I have locked myself inside of my car in the middle of the school parking lot.
I can still hear the ringing of the bell that caused us to scatter out of the school like ants escaping from a disrupted colony ringing in my ears. I am no longer a fire ant, but a caged animal, and I’m not sure who the metal barrier around me is supposed to be protecting. I still don’t feel safe.
I am thinking about how the glass at the zoos muffles the sounds of the animals, and how you might miss their cries unless you stopped walking and got right next to the glass. I don’t want to be seen, but, at the same time, I am hoping and waiting for people to stop walking past me, stand next to my car, and listen.
I am laying down in my back seat like a wounded animal, and my screams are being muffled by me burying my face into the seat. I no longer feel like a caged animal, but a fish inside of a tank. I don’t know how long I have been crying, but I feel like I am drowning. You can’t hear noises in the water unless you are below the surface yourself. I feel like I am the exhibit in the aquarium that everyone ignores because whatever’s in the water is hiding under a rock.
My head feels as though it will explode, I can’t breathe, everything is blurry, my chest hurts, I can’t stop crying, and I have convinced myself that I am dying. When my cousin was three, he would have died if my dad had not performed cpr on his blue, limp little body after he was pulled out of the pool. Now, he is eleven, and he knows how to swim, but I don’t have the heart to tell him that you don’t need water to drown.
Now, I am wishing that I had been the one that drowned that day.
I am sitting in a fish tank, I have no gills and I can not breathe.
My screams are silent, nobody can hear me, and I am kicking the inside of the car to try and make some noise, but everyone has gone home by now.
I am able to breathe again and I have grown a pair of lungs.
I am sitting in a zoo after closing hours, and all I can do is practice my roar and try to be heard again in the morning.
based on true events, January 2017