“What do you want to be when you grow up, sweetie?”
Wrinkled face and coffee breath hot on my neck, why is she standing so close to me?
“Do you want to be a scientist? An astronaut? A politician?”
I want to go home.
“Did you do your homework, sweetie?”
Fluorescent light flickers overhead and blows out, I wish she would go with it.
“You can’t make money writing, sweetie. You know that, don’t you?”
I haven’t slept in a week. Where am I? Is this real, is this me?
“Why don’t you look at me when I talk to you, sweetie?”
Oh, right, eye contact. Look, two, three. Blink, look away, act normal.
“You’re just not trying hard enough. Why aren’t you trying your best?”
I want to burn my eyes out. Is that good enough yet?
“You young people have it so easy. You ought to be ashamed of the way you behave.”
Twelve years we spend in this place? How much longer till I get out?
“These are the best years of your life, sweetie. Suck it up.”
If you only knew the lies they told, those fork-tongued sentries.
“You’re never going to make it.”
“Yes I will,” I whisper, a vow only the gods can hear.
If I can make it out of here, I can make it anywhere.