Band-Aid Series: Band-Aids Don't Fix Brains
By Emma Gracce
I had packed my day into a rigid schedule, following it every minute of my life from then on. Every day, I did the same thing over and over again. I'd wake up, get ready, wait the 5 minutes for my dad to do the same, then drive to school early. I'd wait and watch the students filter in, trying to stay invisible. Then, it was a matter of getting through the school day. Keep your head down, do the work, and try not to listen to the endless taunts of "Band-Aid Baby." I'd go home, do my homework, eat, go to my room, attempt to sleep, and repeated the day.
Most nights, I would feel like crying my eyes out. So I usually stayed up reading, trying to force out the thoughts with a completely different world. It only worked once in a while, but the nights it did were a blessing. Dreams were a completely different matter, with most turning into nightmares that made me feel more tired then before. I could never force myself to wake up, they held onto me until my alarm blared into my ear.
As I started yet another day, I kept staring at the band-aid box. The colors seemed to have lost their luster as they stared back at me. Now that I thought about it, everything felt kinda bland. The bright blue skies had become a dull gray, the vibrant little flowers that poked out of the ground no longer kept their beautiful hues. I looked out the car window, and everything I saw was just gray, colorless and dead.
"Hey, I've been meaning to talk to you about something. Lately, you've been really... I dunno, sad?" I heard my dad ask, breaking me out of my thoughts. "I just wanted to check on you."
"I'm fine," I muttered my reply once again, stuffing the band-aid box into my pocket. The cardboard made a satisfying crumple as it mushed down. The seatbelt made it hard to sink down into my seat. I didnt want to continue the conservation, but he pushed on anyways.
"You say that, but I'm not so sure. You almost never come out of your room except to eat, and even then youre quiet. You dont talk to me or Mom or anyone for that matter, you seem so tired all the time-"
I cut him off before he could finish his sentence. "That's it, I'm just tired. Schools hard," I replied, with a slight grumble of annoyance. He looked surprised, but it was hard to see him in the mirror.
"Its more then that, I can tell! But you wont say anything to me. I'm just worried is all," he sighed. I didn't want to talk, he wouldn't shut up and it was getting annoying. He could never take a simple answer.
"I said I'm fine, so just leave it alone," I growled, sitting up again. "I just want to have a little peace and quiet, that's all." He looked a little hurt, but he didnt press any further. I felt a little guilty, but another part of me couldn't care either way. I slid back down, trying to enjoy the last few moments of silence before school started.
As I slid out of the car, my dad spoke up again. "Just so you know, I may run a little late. Work's been rough lately. Just wait at school, I'll be there as soon as possible." I nodded, tossing my backpack over my shoulder and closing the door. I just needed to follow the schedule. Keep your head down, do the work, and try not to listen to the endless taunts. I could do that.
I slowly watched the students fill up the area in front of the school, just like usual. I couldn't see the sad boy within the wave of people, thankfully. The bell rang, and I was swept away within the riptide of people. From then on, it was surviving the schedule. The hood came off, and the school day began. Just like usual.
Class was the same. Just focus on the lesson, dont tear your eyes away from the board or the paper, she told herself. Ignore all the whispers, the lesson is more important. Minutes slowed into hours, so when the bell rang I was more then happy to get out of my seat. But I wasn't free yet.
As I walked into lunch, someone approached me for once. A boy, one with blond hair that clearly showed brown eyes. He looked scared, but it was hard to tell if it was true fear. His eyes didnt shake the way they usually did when someone was scared, but who was I to judge? He was clutching his hand, holding it to his chest as he started talking in a stuttering voice.
"Hey, you're that girl with all the bandaids, right?" He asked. I could tell the stutter was fake, it was too forced. I nodded a little, gripping my lunch bag tightly.
"Yeah. Why? What's it to you?" I asked a little cautiously, scanning over him. He let out a sigh of relief, holding his hand tighter.
"I hurt my hand really badly. I think its bleeding, I really need a band-aid," he muttered, trying to flash a nervous grin. I knew something was up, but I couldn't deny him a band-aid. I nodded a little, digging into my pocket and finding a blue band-aid with green stripes. He looked at it with his nervous grin, biting his lip as I carefully put it in his non-wounded hand.
That grin quickly changed as he took it between his hands, the nervousness fading from his posture and replaced with a cruel malice. The one he was clutching was perfectly fine, and that's when I slowly began to realize what stupid thing I just did. He help it up, carefully gripping it with one hand on each side.
A sickening rip cut through the air as he tore the band-aid in two. I could feel hot tears form in my eye, threatening to spill down my face as laughter filled the room. I was an idiot, I should've known. He tossed the ripped band-aid onto the floor, rubbing it into the floor with the heel of his sneakers.
"What's wrong, you gonna cry?" He cooed, crouching down with one of those puppy eyes looks. I took in a sharp breath, the laughter grew louder and louder. The schedule was thrown off the rails, and now I was stuck as the chorus of laughter only grew. I wanted to run out of the cafeteria and back home so I could hide under the covers and let the tears fall. I felt myself run out of the cafeteria, trying to escape the laughter.
I felt utterly ashamed of myself. Why was I so stupidly gullible?