This is the final piece of writing I did during Bernie McGill’s fiction workshops at the John Hewitt International Summer School. Short but, I hope, still able to strike a chord. Based off prompts given in the class.
She always said I was useless, though she never said it to me; never looked at me long enough to realize I was there, and could hear.
The worst decision I made was to make her aware of my presence.
I find myself now in the cupboard under the stairs, the door locked.
I am here because I couldn’t stand it anymore. I needed attention. I needed her to look at me.
In my pocket I am carrying the hair she pulled from my head when I spoke to her.
When people look at me, they see my bruises. They gasp and look away again. I hear them whispering.
The truth is, I think maybe I deserve to be here. I think I must be the worst kid in the world. Why else does my grandmother hate me?