I entered the bathroom at school that day
And heard her voice in the farthest stall.
A girl, doubled over and silently sobbing
Crumpled against the wall.
Her hair in a mess
Her glasses had slid of her nose.
As she sat on the floor of the bathroom
In a manner too morose.
I went to her and gave her a shoulder
Told her “Tell me what’s wrong.”
She looked up with eyes so red and sniffed,
“The story is far too long.”
“That’s what you say when you don’t want to tell it.”
I smile and encourage her to talk.
“I woke up too late this morning”, she started,
“I missed the bus and had to walk.”
“My step mother wouldn’t drive me down.
I was getting too lazy, she thought.
But she doesn’t know I was up doing homework till 3,
And she didn’t feel my forehead- it was hot.”
“Dad was already off to work
He couldn’t really care less.
He’s too caught up with wife number four
To realize my life is a mess.”
“I came to school and opened my locker.
Out squirted a bottle of sauce.
The kids had poured it over all my books
My whole locker was ruined- a loss.”
“My spare clothes stuck to each other
Sticky and drenched in red.
The ink on all my notebooks
All over the pages had spread.”
“I’d spent so much time writing a poem
To present in English class.
The words are blurred now, I can’t read it,
It’s absolutely crass.”
“And they’ve ruined beyond recognition
The photo I have of Mom and I.
And while I took it out and tried to make amends to it
Everyone just laughed and walked by.”
“I don’t have another photo of Mom
I haven’t seen her in twelve years.
Everyday I used to look at it.
It helped me battle my fears.”
“And now its soggy and scratched all over,
The only piece of Mom I had.
Tell me now, if someone did that to you
Wouldn’t you feel so rotten and bad?”
I knew I shouldn’t pity her,
She wasn’t the type to like that.
So I just rubbed her arm comfortingly
As both of us on the floor sat.
“I don’t know much about you.
But I know this much.”, I said.
“That bullies are everywhere,
And they live off the tears you shed.
“So don’t give them a chance to live
Don’t cry or be weak.
It won’t help you,
It’ll just make your future bleak.”
“Don’t let a person armed with ketchup
Trouble and get to you.
Crying in bathroom stalls is for the weak
You’re not weak, are you?”
“Get up, dust your pants
Go wash up your face and smile.
Clean up your locker and your life.
Stop sitting here crumpled in a pile.”
“I’ve learned the hard way
Not to sit alone, crying and sorry.
So don’t be the girl that cries in the stall
Don’t be like I used to be.”