“What’s wrong with you?” It was her mother’s way of trying to get her to talk but

of course like most things those days she took the question to heart and wondered as

well what was wrong with herself. “You haven’t said anything the whole time we’ve

been home. Did something happen at school? Did you get in a fight with a friend?

Did the teacher call on you again in class today.” Her mother continued to ramble off

questions to the nine year old girl. Trying to pinpoint the cause of her daughter’s

silence. “Really mom, I’m okay.” She replied.

     She’d spent the day running her own gamut of questions through her head. She

had no idea why her eyes welled up with tears on the playground as she had played

foursquare with her three good friends earlier that day. Or why she hadn’t told her

mother about the sleepover that she’d been invited to at her best friend’s house that


     She didn’t want to go to the sleepover and she certainly didn’t want to be sitting at

this table with her family. She wanted to be in her bed, under the covers with all of

the lights off. She wished she could lay somewhere with her walkman turned up

higher than the dial could even go. She wanted both quiet and noise to drown out

each other. Most of all she did not want to speak. Words would release emotions.

Feelings that she kept hidden even from herself. So she silently shoved down a few

more bites of dinner and prayed that the heaviness inside her chest would somehow

suffocate her to death.