Poetry Apr 16, 2020

Hey, you.
Yes, you.
You with the dark circles that you
try to cover up with your mom's
concealer and that fake smile you put on
so you won't scare people off.
Tell me the truth.
Just how many nights have you
spent trying to keep that grief at bay
when all you wanted to do was cut
into your veins and let it all pour out
onto the bathroom floor?
Instead you sit and count the number of tiles
on the wall because you don't want
your little brother to walk in and
find you drowning in your mess.
You don't want him to be responsible for cleaning you up.
So every time you find your heart
beating fast enough to escape your ribcage,
you excuse yourself from the dining table and
shut yourself in the bathroom and
wheeze the air out of your lungs
and count tiles till you can convince
your heart to stay.
Six-hundred three cracked yellow tiles later,
your chest stops feeling like a prison
so you put on your best smile,
dry your tears, use a little of your mom's makeup,
and walk out to ask your dad
how his day at work went, and blame
the time spent in the bathroom on an
upset stomach.
And they all believe you, dont they?
Nobody really knows or understands what
goes inside the head of yours.
Not your mother, not your father, not your brother,
not the lover who promised every night,
but you knew it was just an empty promise.
Not the best friend who lives miles away,
or the group of classmates you hang out with
during lunch.
You spend every night basking in your loneliness
and counting tiles and begging your heart to stay.
But here's something you arent't told often:
It's okay to not be okay.
And You're. Not. Okay.
Stop pretending you are.
The next time you shut yourself out,
remember that you aren't alone in any of this,
and that so many of us feel what you feel.
When you feel lost, you'll have us to keep you company.
And hey, if you have one of those nights again,
I'll be up too. Call me?
We'll practise breathing together.

-Medha Singh

Writing Competition 2020

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