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Based on real experiences. Attempting to make light of the trauma by putting it on paper. May be depressing and potentially triggering. 95% narration, 5% wetting.

 

“Anything else you’d like to share with me?”

My teacher asked after I had finished telling him, in a relatively calm voice, about a portion of all the unhappy events from my past. The blazing morning light was streaming in through the office windows; this February had been an unusually warm one.

Not good news for me. My arms were firmly wrapped in long black sleeves, a futile attempt to hide the aftermath of my misdeeds while unwittingly announcing to the world the crime I had committed. Those scars from my paper knife seemed to act on behalf of me. I got my knife taken away for them. The deputy principal saw me for them. They put me under supervision for them.

I opened my mouth, but nothing came out. Not even a hiccup. Deep down I was fully aware that there was a dam ready to burst, that I could keep on pouring out what had happened to me for hours as long as there wasn’t that goddamn math lesson waiting for me a few minutes later. But nothing came out.

I began scanning my soul for the problem like a software scanning itself for bugs. Surely supervision itself couldn’t be the problem, not if it meant nothing more than speaking to your favorite teacher for ten minutes each morning. Math couldn’t be the problem either, despite that I never was good at it, and despite that the subconscious part of me constantly braced myself for someone to yell at me for anything I was not good at.

I myself must be the problem then.

With this thought I glanced down at my left arm. It was clad in a black sleeve, but I felt as if I could see right through it. Lines, crosses, dots, all in red, zigzagging, overlapping, marking my arm.

Like pen on a test paper.

 

“Anything you have to say for yourself, young lady?”

She stood in front of the classroom and growled at me, a whole ten seconds after flinging the whiteboard marker in her hand across the classroom with an almighty swing, aiming towards me in the corner. That growl, compared to one produced by an adult female, was closer to that of a female lion on the Savannah; I swear it could be heard within miles.

“Sleeping in class - is that how our prodigy uses her magical powers to study instead of listening to the teacher?”

Prodigy. I hated that word. She talked my mother into signing up for her extracurricular English lessons because she convinced her that I was one, before putting me in the worst seat in a class full of teenagers five years older than me. The ways that bunch of fifteen-year-olds welcome an advanced ten-year-old into their class were pretty much something you would expect, from “accidentally” knocking her book onto the ground to rolling their eyes whenever she made an attempt to interact with them.

As for sleeping in class, I was fairly sure that it was something all normal ten-year-olds would be inclined to do if they were kept in a classroom at 10 p.m. Right - that is exactly the time she preferred to drag her evening lessons into, since so much of them had already been spent on yelling and sneering while checking our work, laced with some occasional yanking and kicking the chair. Staring at her distant figure, I tried very hard not to recall the time she pinched my chin with her free hand while holding my notebook with another till I see stars.

“Oh dear,” she sneered as she slowly, very slowly, descended from her sacred place in front of the classroom to where I sat, “that’s right - you have absolutely no respect towards your elders. Do you know,” my notebook was grabbed from my desk without warning, “how we refer to those who have those wacky brains but are disrespectful?”

The room was silent. An answer was not expected from them, and everyone, including her, knew that one was not expected from me either.

“We call them poisonous.” she calmly answered, twisting my notebook in her hand, “and by poisonous I mean that you devastate your parents’ and your whole family’s lives and reputation. If I were your mother, and I’m glad I’m not, I would’ve sent you away before sunrise.”

With that word, she dropped my notebook back onto my desk more forcefully than necessary before striding back to the front of the room. The pages of the notebook billowed slightly at the remainder of that force, fluttering to past assignments where the marks were, as always, low. Lines, crosses, dots, all in red, zigzagging, overlapping, marking my paper.

Like scars on an arm.

 

I myself must be the problem then.

“Look at your grades.”

The only source of illumination in the classroom was a faulty LED light that made funny noises while edging her dark silhouette with a silver glisten. It was dark outside, and it was late. Very late. I had long lost track of time; the only thing I was sure was that it had been long past 10 p.m. since I was kept behind after she dismissed the rest of the class.

For the first time I wished I were with those teenagers. Or with anyone at all. At any place in this world as long as there was access to a toilet. Having been kept behind meant that I had not been able to take a break for hours, and now my bladder was making itself known, in almost the same way she was venting on me.

“Just look at it - prodigy.”

My face must have been paler than the ring of silver around her, partly from sheer fear, and partly from the effort of holding in the contents of my bladder. I stared into the void, not at her, not at my paper. Obviously a fifth-grader failing a test designed for tenth-graders was a felony to her, I thought.

“I’ve never seen such poor work.” I could swear I heard her teeth grinding as she said that, “And I’ve never seen such a pathetic student as you.”

The silence that punctuated her lines were as dark and suffocating as waters in the Mariana Trench. Then it was broken by thin, neat sounds of paper ripping apart as she tore my test paper into tiny pieces, before reaching back for a plastic ruler conveniently placed behind her at that very moment.

“Give me your hand.” She grinned, the kind of grin serial killers carry around while searching for their next victim.

I did - as if I had other options.

It was the weirdest experience ever. I heard the smack, but I could not feel it. All my senses seemed to have descended into some sort of protective fog I had evolved since meeting her. However, though I could not feel the smack, I felt something else. I felt my crotch growing warm and wet, I felt water streaming down my legs and pooling around my feet, I felt my the pressure n my bladder dropping as it if were a living organism acting on its own will, I felt - I felt my soul withering, along with my ability to shed tears. My bladder was numb like it would be in any fear wetting scenario, but the rest of my body physically hurt.

For a rare moment or two she was silent, probably stunned at this unexpected wetting, at least to her. Clearly my protective fog was not thick enough, for it was torn open by the shrill voice she used to yell at people in class:

“Get lost - out of my sight, you disgusting spoiled brat - Now!”

For the first time I was happy to carry out her order, not grabbing a look at those shredded pieces of my test paper lying across the desk, for I knew all too well what they looked like. Lines, crosses, dots, all in red, zigzagging, overlapping, marking my paper.

Like scars on an arm.

 

And out of her sight I went. My mother did not manage to pull me out from her extracurricular learning center without a lot of pleading and ranting from her side and much more phone calls than necessary. She could have forgotten about me the instant I stopped paying my tuition, yet she had lived with me for much, much longer than I would have ever wished.

I began waking up at night coated with cold sweat. I began to develop irrational fears towards people similar to her in whatever ways. I began to resent the word prodigy ever since even though I ceased to be one after I finished primary school. My bladder control became worse, much worse, and even to this day I still occasionally spurt into my panties when I get spooked, and may lose control on a larger scale when I cry; when the water runs loose on this end of my body it does the same thing on the other end as well.

The diagnose for depression did not come until much later, and one day, coupled by the stress from the upcoming mock exams and blurred memories unable to recognise, I locked myself into the school toilet and cut myself with my paper knife without bothering to relieve myself first. Blood and urine seeped out at the same time from different openings on my body, dampening my tissues and my panties. Physically I was numb, but mentally the searing pain from that smack of the ruler revisited me after all these years.

Lines, crosses, dots, all in red, zigzagging, overlapping, marking my arm.

Like pen on a test paper.

 

“I don’t really have much advice for you, but just remember - you’re not a burden to anyone. There are many things that aren’t your problem.”

Sunlight blazed into the office; my teacher decided to say something to fill in the silence, before asking again, “So......anything else you’d like to share with me?”

Suddenly furious at myself for not realizing that before and still not being able to face it after all these years, I shook my head.

“Alright,” he replied, probably assuming that he already knew enough about my past from my research projects and the dribs and drabs I had managed to tell him.

I enjoyed his company; but that was one of the moments I desperately needed to be alone. Not waiting for the bell, I hurried out of the office without even bothering to say thank you. The warm morning air took me into its arms; yet I bit my lip at its embrace, realizing that my long sleeves have completely blocked off the breeze making its way down the corridor.

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