Behind my Back

Behind my back
They laugh and taunt and tease,
They whisper cruelties,
Point fingers, and lay blame.
 
They smile
When they see me coming
But I know their grins turn to sneers
When I walk away.
 
I smile,
Portraying an outward appearance of confidence,
A rock-hard,
Impenetrable wall of indifference.
 
I’ve done nothing
To deserve their mocking glances,
Said nothing
To warrant their blatant disregard.
 
Alone, tears well, eyes ache,
And I chastise myself for my stupidity,
For believing their words were the truth
And accepting their judgement of me.
 
Sticks and stones,
Simple lies told to keep tears at bay.
Bones heal,
But the psyche holds on to words forever.
 
I smile at myself in the mirror
And whisper I love you.
My words and genuine reflection
Lift me up and quiet the hurt child within.
 
With shoulders back
And chin lifted I face the world,
Unafraid, indifferent, healed,
I am strong, resilient.
 
Sincere smiles greet and welcome,
Words of love and acceptance fill my ears
And no one whispers
Behind my back.

The Exam

The Daily Post – Study

“Are you ready?” Mom’s eyebrows rose high on her forehead. The usual ‘good morning’ or ‘did you sleep well?’ clearly would not be a part of our morning’s pre-breakfast banter.

I rolled my eyes. “What do you think?” I pulled a mug out of the cupboard and filled it with coffee, leaving just enough room to add cream and sugar.

“Must have been a late one.” Mom winked as she filled her own mug with coffee.

My eyes watered as a yawn stretched my mouth wide. “Later than I planned.” I’d been studying for days or maybe even weeks; I couldn’t remember. I plunked myself down at the table and closed my eyes.

“Well, you’ll do just fine. Here, I made you breakfast.” Mom placed a plate with scrambled eggs, whole wheat toast, and some fresh fruit in front of me.

I wished I had as much confidence with my studies as she did. “No bacon?” I played in the eggs with my fork.

“Afraid not.”

We ate our breakfast in silence; my brain rattled off everything I’d studied throughout the night and early morning hours. I didn’t bother trying to stop it.

“Well, I’ve got to run.” Mom picked up her empty plate and placed it into the sink. She grabbed her keys and purse and kissed me on top of the head. “Good luck!” She called out as she headed out the door.

I pulled into the testing centre; the clock in the car showed I still had a half hour. I tried to remember the drive, which was much quicker than I’d expected, but it was all a blur.

Once inside, I found a quiet place in the corner of a large waiting area and closed my eyes. I focused my thoughts on my breath, feeling my lungs inflate and deflate. My pulse slowed and the constant chatter in my head quieted.

My eyes opened several minutes later to a room full of people and their quiet chatter. A slow smile spread across my lips as confidence washed over me. I was ready.

One Last Time

Daily Prompt – Strut

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/strut/

 

Morgan picked up her cell phone again and checked the time, two more minutes and Sam would be eight minutes late. She turned her phone off and put it back in her bag.

There hadn’t been many unoccupied tables in the busy library when Morgan had arrived fifteen minutes earlier. Their usual place at the back had already been taken, and she hoped Sam wouldn’t mind the only other choice. At least from her vantage point Morgan would be able to see Sam approaching, and he wouldn’t be able to sneak back out without her seeing him.

Morgan tapped her fingers on the book she’d picked out. She’d had it turned over so that no one could see the title on the front cover. Their meeting was bittersweet – the beginning of the end.

The door opened and pulled Morgan’s attention pulled away from the book. Sam stepped inside the library and glanced around the room. His strut toward a table full of girls was one of confidence bordering arrogance. His brilliant smile set off a chain reaction from the group of girls as one by one their faces erupted into toothy grins. Sam’s good looks and charm commanded attention. He leaned against the table, something he said made the girls giggle and flip their hair.

Morgan rolled her eyes and tapped the book as she waited for Sam. If she didn’t know him, she’d think he was full of himself. After a few more minutes of chit-chat, Sam headed toward their table, his strut as confident and sure as ever.

“Sorry.” Sam pulled out a chair and sat down.

“That’s okay.” Morgan pulled the book over and held it in her hands. “Are you ready?” She smiled; her eyebrows rose with her questioning voice.

“Do we have to do this today?” Sam looked around the full room. His Adam’s apple bobbed up and down as he swallowed. The confidence he’d shown earlier had disappeared the moment he sat down. He looked more like a little boy than a young man of twenty-four.

Morgan nodded and placed the book in front of Sam. She reached across the table and gave his hands a squeeze. “You have come a long way. You should be proud. Own it. You exuded confidence with those girls back there.” Morgan tilted her head in the direction of the girls.

Sam shrugged. “It’s an act.”

Morgan squeezed Sam’s hands again. “You don’t have to act anymore, though maybe tone it down just a touch. You know – a little less full of yourself.” She smiled.

Sam gave a shy half smile and nodded. “Yeah, okay.” He flipped the book over and stared at the title and then lifted his eyes to meet Morgan’s.

Morgan nodded. “You can read now, Sam. Anything you want. No one will ever know that a year ago you struggled with Dick and Jane.”

“The Old Man and the Sea, by Earnest Hemingway,” Sam whispered the title. “Hemingway?” He looked back at Morgan.

“Yes, Sam, even Hemingway. Now let’s get started, I want you to read to me one last time.”