Posted: Sunday, June 17, 2012 6:56:52 PM
I dug my nails aggressively into the palms of my hands, then released. Tensed, released. I examined the angry waxing crescents blooming on my palms as I crouched in the nook between my bed and the wall.
It was New Year's Eve, and I was hiding from the guests of my own party.
Teen angst is notorious. Backstabbing girlfriends, heartless boyfriends, the jarring disparities between expectations and reality. I'd always thought I was capable of overcoming the petty conflicts that so fueled the angry outbursts out of nowhere, the mascara on cheeks. But here I was, filled to the brim with self-loathing and frustration. It wasn't so much the tightness in my chest as the feeling of being transparent.
New Year's Eve is anticipation, the brink of a new year full of promise. I was a tangled knot of loose ends. An amalgamation of all the disappointments and suffocating failures of the year. I tried to conjure up images of warmth and sunlight and was left with memories of curtains drawn against friendly rays of sun as I studied, a closed window to shut out the sounds of chattering birds as I typed up essay after essay. I'd had so many opportunities to enjoy the tranquility of nature, but I'd been holed up in my room, in myself.
I peeled back the curtain from my window and stared out at the grey sky. It hadn't snowed once since the onset of winter.
I'd thought I would be safe if I stayed inside like this, that nothing could dare hurt me so much again. But my lungs filled with stale air every time I breathed; I was slowly turning into a ghost. I wrapped myself in an old blanket before letting myself out the back door into the night.
It was strange, sitting there on the ground in the middle of the yard. As I took in gulps of December air and exhaled, I could see what resembled smoke clouds drifting lazily away and disappearing into absolute nothingness. With each breath, I purged myself, little by little. All the ugliness, all the hate. Gone, somehow. How long had it been since I'd really breathed? I let myself fall backward so that I could stare into the starless, hazy sky.
I dont know how long I had been lying there when the first tentative snowflakes kissed my eyelids. I opened my eyes and sat up quickly, the fairy dust-like snowflakes caught in my eyelashes.
I heard voices from inside the house. "10!" They shrieked.
The snowflakes melted away the furious red scratches on my arms, the welts of pent-up aggravation on my palms dissolving like magic.
"9! 8! 7! 6!"
I turned my face heavenward and saw nothing but white. Pure white.
"5! 4! 3! 2!"
I got up on my feet, heart beating wildly, cheeks flushed.
My blanket flared out like a cape as I danced and spun around in circles. Smiled.
I was free.