Voices

by Hannah Young
Voices

“I am the voice that kills you.
I am the voice that seeps into your brain and tells you that you’re wrong. Whatever you’re doing
is wrong. You are wrong.”

I am the voice that kills you.

I am the voice that seeps into your brain and tells you that you’re wrong. Whatever you’re doing

is wrong. You are wrong.

The lunchtime bell rings. It is lunchtime. Today baked potatoes will be consumed. Or not. And I

am the voice that will tell you not to eat it. Not to eat it and just to drink your water and cut it

into little pieces and offer some to your neighbor and exit as early as possible and –

And everyone is walking down the hall, some with smiles on their faces, some looking as though

they’d rather die; in fact, most look as though they’d rather die, and some look like they have

already.

I am the voice that tries to count the calories burned on the walk down the hallway and she is the

girl who passes you and who is healthy and who always finishes her meals without any trouble

and you are the one who does not and you are the one that you hate and

I

am

the

voice

that kills you.

The aroma is intoxicating, and the lights are fluorescent and the nurses are smiling and you are

dying inside. And that’s not too far from the truth, in reality. Maybe if you ate that baked potato,

you could stop dying inside and out.

But you can’t and you won’t, because I am the voice that trumps everything else. Logical

thought does not matter. You are not smart. You have no idea what’s good for you. I know what’s

good for you. You are in a bad situation where they want you to eat baked potatoes, but I can get

you out. You just have to trust me.

There’s butter on the tables and cheese to sprinkle on anything and everything, and little packets

of ketchup and mustard and mayonnaise that are waiting to be torn open. Poor ketchup packets.

No one will pick them up; everyone will shun them and pretend that they don’t exist, even when

the nurse encourages you to have one or two.

You don’t really feel bad for the stupid ketchup packets. You feel bad for yourself. Because

you’re picking up your fork

you’re glancing around the room to see who else is eating

you’re looking at your plate

you see your reflection and who the fuck planned plates like that anyway and it’s traveling

towards your mouth and you’re chewing and you can’t stop you can’t stop you can’t stop

you can’t stop

you can’t stop

And I hate you, you didn’t have to eat it, you could have done what you did before, before they

told you what’s good for you, and now you’ve ruined everything. You ate the baked potato and

it’s traveling down; it’s in your system and that’s it. One bite ruined everything. I am the voice

that will make sure to let you know that you have ruined everything.

They are the girls who sit across from you and carefully place their napkins on their lap,

and smile as they chew and converse with the nurses,

and they are the girls who somehow run to the bathroom afterwards and lock the door and get on

their knees but they’re most definitely not praying, because they know at least that they can’t eat

baked potatoes. They are the girls who are smart, and I am the voice that tells you that you’re not

like them; that you’re never going to be as good as them, that they have their lives figured out

and they know what they’re doing, but now you’re taking another bite because maybe you can be

like them,

but you can’t and you know you can’t.

I was the voice that somehow carried you into the gym and outside on the running track for miles

and miles and hours and hours until your lungs felt like they would burst and your legs gave out

and you almost passed out crying,

I was the voice that blamed the hunger on the stress of school and that made you stay up until

past midnight worrying about what you would or would not pack in your lunch bag the next day,

I was the voice that made you dread grocery shopping; that made you anxious every time you

passed a fruit stand on the street; that made you claw at your face and your legs when your

mother mentioned mozzarella or a birthday dinner.

And it’s your fault that I’m now the voice

that followed you in here;

that nurses try to squash with every minute;

that everyone talks about as if it’s a person, but I’m not a person, I’m a voice, and I will stay with

you. They might say you’re okay, or that you’re getting better, but you’re not okay and you’re

not better and you never will be, because you’re a failure that fucked up and landed yourself in

here, in fact it was probably because you didn’t run that extra mile that Tuesday and because you

had that second piece of pizza the Saturday before that.

And everyone knows that all humans die, but you’re dying early, because you let me in,

you let me in,

and I am the voice that kills you.

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