(This is a true story.)
I remember the first time I felt like killing myself.
I remember it all. I remember showing up unannounced in the middle of the first week of secondary school, a twelve year old yanked from one new place to another, every girl in class staring me down like a stranger, an alien. I remember checking my hand-me-down mobile phone underneath the desk, searching for reassurance as I trembled alone at the back of the class, the one odd in columns and columns of evens, not knowing who I could turn to. I remember not knowing if anyone wanted me there in the first place. I remember the girl at the neighboring desk shot me an angry glare and snapped at me to stop. I complied.
I remember I wanted to cry.
I remember fucking up in English class in the second week by forgetting my homework. I remember apologizing to the teacher and saying I would stay back after class to do it. I remember her saying she didn’t care if I did. I remember her telling me to see her after school.
I remember walking back to the classroom after the bell rang, shaking like a leaf. I remember her beady eyes and condescending stare. I remember her asking me what was wrong with me. I remember her impatient scowl, her restlessly twitching leg, her beady, beady eyes as she leant back in her chair and looked at me. I remember her telling me I had an attitude problem. I remember her yelling at me that I had an attitude problem. I remember her asking me which primary school I came from. I remember the smirk on her face when I gave my response, I remember her spitting at me that it was no wonder I couldn’t get into the top secondary school and ended up here. I remember her telling me I had an attitude problem. I don’t remember what happened afterwards because my vision was blurry. I think I remember her getting up and leaving.
I remember the classroom was dark. I remember the fans were off and the air was still. I remember packing my bag. I remember thinking that I couldn’t feel my hands and feet.
I remember crying in the toilet for an hour.
I remember a girl seeing me emerge from the toilet with bloodshot eyes. I remember her asking me if I was okay. I remember saying that I was fine. I remember walking away sniffing. I remember letting a few rogue tears escape.
I remember fucking up again in English class. I remember my presentation partner telling the teacher that I didn’t do any work. I remember that I couldn’t do any because my partner did everything and had left nothing for me to do. I remember not saying anything because I didn’t know what to say. I remember the teacher announcing it to the entire class. I remember her telling me to do another presentation alone. I remember I was the only one who had to present alone. I remember doing the presentation a week later. I remember wanting to cry as I was doing it. I remember the class looking at me cold eyes.
I remember no one wanting to include me in their group for a Geography project. I remember not wanting to ask, anyway. I remembered the class looking at me with cold eyes. I remember saying I was in some other person’s group when the teacher asked about it when the project was done. I remember feeling guilty. I remember getting away with it. I remember secretly feeling relieved.
I remember my parents being called for a meeting with my teachers. I remember my dad asking me when he got home, “is it true you have no friends in class?” I remember the look of astonishment he had on his face. I don’t remember what I said in response. I remember feeling like a disappointment.
I remember wanting to die rather than go back to school over the summer holiday. I don’t remember what I actually did.
I remember the first day of the second semester. I remember my form teacher finally moving someone I could call a friend to the back so she could sit with me. I remember talking to her about Vampire Knight. I remember her introducing me to her friends outside of class. I remember having fun. I remember feeling accepted.
I still remember that bitch telling me I had an attitude problem.
I remember seeing her ugly face as I was studying for the national exams, three years later. I remember hearing her filthy words as I pored over my books. I remember tears threatening to fill my eyes and the plunge in my stomach whenever I thought about it. I remember telling myself that I had an attitude problem, but it didn’t fucking matter.
I remember getting a perfect score for the exams.
I remember seeing my name up on the notice boards in school. I remember being seventh on the list of top scorers. I remember the list was in Monotype Corsiva.
I remember wondering if she ever saw my name, or if she even remembered me, as I stared at the laminated yellow paper held in place by colored push pins on green felt.
I remember telling myself that it didn’t matter.
I remember that I had won.