“When a school bell rings!”
There goes the bell for the first period of my high school monotony
Yet, with each shattering clang of metal, my heart beats faster
A screeching and incessant drumming locked inside my rib-cage yearning to be freed, to be witnessed
I go through this every morning as I walk in, late like the last leaf of a tree in autumn
I walk through those double-doored gates which lead to my salvation
The shining, glimmering yet very worn frames that speak volumes of my education,
The broken glass windows that have been that way since my brother’s graduation
The moldy ceilings and scuffed floors which are supposed to house the pride of our nation
I walk in late, every day and on purpose, just to witness that moment the ringing brings:
The presence of that beauty that has me singing
She is slender and imposing like a skyscraper and makes you feel the need to keep sightseeing
She is a breath my lungs did not realize they were needing
When she walks, the soles of her feet kiss the floor as they resonate through the halls like thunder
Her willful gaze always pins me down like a polaroid, left to dry in a blood-darkened room
Her smile, her smile is a Pandora’s box I am not afraid to see crack open
I love her and the way she moves as if she has never been broken.
She passes every day by my shattered pieces, the ones I always seem to leave bared for her
She obeys the ringing melody incessantly, and as she leaves, her space replaced by a fragrance my heart can’t help respond to
I tell myself, today is the day you can approach her
Its time you went up and started that longed conversation you have mapped out a million different times in your head,
I tell myself, that morning in the mirror, it doesn’t matter! Even if you are trying to keep your chest locked and cold, you still have a heart that thrums every second you’re alive
And skips a beat when you see her
You have smooth, tanned skin…that you stretch over your muscles and bones like a mask
Your body radiates your essence of life…even if your shape is deformed to society
I try very hard to tell myself: I am enough for her.
I walk through that school door that is keeping her from me. The sweat clamming my palms as they reach for the doorknob, the rumbling butterflies trying to claw their way out of my stomach.
This is the day, I tell myself
Now she can piece me back together, I tell myself
I struggle to be good enough, I tell myself
Now I can finally tell her, I-
I think of her, when my body hits the unyielding, tile floor. The bullet casing clanking and rolling away from me. The shooter laughing maniacally, his howls interrupted only by his steps through that damned scuffed floor.
The moldy ceiling now spotted with bullet holes, the smell of puberty masked under the coppery scent of blood.
Her beautiful form… reduced to nothing,
Her skin tinged with flowing scarlet, shortening her life by the second.
Our home of learning, shattered in one stroke, an abyss, dark and clouded by gunpowder, empty but for the remnants of a massacre
And the one time I thought that ringing bell mattered, it didn’t.