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All I'm Good For

March 6, 2024

Written by Helena Wang

I remember how she would get up every morning and stare at me, sometimes for a second or two, sometimes for an hour, maybe even three. It would be like clockwork, ripping off the blanket in the morning, slipping on her white fluffy slippers only to sprint over to me. Every day there would be a new look on her face as her gaze bore into mine, a sort of determination, or desperation maybe. Fingers flew through her hair, detangling and patting it down, trying to fix it, to fix her.

Sometimes I would be shoved into the corner, watching as she and her friends gathered around the floor, eating pizza and watching movies. The laughter got so loud once it felt like, for a moment, I was simply going to shatter and end up sprawled over the floor.

I watched her do her homework every day after school, for hours on end. I watched her do the laundry on her bed, throwing on a show in the background only for the clothes to end up tossed around the room because she became too engrossed, smiling and giggling at the couple on the screen. I envied her as she pranced around in her room to whatever new album had just come out, her record player spinning tirelessly on her desk, holding her hairbrush like a microphone.

I don’t know what she saw in me; some type of happiness or hatred, I wasn’t so sure. It felt so blurry, like the emotions were fighting over each other inside her. She would look at me with tears streaming down her face, dripping onto her freshly washed clothes. Not even moments later she would put on this mask of a smile, pushing past the tears, convincing herself that she liked what she saw. It soon became tiring, almost. Seeing a sort of torment behind her eyes that she would spend a lifetime trying to make disappear.

Occasionally, she would jerk out of her seat and stomp over to me with nothing but pure anguish in her eyes. She would tear apart her skin, stretching her nose and her eyes, yanking at her hair, needing to change something. She would furiously pack on concoctions of powder and liquids, covering herself, disguising herself. Only to, once again, break down in front of me.

She knew I could do nothing but sit there and watch. It’s all I’m good for it seems.

Once, ripping herself apart wasn’t enough so she drew her fist back, face bunched up in a mixture of tears and anger, and broke me. I felt these lines spread across my body, splitting me apart, cracking open my insides. There were parts of me strewn all over her floor, dangerously sharp, horribly tragic.

She still came to me the next morning, cracked and all, wanting to stare at me despite all the shattered bits. It made her look like a Picasso painting, a mosaic of sorts.

I never got fixed. She just became accustomed to that distorted fragmented self she saw whenever she looked into me.

Soon enough, those fragments became her, who she was, what she believed in. And so, I merely sat and continued watching. It’s all I’m good for.

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