Maybe fiction is right.

Maybe fiction is right. Maybe there are no happy people.

Why can I never protect anyone? Why can I never help anyone?

No, that’s not true. I help, sometimes. But I don’t protect. I can’t. I want to, so desperately, but I never can.

Why are we all messed up?

Three of us have family problems so severe they tear holes in us. Two more simply have a difficult family relationship, not painful because they’re used to it but still harmful. One of us doesn’t know who he wants to be, and his attempts at finding out distance him from the people who matter to him. Two of us are only just coming out of an all-engulfing sadness that overwhelmed us, that left us with doubts and fears and sorrows and which seemed to last forever. (Mine did, anyway. I’m only assuming his was similar.)

And I’m leaving. That’s going to upset all eight of us. It’s already upsetting us.

Why are we all messed up?

Why is there nothing I can do? Why is there never anything I can do? How long will I have to be helpless? Is it always going to be this way? Is this life? Is this just the way it works?

We help each other just by being there, by being ourselves, by laughing together at nothing, by spending time with each other. We help each other without knowing it, without trying. I think this is what true friendship means. I’m not sure.

I can never be angry at them for long, not once we’re together. I smile when I think of them. I laugh when I remember some of the things we’ve done together – nothing big, just things we’ve shared, moments that would mean nothing to anyone else but which make me grin.

I cry when I think of their pain.

I can’t stop crying.

They feel trapped. They want to escape, but it’s not easy to escape family. Family loves you, and you love them. It’s not easy to leave, no matter how they might hurt you.

He cried himself to sleep. He cried himself to sleep. More than once, he said. He’s strong. He wouldn’t break down over nothing. He’s one of the strongest people I know. And he cried himself to sleep.

Why do grades matter so much? Why can they leave her so upset? Why can they have such an effect on her – and if they do, why can’t she do anything about it? She’s also strong, and very intelligent. There’s no reason she shouldn’t get top grades in most things. It’s just because she’s bored out of her mind in so many classes, and then she gets frustrated because no one teaches in a way she can easily follow, and then she starts to actually believe that she’s bad at this. She’s not – or she wouldn’t be if someone had noticed, ages ago, that she was above average and not below, and done something about it. Instead she was ignored, abandoned with her boredom. Small wonder she has trouble with school now, despite being more intelligent than most people around her.

Nothing ever goes quite according to plan. Life never ends up the way you expect, especially in the long run. Grades are important because they are proof that you are qualified for one thing or another; but in the end, there are other ways to prove yourself. There will always be doors, if you are tough enough and clever enough (and sometimes lucky enough) to find them. She is tough and she is clever – she just has to believe it.

Why are we all messed up?


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