Why don’t you listen to me! I have such a small vocabulary; the least you could do is listen closely! I don’t know your words, and you pour them out so fast that they sound like running water in my brain. They carry no meaning, they offer me little hope and they don’t help me get what I need. All I want is my backpack.
I’ve said it so many times, but can’t count and I don’t understand time, but I do know that I can’t sleep unless I’m complete and you’re not listening; all I want is my backpack! I said it going up the stairs, I said it over the bedroom door, I yelled it but you got mad and then you got angry with me. I don’t know why I thought it was funny, but it was; and it was sad because in your anger, you refused to listen to me; all I want is my backpack.
I changed my clothes because that’s what 16-year-old girls do. I do it because it’s the only choice I have in this life of mine. You seem to question me on everything and I can’t even understand what you’ve asked before you’re on to the next question. It frustrates me so I just ignore you – it doesn’t mean I’m stupid; it just means we’re not speaking the same language. I still need my backpack. I gave up in the pants choice, I found ones I liked and I thought I could switch them on my own while you went up the stairs (talking as usual) but I don’t understand how they work. I like these ones, the smell, the feel, and the weight. How was I to know it was a vest? Why did you scream at me about it anyway?
I lay down in the bed because I was confused and I feared I wouldn’t be complete. The nights are bad enough for me, hazed in the drugs you give me and in my dreams, I have no voice, no ability to run, no one to comfort me. I don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong and even worse, the language is all wrong! The stress I feel is unimaginable for in your world, you control everything. In my world, everything controls me so the best I can do is stand up and smash against the wall, kick down on the floor, or at the very least hit myself till I feel no pain; only the coolness of the cut or the numbness of the bruise. That’s all I control and it makes me sad. I just want my backpack.
When you came back up the stairs and turned the bedroom light on, I was on the floor, flat on my back and you laughed at me. I don’t know what you said but it was in that tone of voice that makes me feel like a baby. I’m sixteen and I’m angry and you’re not listening. The light was so sudden but it was sparkly in my eye and I like that so I laughed. Then you opened the door and said something and left - and honestly that made me mad too, not because you opened the door but because it was your idea, on your terms and because it probably was done to make you feel good. Yes, I hurt your thumb and had I known that twisting it like that would get your attention I’d have twisted harder. Next time I’ll break it cuz’ I’m that mad.
I wanted food when I came down. I’m sixteen for Pete’s sake! I need food and you have all the cabinets and the refrigerator locked and the medicines you give me make me so hungry. I’m happy when I eat, why would you deny me that single joy? I want mom, she listens most of the time. She cries a lot and I don’t’ like it but she listens to me when I try to wipe the tears away. I have a hard time finding her eyes but I can feel the wetness on her cheeks and it confuses me. When I came down the stairs you were sitting on the sofa and all I wanted was mom, I was so mad that I ran out the door. I was sure mom would be there but as the door slammed shut behind me I saw no light. I forgot about mom and I felt the wetness on my face and head. My feet were cold and wet and I didn’t know what to do or why I’d do it so I stood there is the dark silence. Why did you grab me like that? Then you laughed and changed my socks. You put dry ones on my feet but I hate them; I hate the ones that fit below my ankles – they don’t make me complete so I peeled them off as quickly as possible and tried to say my words but you weren’t listening. You chose different ones for me and I’ve grown tired of the struggle. I let you put them on me.
When mom comes home, she’ll understand what I need, she and Miss Kim are pretty good with that but you don’t get it. I like riding in the red car and you keep trying to put me in the green one. I like the rumble of the red one. I like the seats but again, you don’t listen.
One day, I’ll be the one talking and you’ll have to listen to me. I’ll explain to you in my language what this all means and you’ll be subject to my terms, my wants, and my needs. When that day comes, you’ll be the one running out in the rain looking for mom to translate your needs to me because maybe, just maybe, I’m smarter than you, you know why?
Because I’m listening!