Pen to Paper: Trapped Inside the Mahogany Clock

They won’t miss me. I won’t miss them. It is a mutual feeling, unsaid but completely understood — I don’t give a damn about you. Mother, I will not miss you. I will not miss you Dr. Warren Bernerd and your team of devilishly handsome psychology fellows. Really, I will miss nothing about that office of yours. More specifically, I will not miss the old mahogany school clock that sits proudly on your desk. It has that incessant tick. Each tick is one of those obnoxiously loud ticks that you hear in the classic detention scene in the movie, you know, the one where the main character is twiddling their thumbs, dying to escape. I always asked you to dispose of that thing, but Warren you never did. Well, none of that matters now. None of you matter now. I am finally breaking free. As I have promised. I am leaving. Two hours and 19 minutes on this bus and I will arrive at my destination: Olivia R. Rhodes.  

You see, I met her over the Internet so I suppose we still haven’t technically met. There she was. On some sadly construed Yahoo page I spotted Olivia’s story fourth from the top. The title read “The Hells of High School.” At the very end of her post she had written…

“I need a solution. But first, I need someone to figure out my problem. I just want someone to fix it. Whatever it is. And any someone, because I do not have a someone.”

I replied immediately.

After five months and exactly 432 emails I am finally going to meet her. That is, once I get off of this bus.

“We get revenge. I want revenge on every last girl that put her pretty little manicure to my personal documents. You can get revenge on the others, on Warren. We have to make them suffer the way they made us suffer. And do you know the best form of revenge? Guilt.”

She is so right. How does she know exactly what to do? Gosh, she knows the answer to everything. We are going to fix our problem. The problem is that those people who have wronged us do not know what it is like to be us, to feel our pain. The solution is guilt.

“It is simple. We send a letter to each person of our past stating all that they have done to us, and how much that has upset us, and all the crazy things it has led us to do. I mean, look you are here because of these people. All the way in Wooster! They have hurt you, Banks. And if they have hurt you then they have upset me. You know why, because you are my someone.”

She said it. She said that I am her someone. I am no longer the one freak wonder. Now, I am apart of a freak show party of two. And well, that sure feels a hell of a lot better. She is looking out for me. She is protecting me. She cares about me. We sit in Liv’s kitchen marinating on our plan. The walls are barren and the marble island is free of any remaining food, as if no one has been home in quite some time. Liv has the stationary already on the table. I think it’s a bit weird, but then I think about Liv, and well, she is the planning type. We sit down to write. Years of pain and suffering and I am supposed to put all my emotions onto a single sheet of pretty little yellow paper. Liv sees me struggling and hands me a draft of her letter.

Rebecca Lockhern,

What kind of person gets pleasure out of another’s pain? You deliberately hurt me in a way that I am not sure I will ever recover from. The files I shared with my guidance counselor contained some of my innermost thoughts, and for you to share that with the whole school, well, it speaks volumes to the kind of person you are. I just want you to know that before I take my life.

-Olivia R. Rhodes

Take your own life? Did I just read that correctly? Did she just hint at suicide? She has to be kidding. Some sort of sadistic joke, that well, is not funny.

“Liv, what is this about taking your life? Are you just trying to scare her? You don’t mean it, do you?”

Liv answers with the same monotone voice as Warren used to, “Suicide letters, Banks. We are writing suicide letters. It is the ultimate form of guilt. I thought you understood that.”

Understood that? At what point between the deli to the creepy daycare to the Post-It note door was the topic of suicide brought up? I must have missed that little detail. I look at Liv. This time I really look at her. And then, I think back to that post…

That was it. She needed any someone. I was that any person. It didn’t matter who I was. I didn’t matter. Liv is crazy. You know, all these years confined to some eight by eight room. I get examined like some sort of specimen. I thought I was crazy. I would never do this. I actually have never felt quite so “normal.” Sure, put me up against the cool girls at school and I am the weird one. Put me side by side with Liv, and well, I think I must just be the triumphant one. I need to get out of here. Out of this town, away from Liv. I get up and leave my stationary as it is. I don’t say anything to Liv because really who can talk to that kind of crazy? Although, I do hope she looks at my letter.

That was it. Like that, I am back on the bus. Back to a place that I never thought I would return to. Fair Banks, Ohio. The bus is the same: crowded and stale. But, this time around I have an entirely new destination. I got off the bus and went straight to the only place that made sense to me, Dr. Warren Bernerd’s office. I always thought I hated this place with Warren and my mother and all that pointed to my differences in this world. But now, it all makes sense. All except for that damn clock. I can hear it ticking. I think it is trying to mock me. Trying to mock the outcome of my life. I take the mahogany clock between my two hands. I hold it and listen to its final few ticks. And then, I smash it. With one effortful motion I let it clammer against the ground. The pieces of glass are artfully scattered across the linoleum floor. And in that moment of silence, I don’t feel the least bit crazy.

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