Welcome to hell, where the walls are crafted from the bricks of panic that weigh on my soul. Where above my head looms a cloud of thought, the dark kind that bears a blue tint. Rounded edges folding ever outwards, with gaps of light whose presence is forbidding and gloomy. Welcome to hell, where I stand gazing upon a pale faced reflection of half my DNA, with high cheekbones and skin that droops at its smile. Dark eyes that stare back at me, and a bony structure, like a picture half colored in. In the corner stands a small girl with blonde curly hair, tangled into a ponytail that sags a tad. She wears a little white shirt depicting a unicorn throwing up rainbows, it is her favorite shirt. Paired with the camo pants her dad picked out, the ones that match her brothers. Her cheeks are round, they protrude from the edges of her face, and just below her eyes they are a light shade of pink. She bears bright blue eyes, the kind that invites you to play and seems to say, I believe the world is good. She places her hand on her hip, like any sassy young girl would do, and her tiny fingers wrap around her waist. Today her hands are not large enough to hold so much as all of the halloween candy she wants to eat before dinner, but one day she believes, those hands will shape the world. Stranger I beg you, be the one to tell her she’s wrong. Be the one to gaze into the curious blue eyes and tell her she will come to know pain. To know loneliness and heartbreak, be the one to tell her that the world is not all good. For I am at a loss of words.
The walls pulse in and out with every breath I take. Across from me there is a camera, like the eyes of those who have faith in me. I stand up proud on broken feet, and smile without breathing for fear that the walls around me will begin to close and never stop. I smile at the cameras and hope the lenses do not focus on the pain painted behind my eyes. I smile to the cameras to show the little girl that one day she can too, that she will not break, her dreams are not too big, and the world may not be all good but that does not mean that she can’t be. I smile. The walls close around me and caress my smile like cold dead fingers. The pale faced reflection mouths the words, I’m proud of you, as though they are stitches that will piece together what is broken. Their words are hollow and said without sound, the silence that falls between us is deafening and pulls from me my breath, as though it is a string or rather a thick dense rope that can be pulled up my throat and through my lips and leaves me without words. I hope to God the small girl does not see my fear. The door cracks open, the light drips in. A pale face peers through the crack and lays its eyes on me, and it is you dear reader. To you I whisper, welcome to hell.