Toxic by Lily Pazner - Photo by Elise Anstey

Lies, lies, lies. It’s as if the last three years of my life were based on lies. I thought they were kind, spunky, and fun—the kind of friends that every girl wants. I didn’t think the rumors were true; they’re good people, I swear. The fallacies that I was naive enough to believe were ultimately what brought an end to my well-being.

I went from smiling in classrooms to crying in bathrooms, thinking of excuses for my mom to pick me up. I have a headache, my cramps are really bad, if I have to keep dealing with this I might go insane. Hold your head up high, wipe those tears off your face. What the hell are you saying? Those girls are your friends. Go back out there and act like nothing happened.

Forgive and forget, that was what I preached. Ignore the stab wounds in your back from all the times they betrayed you, believe them when they say they’ll do better, and don’t hold any grudges. They said they won’t do it again, don’t you believe them? What they did wasn’t that bad. Besides, who else would be your friend?

I slowly began to see the ugly truth: they weren’t good people, I had been deceived. The last shreds of hope I held onto were gone. They weren’t going to change, things would only continue to get worse. The mind games and petty drama would never stop, I would never see an end. What can you do? They’ve been your friends for so long, you can’t give up on them just yet.

I sat among them and just smiled, too afraid to speak, afraid I would say the wrong thing and they would pick a fight. I sat with my fingers crossed, hoping that I was doing everything right, that they couldn’t see right through me and see my pain. You’re doing great, keep up the act. What’s the phrase they always say? Fake it till you make it?

I could feel myself breaking down, having a hard time focusing on school. I was too busy worrying about when the next fight would start, who would betray me next. They say that middle school is the worst years of your life, but I wasn’t expecting this. You should have trusted your gut, run at the first sign of distrust? Why did you stay like this for so long, so unhappy and miserable?

I miss you, but I know I shouldn’t. I want to call and see how you’re doing, but I know that cutting you off was for the best. I wonder why I have such a hard time opening up, but then I remember you. I think of what things could have been like if the fighting stopped or never even started, but then I tell myself that I can’t look back.

I’ll always wonder if things would’ve gotten better, what would have happened if I hadn’t switched schools, but I can’t see the future or change the past. So, for now, I’ll watch from afar. I’ll see your lives on Snapchat and Instagram, pick up the little bits of gossip I can, and hold onto the good memories.

I’ll always wonder how you made me feel so complete, yet so empty; how leaving you could feel so good, yet hurt so much.

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