BY MATTIE WOODSIDE

I feel naked.

A bold, black number my new identity.

And when they ask me to move to a different

spot,

they will call out that number.

And I probably won’t notice,

why they keep yelling out this number that,

sounds so familiar.

Until I look down and see the numbers staring up

at me.

I move in between two girls,

whose bones seem to be escaping their bodies.

And their bodies are defined by the bones and I’m,

Scared I might break them.

And maybe that’s what they want,

To make themselves fragile.

But when they dance it makes me want to cry.

And their, jagged appearance softens and they

dance like silk.

A table sits at the front of the room and three

disparaging faces, scan the entire room multiple

times.

I stay away from their eyes, the scrutinizing eyes

that,

can see and hear the emotions plaguing our

insides.

The pianist sweeps her fingers across the keys as

she plays an, allegro and then an adagio.

The woman with the clipboard looks us up and,

down reading us while we try to read her.

We all yearn for acceptance of who we are, and

what we have to offer.

But not all will get it.

I am vulnerable.

They can see everything and there is no hiding.

My whole body is taut like a rubber band and I

fear,

the snapping might ensue.

The fragile-boned girls glide across the floor with

such ease, and I try to copy what they do.

But I am limited.

It’s over.

My shoulders feel lighter but my mind holds a

certain heaviness.

A sort of darkness. I replay everything that

happened, over again in my mind. Breaking down

every move, every facial expression or hand

gesture.

And the question that seems to haunt the most is,

“Was it enough?”

It’s the rise and fall that constantly

Keeps you at the edge of your seat.

What will happen? Who knows.

Not you.

Would it be possible to take the reins at some

point?

Maybe. Possibly. But probably

Not.

Don’t worry, it’s not all bad.

Outside forces have more control than you.

Control? Oh, it’s a word that means you have

influence over something.

Can’t remember the last time that happened.

“Relax, don’t worry about what’s out of your

control.”

I want to punch those people.

In my mind I do,

Because I have no control over my thoughts.

I try to take control of my control but find it

Impossible.

Like getting an eggshell out of the goopy egg

white.

Or eating just one Pringle.

Or bringing home just one kitten.

Or going to Target for just one item.

Why even try?

Why not?

“You have no control over your life”

Is what he told me once.

I thanked him kindly for his observation.

And then assured him he was right.

And then I told him he should go home.

Because I felt in control.

He left.

And I won.

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