Band-Aid Series: My Band-Aids Didn't Work
By Emma Grace
Band-Aid Baby. That was my name now at school. Everywhere I went, I swore I could hear someone say it. I just had to keep my head down, hoping that they wouldn't see me. I jammed the boxes down my pockets as far as I could, crushing the cardboard a little. Even I didn't want to see the colored bands. I waited for the day to begin, watching students filter in from cars and buses. I couldn't see anyone wearing one of my band-aids. A part of me was grateful.
I began the day when the bell rang, hesitantly taking off my hood. A few people immeadietly spotted me, pointing and laughing like I was a freak show at the circus. I did my best to block out the words, but its hard when youre in the center of attention. It felt like school would never end. I tried not to cry, squeezing my eyes shut when I felt like they were ready to pour out.
I went through the day the best I could. This time, I couldn't even sit at a table with people. I ate my lunch alone, trying to get food down my churning stomach. The sandwich had lost its flavor, and it felt like someone threw my insides into a blender. I had to go to the bathroom, I felt like throwing up. It felt like my world had been turned upside down. The teacher sent me to the nurse.
"You arent sick. Just try not to worry," the nurse said when I told her about my stomach. She looked at the thermometer, which showed a completely normal tempature. I nodded shakily, standing up and walking back to class. But as I walked, I saw a boy. I knew I was gonna be late, but he looked like he needed a band-aid.
He wandered the halls with his head down, black hair covering his eyes. He kept his hands stuffed into a blue hoodie, and I could see a few tears dripping down his face. I started to walk up to him, matching his pace so I was besides him. He didnt look up, not until I spoke.
"Are you okay?" I asked, leaning forward so I could see his face. He looked up, wiping the tears that spilled down his face. His eyes looked unfocused, like he couldn't decide what emotion to show. I could see the dark bags under his eyes, highlighted by the silver tears.
"No, not really," he muttered, looking back down at the floor. I gulped a little. He looked so sad, I knew something really awful must have happened to him. I put my hands into my own jacket pockets, feeling the band-aids rub against my skin.
"You can talk about it to me. I wont judge you or anything," I replied, giving him my most reassuring smile. It only took a second for his words to come gushing out of his mouth.
"My grandma died yesterday. The doctors said it was peaceful, but I dont want her to die! I wanna go back home and see her, but I know she's not coming back," he cried, wiping his eyes.
"I wish I could bring her back. I wish I could see her, just one more time, just so I could say everything to her one last time."
"I know its sad. But you'll get through it," I handed him a bandaid, a green one with purple zig-zags. He looked at it carefully, putting it on the back of his hand. But something was off. He didnt seem to change at all. The band-aid didnt do its work, his wounds didnt heal. He stared at the band-aid as he walked, eventually stuffing his hand back into his pocket.
"Thanks for the band-aid. And for listening to me babble, I guess," he muttered, getting to his class. I watched him walk off, staring a little. Why didnt the band-aid work? Even when I gave the friend my band-aids, I knew she was slowly healing. It felt like he didnt heal at all. I had to put the thought aside for now, and get to class.
But as I did my work, the question only lingered in my mind. The sad boy wasn't in my class, thankfully. I just barely got through the day, running out of school when the bell rang. Weaving through the crowd, I was more then happy to finally get out of school. My excitement was quickly crushed when I realized my dad wasnt even there to pick me up. I sighed, sitting against the wall and waited.
The friend was still there, just like usual. She looked over at me, tilting her head a little. I did my best to avoid eye contact, but she still walked over. I silently cursed myself as she started talking to me.
"I heard what's been happening. I just wanted to make sure you're alright," she muttered, sitting down next to me. I didnt respond right away, staring out to the near empty parking lot. The friend bit her lip, trying again. "You can talk about it to me, y'know. I can keep a pretty good secret."
"Fine. I'm fine," I shrugged, repeating the same words I told my dad. She looked concerned, staring at the orange and yellow band-aid she had on her wrist. I wished my dad would get here faster.
"Are you sure? You look so... numb," she bit her lip. I stared at her, and judging by her expression I knew I looked awful. To be fair, I felt awful too. She looked away, a little bit of nervousness on her face.
"I'm sure. Don't worry about me," I shrugged, attempting to smile. She looked like she was about to say something else, but her mom arrived in the empty parking lot. Sighing, she stood up and began to run to the car. She finally left me alone with my thoughts as the car sped away.
I knew she recognized my emotions, she felt them herself before I gave her the band-aids. But she didn't know how to give me one. I guess I cant blame her, I would've told her I didn't need it. Its easy to lie to others when you start to believe it yourself.