Ashley’s Song (Part 2)

She placed a stencil to her inner thigh
And drew blood.

Her name was Ashley and
She was sixteen when we first met.
She was the fourth most popular girl in school.
She wore ponytails and her coolness let her get away with wearing overalls.
Her bubbly personality let her slide by with wearing long sleeves
All year long.

We became friends and she
Said she felt a connection with me and she
Wanted to show me something and she
Pulled down her jeans and she
Showed me her diary.
Written into her inner thighs with blade and tears.
She then pointed to the sentences she had carved into her arms.
The muffled cry for help she hid with jackets and thermals.

I became…captivated and filled with compassion at the same time.
I wanted to just hold her.
I wanted to take away her pain and hold her.
I wanted to be her escape, not the cause of it.

She said it wasn’t for attention
But as her way of dealing.
Some people find religion.
Some people have a strong family support system.
Her system crashed and she found
A shoe box full of sharp objects
Carefully tucked away under her bed.
A shoe box of pain, broken promises, low self-esteem, and rejection.
She wasn’t musical, yet she used those instruments
To write the lyrics of other people’s expectations of her.

To be the perfect student.
Perfect daughter
Perfect friend
Perfect girlfriend
Perfect everything.

Instead, she became
Living
Walking
Breathing
Stained glass.
A carved masterpiece, yet she couldn’t see the whole picture.
She couldn’t see, because the light inside her had dimmed.

I asked her, and like a blind man
I ran my fingers across her right arm.
And like braille, her scars told me stories.
Stories of when her father called her a fat cow
And rationed out her meals.
Or when her mother, in a drunken stupor,
Crashed her happy fourteen birthday party
Vomit and embarassment everywhere.
Stories of when Chuck Chuck the Wonderchuck
Touched her down there and said she was going to hell for letting him.

Her left arm spoke of when her favorite aunt told her she should be more of a lady
And no man would want to marry a tomboy.
It told the tale of when she first got her period in 8th grade during P.E.
And everyone laughed at her, including her teacher.

Story after story corresponded with scar after scar
Lacerations read like jagged poetry.

I then showed her the holes in my wrists and feet
The scars that traced down my side
The scars, cuts, and flayed flesh on my back that screamed of my love for her and
I held her and
We both cried…

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