She swiftly walked down the hallway, held onto her books firmly and avoided eye contact with everyone
she walked past. It was a cold day, the kind that bites through your clothes. With her head faced to the ground,
she made her way to the classroom. Her insides churned by the thought of having to spend another hour in this hell hole. She didn’t want to be here, she’d rather be somewhere else, anywhere else. With her jaw locked and hands clenched, she took a look around.
Everyone in class was starting to take their seats. Her heart thudded hard against her chest. She could feel the hairs stand up straight on the back of her neck.
She took a step back and quickly glanced to the side. No one. Not one single person was in the hallway. Without a second thought,she turned on her heel and bolted out of the classroom.
Once she reached the back of the school building, she paused. Her head was spinning.
She was panting; she could see her breath whenever she exhaled.
She quickly hid her books behind a trashcan no one ever used, because no one ever comes to this place.
It was the kind of place where things start and never really stop. She glanced one last time over her shoulder,at the empty hallway, just to make sure.
She finally reached her spot and slid down to the dusty cement floor. While leaning her head against the cold concrete wall, her hand glided into her jacket and pulled out a square-shaped box.
Her hands moved quickly, acquainted to ordeal. She had done it a thousand times. She lit the familiar object and inhaled deeply. With each drag, she felt her worries seep away.
The tormenting voices in her mind were relinquished to the cold rustling wind. The engulfing smoke left her with the only thing she desired, numbness.
Her head tilted to the side and for a split second she couldn’t breathe.
A shadow.
Someone was coming. However, Instead of making a run for it, she sat still. She didn’t care.
Her life couldn’t possibly get any worse. But instead of an antagonized and uptight teacher, a worn-out and pallid bleach blond girl made her way towards her. She sat down a couple of feet next to her, pulling out a squared-shaped box of her own. She hadn’t said a word. She just simply lit her cigarette, just as skilled as she did before and took a long draw.
She averted her gaze and eyed her finished cigarette in her hands. She pulled out another one and lit it. She didn’t want the feeling of emotion to return, she knew she wouldn’t be able to handle it. She never could.
“Tough day, huh?” The girl said, while leaning her head against the concrete wall, just like she had done. She knew the girl. She was the type to wear all the pretty dresses and to be surrounded by all the pretty boys.
Everyone seemed to love her, yet everyone also appeared to hate her.
She was one of those girls.
She simply nodded her head; she didn’t know how to reply. Tough was an understatement, but she wouldn’t
dare to say that to her. Miss popular, what does she know?
“You know, sometimes I feel like I can’t breathe,” The blond girl said, took another drag of her cigarette and continued, “It’s like I’m drowning” She finally stated.
This time she couldn’t help herself and replied: “And it seems like everyone else is fine. Everyone around you is breathing” She glanced back at the stranger and for the first time she really saw her. Not the pretty girl with the pretty dresses, not the girl everyone loved to hate but she her for who she really was. She saw the fine white lines going up her forearm, the ones she tried to hide with make-up.
Her chapped lips, which she bit on until they started to bleed and the dark circles underneath her eyes, which showed the lack of sleep she had been getting. Her hair was unruly and her nails were chipped.
The perfect persona began to crumble and with every moment a real person slowly unraveled in front of her. She met her eyes and she saw the sadness and the loneliness.
She saw how her eyes held so many emotions,
it was unbearable. But most of all, something what shocked her most, was that when she looked at her, she saw herself.

2 thoughts on “Exhaling life

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