Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

By Karla Fetrow

You’re not going to like this because it’s not what you wanted to hear.  You don’t get to read all the sordid details, only how it feels.

You think that talking it out, making me live it over and over again will help me?  It helps you!  You in your smug assessment of where I went wrong, giggling privately to yourself over what could never happen to you, and wishing somehow it had, because you could do better.  You in your second hand enjoyment, like a voyeur, to wad me up in a ball later and throw me in trash.

Isn’t it wonderful to be bigger and stronger, invulnerable?  I am rebellion!  Do you understand that?  I rebelled.  And so you stuffed my words down in my throat until they became prickly and sore.  What joy does a fifth grader take in beating a third grader?  There is no challenge.  There is no challenge in targeting someone smaller and weaker.

Nobody likes a crybaby.  On the school ground, you don’t cry.  You don’t cry over your mistakes.  You don’t cry because you don’t belong.  So you stuff down your tears until they become sharp and brittle.  But you rebel, because words are all you have left.


Towering legion of judgement, you thought you had won.  You thought you could pound my words into nothing, that you could overcome me.  I didn’t feel your blows.  I was numb.  You boned a rag doll.  I quit struggling, even when your hands were over my throat, pushing me to resist.  I went limp.  I hovered in the air above you, watching and laughing.  I got up and walked away when you were finally exhausted.

When you leave yourself, you never really return.  I walked away leaving pieces that I can no longer find.  And the words that had been clattering and shouting excitedly exploded.  The world exploded and I was silent.

I was silent while the world rearranged itself again and voices crawled under my skin.  I was silent, the words and the tears finally escaping with the exploding pieces.  I heard the voices.  They were all drowning in their own tears bubbling up inside, afraid to let go.  They were all hurting.  And I understood.  I understood the nameless.  The faceless.  The forgotten.

I didn’t run away.  You need to understand that.  I rebelled.  The world was broken and I needed a new one, not yours.  I needed my own voice, my own words.  I wouldn’t let you stuff them down my throat any more.  I won’t let anyone stuff words down my throat any more.  They are my own.  I won them honestly.  I took your beating until the world exploded.

Don’t come close.  Your touch makes my skin crawl.  You don’t have the right to give me comfort.  You don’t remember that the world was destroyed and patched together again. You don’t remember the miles and miles of tears left behind. You don’t remember this, but I do.

The world is clattering and chattering again, but it’s only in pieces.  Meme’s posted to social networking sites because they articulate what you want to say better than you can, but they are walls that hide you.  You are afraid to come out of hiding, because if you use your own words, they will pound you.  The words will be stuffed down your throat and they will swell up, bitter and sharp.

I think this is the seventh explosion.  I remember at least six other exploding worlds.  I remember that each time one exploded it was because you declared you had the right to say who I am, what I should do.

You silenced me.  For eight long months, I was mute while I patched my world back together.  I said nothing.  I felt nothing, only silence.  You weren’t there for me.  You sat in waiting, gloating and hoping for all the sordid details so you can flog yourself with them again and again.  I learned one thing in that long silence.  Only sinners care.

By karlsie

Some great perversity of nature decided to give me a tune completely out of keeping with the general symphony; possibly from the moment of conception. I learned to read and speak almost simultaneously. The blurred and muffled world I heard through my first five years of random nerve loss deafness suddenly came alive with the clarity of how those words sounded on paper. I had been liberated for communications. I decided there was nothing more wonderful than writing. It was easier to write than carefully modulate my speech for correct pronunciation, and it was easier to read than patiently follow the movements of people’s lips to learn what they were saying. It was during that dawning time period, while I slowly made the connection that there weren’t that many other people who heard the way I did, halfway between sound and music, half in deafness, that I began to understand that the tune I was following wasn’t quite the same as that of my classmates. I was just a little different. General education taught me not only was I just a little isolated from my classmates, my home was just a little isolated from the outside world. I was born in Alaska, making me part of one of the smallest, quietest minorities on earth. I decided I could live with this. What I couldn’t live with was discovering a few years later, in the opening up of the pipeline, which coincided with my first year of junior college, that there were entire communities of people; more than I could possibly imagine; living impossibly one on top of another in vast cities. It wasn’t even the magnitude of this vision that inspired me so much as the visitors who came from these populous regions and seemed to possess a knowledge so great and secretive I could never learn it in any book. I became at once, very conscious of how rural I was and how little I knew beyond the scope of my environment. I decided it was time to travel. The rest is history; or at least, the content of my stories. I traveled... often to college campuses, dropping in and out of school until one fine day by chance I’d fashioned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. I’ve worked a couple of newspapers, had a few poems and stories tossed around in various small presses, never receiving a great deal of money, which I’m assured is the norm for a writer. I spent ten years in Mexico, watching the peso crash. There is some obscure reason why I did this, tightening up my belt and facing hunger, but I believe at the time I said it was for love. Here I am, back home, in my beloved Alaska. I’ve learned somewhat of a worldly viewpoint; at least I like to flatter myself that way. I’ve also learned my rural roots aren’t so bad after all. I work in a small, country store. Every day I greet the same group of local customers, but make no mistake. My store isn’t a scene out of Andy Griffith. The people who enter the establishment, which also includes showers, laundry and movie rentals, are miners, oil workers, truck drivers, construction engineers, dog sled racers and carpenters. Sometimes, on the liquor side, the conversations became adult only in vocabulary. It’s a good thing, on the opposite side of the store is a candy aisle filled with the most astonishing collection, it will keep a kid occupied with just wishing for hours. If you tell your kids they can have just one, you have an instant baby sitter; better than television; as they agonize over their choice while you catch up on the gossip with your neighbor. We also receive a lot of tourists, a lot of foreign visitors. They are usually amazed at this first sign of Alaskan rural life style beyond the insulating hub of the Anchorage bowl. Many of them like to hang around and chat. They gawk at our thieves wanted posters. They laugh at our jokes and camaraderie with our customers. I’ve learned another lesson while working there. You don’t have to go out and find the world. If you wait long enough, it comes to you.

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