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stargate, DanielJackson

Week 20, Title: The losing card

Posted on 2017.06.06 at 20:29
Tags: ,
Daria grows in a world of whispers and taunts, her nose pressed up to the frosted glass, outside looking in. Here’s the thing: any defining feature she may have -any quirky twist of personality, any beauty or ugliness, any kindness or wickedness, any passions or dislikes- slips past others; are stripped away against the only thing they care to notice. From her forehead protrude two little horns.

People stare. Or avert their eyes. Or giggle and point and take pictures. Or, on the odd occasion, cross themselves.

She learns to wear large hats. She learns to walk with her head down.

*

Daria sits alone. The teasing is unoriginal, variations on the words horn or devil, it still makes her chest ache.  

She watches the other kids play, in circles on the grass.

She learns the canvas of the ground: the shape of every pavement crack, every gnarled escaping tree root, every dip and divot. 

*

Sometimes other kids come to Daria, asking if she wants to play. But she can’t look at them, doesn’t want them to see her horns and start laughing. It’s all probably a trick anyway. She tries to be brave, to talk to them; but doesn’t know how. They wander away again. And her chest aches even worse.

Sometimes the other kids stay anyway, chattering merrily at her silence, and Daria is happy for a while, until the group pull them away: remind them that they’ll grow horns too if they stay too long.  

She learns to stay alone. She learns it hurts less that way.

*

There are problems with aloneness. Mainly the everyone-must-share and work-well-in-teams modus operandi of school. She walks up to each group, and hovers, opens her mouth to ask with an odd taint of desperation to her voice. Her cheeks are warm and her hands sweat with the knowledge of impending refusal, embarrassment, humiliation. She feels as if she’s soiled herself and asking for someone to help clean up.

But the pitying, resigned, acceptance of her into a group is even worse. Daria hates the relief; hates their holier-than-thou grace, as though doing her a massive favour. And bitterly hates that there’s truth to it.

She learns to make herself humble. She learns to make herself small. 

*

Daria eventually finds some friends, a rag-tag group of fellow outsiders. And it’s kind of a miracle. They actually accept her, weird not-talking and not looking at them and all. They are even somewhat impressed by the horns, which are longer now.

But every time she hears laughter, she feels it’s at her. Every time she hears whispers, she feels it’s at her. Even when she knows it’s not. It sits there sticky beneath her ribcage.

Daria thinks she must doing things wrong, saying things wrong, all the time, every time. She doesn’t know how to do this. Whenever she gets home from seeing them, she goes through the things she has said over and over in her head, cursing the stupidity of her words. She’s so stupid. She can’t do anything right.

She bites her nails before she has to meet them. Panic swelling in her breast. She tries to plan, tells herself to just keep her head down. But she can’t do it. She’s just going to feel like shit afterwards.

She learns to ignore invites. She learns to hide.

*

Daria stops responding, after a while most of her friends stop asking and drift away. There are a couple of hangers on. Endlessly persistent, determined to maintain the friendship. She loves them, she thinks.

They help her- encourage her to go to therapy. And she does and she improves. And things get better.

Her friendships are stronger than ever. Her intrusive thoughts can be batted away easily enough. Her life is together.

She’s well. She’s okay. That’s what she tells herself anyway.

It catches her by surprise one night, the revelation. This is all there is. Everything is good. And she still can’t, can’t, can’t. She’s never going to be okay. She’s never going to be able to deal with it all. She tries and tries and tries and she can’t breathe. And she’s tired. And she just can’t do this anymore.

Everything is good. Everything is still a mess. There’s no hope. She’s seen the light at the end of the tunnel and she’s run straight into it: what now?

She learns what it feels like to stand on a ledge. And she learns what it feels like to jump.

Comments:


bewize
bewize at 2017-06-06 21:55 (UTC) (Link)
Very powerful. Very sad. A great walk through of depression.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-06-07 17:38 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad you found it powerful :)
dmousey
dmousey at 2017-06-07 01:44 (UTC) (Link)
This touched that insecure and bullied child space in me -HARD. I was rooting for things to get better for her though. So sad that she jumped into the abyss.

This concept is very well done. Thanks for sharing it! Hugs and peace~~~D
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-06-07 17:40 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you found it well done :). A lot of the stuff in it was from my own childhood -though I never had horns ;)
i_17bingo
i_17bingo at 2017-06-07 12:16 (UTC) (Link)
You really made the horns such a metaphor for being at all unique at that age. It really got under my skin, in a good way. Thank you.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-06-07 17:40 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked the metaphor :)
Direst Ryl
ryl at 2017-06-07 12:24 (UTC) (Link)
There is entirely too much truth in this.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-06-07 17:42 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you :). A lot of it is based on stuff from my childhood.
tonithegreat
tonithegreat at 2017-06-07 20:22 (UTC) (Link)
Yikes. You really feel for her. This was so well done. Hugs to you.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-06-08 08:07 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you :)
Teo Says
eternal_ot at 2017-06-08 08:18 (UTC) (Link)
This is heartbreaking. I like the metaphor you used, the progression was well done.*Hugs*
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-06-08 19:49 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked the metaphor :)
kick_galvanic, zagzagael, skull_theatre
bleodswean at 2017-06-08 17:39 (UTC) (Link)
This is staggering. As an allegory, in its execution, but mostly in its terrible ending. You have a voice here, J, and it's very, very powerful.

I am so impressed with the places you have been going with your skills this past year.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-06-08 19:52 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much, so glad to hear you liked the allegory and execution and found it powerful. And it means so much to me that you've been impressed by what I've been doing this year, your words mean so much, thank you :).
rayaso
rayaso at 2017-06-09 14:55 (UTC) (Link)
The horns were a great metaphor for a very powerful presentation of childhood isolation (for whatever reason) of the "different." Very well done!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-06-09 16:11 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked the metaphor :)
marlawentmad
marlawentmad at 2017-06-09 19:32 (UTC) (Link)

This painfully well wrought. There must be something in the air, I settled into a depressed narrator this week, too. The device you used works so well here. I want to know more about this wonderful horned girl.

swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-06-10 07:44 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad it made you want to know more about her :).
Ink Well
penpusher at 2017-06-09 21:13 (UTC) (Link)
The literal horns of a dilemma, and one we all can understand even without the forehead accessories. Certainly as an only child, and as a perpetual outsider, I relate to much of this.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-06-10 07:45 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you :).

I too am an only child and perpetual outsider.
flipflop_diva
flipflop_diva at 2017-06-11 00:44 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, wow, this is so heartbreaking. I kept waiting for it to get better and that it didn't was such a powerful punch. It really makes you feel for any child bullied or ridiculed or just not accepted for any reason.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-06-11 07:06 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you found it powerful :).
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