failed to reach her eyes.

They ask whether she's sure and if there was a way they could help her.

"I'm fine really, I promise, nothing's wrong." And that is the longest she's spoken that day. She feels guilty for lying to them and for being ungrateful of their friendship and concern. Because she is. She is more grateful than they could ever know. They had made the effort that nearly everybody doesn't bother with. They got to know the real her. The person behind the flawed exterior. And they put up with her and deemed her worthy of their time. She does her best not to disappoint them, she can't afford to lose the only people in her life that lessen the burn of her personal Internal Hell.

The time spent with them is the only time she feels somewhat happy. A brief moment in what seems like an eternal cycle of pain. And she thanks the stars for the opportunity to have met them.

The day goes on and soon it's time to head home. Her dread, momentarily forgotten thanks to her friends, returns with a vengeance. It hits her so hard that she can barely stand. She doesn't consider herself a coward, yet she wants to flee.

She returns to the place which most associate with security, acceptance and love, a place that has caused her nothing but pain and tears for the better part of her life. Reluctantly, she goes in, praying that nobody's home. That she wouldn't have to face yet another scandal or lecture. As quickly as possible she dashes towards her fortress, in hopes not to be bothered. Between those four walls – that the rest of the world views as a prison – she is finally free. Free to be herself, free of pain, free to feel. Throwing her bag into the furthest, most secluded corner wishing it gone until the next day, she sits on her bed and curls up with a notebook and a pen. Words pour out of her along with tears. The fortress is silent, not a peep, or a breath out of place. The more she writes the more exhausted she feels. This cleansing business is tiring.

By the time she's finished she feels like she's been run over by a bus.

She wishes to forget. To be made of stone; to be unable to feel.

She closes her eyes as she lies on her bed. Her mind is taken over by pictures of another world – the only place she feels happiness.

And so she dreams, wishing to never wake up…