This story is by Keerthana and was part of our 2020 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
5 years, it’s a long time to be in isolation huh? But that’s what happened to me. I was pushed into social isolation for 5 long, mentally torturous years.
It all started in the year 2011, it was my first year of high school and I was ecstatic to be entering into a new phase of my life but life had other plans for me I guess. It happened during my first month of high school, I was at a sleepover at my cousins’ house. We were not only cousins, I thought of him as an older brother, as my friend, my confidant and never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect him to do this to me. I just lied in bed after it happened, muffling my screams with my hand as tears rolled down my cheeks. A million thoughts were racing through my mind at the time. How could I let him do this to me, why didn’t I fight back, why didn’t I say no, why did I just freeze, how could I be so weak that I couldn’t even defend myself? I didn’t sleep a wink that night as I just kept staring at the door in case he was to walk in again.
What really made me furious was what happened the next day, he acted as if nothing had happened and he was talking to me as normal. He had a huge grin on his face. When I saw his face and that grin there was a hint of satisfaction and a deviousness that until today I cannot get out of my head. That grin was that of someone who has evil intentions and honestly it scared me because deep down inside I knew that he was going to keep doing it to me and there was nothing I could do about it.
I kept it a secret from everyone I knew even my mother whom I was the closest to. I went about my life as normal or at least I thought it would be normal but it kept happening again and again and again. I couldn’t take it anymore. I started spending more time at home, calling in sick to school. In short, I stopped living life on my own terms. I was consumed by my weakness and my inability to defend myself. The mere fact that something like this could happen and continue to happen did scare me but the fact that there was nothing I could do about it petrified me.
My mother noticed this and kept on asking me about it persistently until one day I just cracked. I broke down crying and told her everything that happened and how it kept on happening again and again. Being the exact opposite of me, my mother confronted my cousin as she wanted to ensure my safety. On the surface this confrontation went as planned. His mother was informed of this but at my request we didn’t blow things out of proportion.
I felt a bit better knowing that things were going to go back to being normal but boy was I wrong. The next day when I went back to school, I noticed that no one would talk to me. They would just blatantly ignore me. I was so confused as to what was happening. Did I do something wrong? Was it something that I had said? For the next few weeks I just sat alone at my desk thinking about what had happened. I often looked across the classroom to see them happily laughing away at jokes while I sat there in a corner, miserable. During moments like these I would be engulfed by emotions of worthlessness, disgust and loneliness.
Then, one day as I was headed to the washroom I overheard my cousin talking to a bunch of my friends at least I thought they were, he was telling them lies about me to get them to stop being friends with me. I was furious, rage just consumed me and I didn’t know what to do. Deep down inside I wished that I could take away all his friend as he did mine but I didn’t know how to. I wanted him to be miserable just as I was. I wanted him to suffer in isolation as I had for 5 long years. The only problem was I didn’t know how to. I was just so filled with anger that I would just about do anything to make him miserable.
That’s when it hit me, if he went around telling people lies, all I had to do was go around exposing to people his reality. That he was a disgusting, ill-mannered human being. So, I started telling almost anyone and everyone who wanted to listen that he was a molester. Unfortunately, no one seemed to believe me because of this fake persona that he had on. I wondered what else could I do to make him miserable. I just wanted that so bad that it consumed me from within. It was the only thing I could think of day and night. This once again put me into isolation. I was constantly by myself thinking, planning, scheming but nothing came to mind. This pushed me into a state depression so deep that coming out of it was not easy. As a result, I started to gain weight and let my grades slip.
My social isolation hit me really hard. I could go a whole day at school without speaking to anyone including my teachers. I started to feel very lonely. The loneliness was so bad because it made me feel worthless on the inside. It felt as if I had lost the ability to be regarded as a human. I felt as if I was mere shell of a human. Nothing on the inside except a deep and dark sense of overwhelming, self-consuming loneliness. My self-confidence also took a very big hit during this time. The only thing that was right in my life at the time was that I had found my passion, tennis. I loved the sport. I would dedicate so much of my time to it because that’s how much I loved it. I started to direct all my anger, my loneliness, my frustration towards my training and believe it or not I started to feel less alone, I started to do better in school, I started to feel alive again. I felt that the burden of having to be constantly sad and depressed was lifted from my shoulders, that I could breathe without the fear of having flashbacks, that I could go back to being my old self whom I honestly did not recognise anymore.
I felt so liberated after having found purpose in my life again but this was short lived when I overheard my cousins plans to publicly humiliate me in school one day. I told myself that this had to stop and that I couldn’t let him keep victimising me like this. Honestly, I thought to myself was there anything that I could do that would get him to stop coming after me. Should I confront him and talk to him. Maybe that would solve everything or it could make everything worse I thought to myself. I just went with my gut and confronted him that very day and asked him what his problem was and why he kept on victimising me.
He just smiled and said, “I hate you”. That’s why and it’s never going to stop. You’ll just have to keep looking over your shoulder every day for the rest of your life and that will be my biggest win ever. “Making sure that you are miserable for the rest of your life and you will never know why, that will be my biggest win”, he said with an evil grin on his face.