Out of the Woods
Published in

Out of the Woods

Suburbia

Photo by Raphaël Biscaldi on Unsplash

I’d rather stay broken and believe I’m fine; those are problems that live outside of my town lines. Don’t come at me: remember when I nodded and accepted your lies? I believe me, myself and I.

If I don’t take him to the doctor then he can’t be sick; no diagnoses on file, no pills, no appointments. What would people think if my child, my child…I’ll just say he’s exhausted. I mean who wouldn’t be as a valedictorian to be, star athlete, future captain of his school’s debate team, if he’s not studying, he’s tutoring somebody cause we gotta stack his resume, college application season’s coming.

He says he’s suicidal, these are words he learns in school, distractions on distractions from his assignments. If I don’t hear him when he’s talking, then he can’t be sick; no diagnoses on file, no pills, no appointments. What would people think if my child, my child…I’ll just say that he’s tired from practice. I have to save face even if it means my face is a facade, you don’t get to see behind the stone walls. I protect my family’s image even if I know that it’ll cost us all, if I talk over other moms I won’t feel so small.

He doesn’t want to stay broken but I swear he’s fine: those are problems that live outside of my town lines. He’s a boy, we taught him boys don’t cry, that’s why I believe me, myself and I.

If I don’t try to see behind his smile, I won’t know it’s fake. I can pretend today’s just the same as any Saturday. If he’s barely holding it together, it means he didn’t fall apart. So smart and he works so hard, that’s why I can’t tell him that he’s working hard enough, can’t tell him that honestly for quite awhile, that he’s measured up. Underneath it all, I hope he knows he’s loved.

I’d rather stay broken and believe I’m fine: those are problems that live outside of my town lines. He’s about to be a man and tears don’t slide down men’s faces, that’s why I believe me, myself and I.

If I don’t believe it then it doesn’t have to be real. But I know I can’t hide, for the first time in awhile my heart matches what’s beyond the walls on the outside, on the outside, on the outside, I didn’t take him to the doctor so he couldn’t be sick: no diagnoses on file, no pills, no appointments and right now I can’t deal with the fact that words he learned in school expressed what he knew to be true.

And I’ve seen this happen before, but I never thought my child, my child…

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