The bell resonates through the building
They awaken from their cells and saunter into the halls
They gather ‘round their water fountains and dented grey lockers
Someone points and the rest start to giggle
“That color makes her look like a beached whale!”
She goes to lunch and sits alone, eating a sandwich her mother made
She twirls her finger ‘round a note that says I love you
Though she’s never felt much love, even from herself
But soon they come and snatch the note and toss it ‘round
“Look at that gross sandwich—I bet her mom is just as fat as she is!”
She shuffles her way home, deciding to walk than take the bus
She glances down at her feet, and sullenly realizes that she can’t see her toes past her stomach
She sucks in her lip and kicks at some leaves. Maybe the walk will burn off calories.
But it’s not like she finished lunch anyway.
And she threw up the rest after the kids had left.
“I feel better this way,” she says.
There’s no one home when she opens the door
Only the solitude that greets her every day, every hour
So she goes up stairs and to the bathroom, where she looks in the mirror
And notices the stretches on her arms and the flab beneath her chin
She brings a hand to her throat and decides on what to do.
The next day at school the kids had no one to call a “whale”
In fact, they hadn’t seen her for a week.
But no one cared much. They found others to pick on.
Little they knew that her mother was now weeping
Knelt before the coffin that held her daughter’s soft body
That had the impression of rope ‘round the neck.
The clue about why she did it was in a note
Addressed, in name, to her mother
Yet targeted at the world as well
And the teachers who saw her called names everyday
And the students who sat back and laughed, too
At all the people who did nothing
“This whale has finally decided to return to the ocean
Where I’ll be with other whales, and hopefully will avoid
The prodding of evil people and the ones who just gawk
Instead of trying to help the whale
Who only wanted to be loved.”