The Girl Under the Bookcase (Part 3)
The events that led up to my unfortunate decision went like this: First, Carlie started to make plans that didn’t include me.
I didn’t understand what was happening, couldn’t remember anything specific that I’d done. The story that I told myself was that it had to do with the fact that I’d become increasingly depressed after my breakup with P—and was being high maintenance and more than a bit obsessive. In other words, I assumed I was driving Carlie off with my crazy.
The situation escalated.
Until finally, the worst thing possible happened.
My demons tried to help, but none of their suggestions felt like the right thing to do.
I found somewhere else to sit, pulled back my tears and tried to look like I was having a good time. Worrier followed me and spent the rest of the game repeating over and over just how dire she thought the situation was.
In retrospect, I realize that I did end up sitting somewhere and with someone. So someone must have welcomed me and my situation couldn’t have been as dire as I remember. But at the time, that was how it felt.
The exact events of what happened the morning of the bookcase incident are fuzzy. I believe that Carlie and I had a fight. I’d called her several times the evening before and she’d never called me back—something that would have never happened just a few weeks earlier.
Carlie had an excuse, but sometimes you can just tell that there is more to the story than what the other person is telling you. That they’re soft peddling to spare your feelings or avoid confrontation.
My Demons responded by elevating our emotional status to high alert. But it was Driver’s voice that shouted loudest.
I felt desperate, panicked—and even a little angry. This wasn’t fair. I didn’t deserve this. I lashed out at Carlie, cruelly spewing the exact opposite of what I meant.
I darted across the hall to my homeroom. The decision to crawl into the bookcase was made instantaneously—much in the way one might see their life flash before their eyes in a moment of extreme fear.
As soon as I was under the bookcase I realized that my thinking had been extremely flawed. But by then it was too late.
I’d let my crazy and my desperation show. Not just to Carlie, but to an entire room full of my classmates. It felt like I’d been under there for a very long time—though it had probably only been a few seconds or a minute at most. My Demons were not happy.
But I was too ashamed and frightened to move. What I wanted was, once again, for someone else to do the hard work for me. To come save me. And for that someone to be Carlie. Or if not Carlie, then one of my other classmates. Because that would be proof that I was wrong. That someone did like me—and that I wasn’t alone.
I wish I’d had more self-esteem than that. That I didn’t need someone else’s attention to make me feel like I had value. But unfortunately, I was a teenage girl. And I really was that pathetic.
There was no hope…
Or was there?
I was saved!
Or was I?
Carlie’s hand hadn’t been a peace offering—it had been a parting gift. A morsel of pity attention. Sure she’d gotten me out from under the bookcase, but in asking her to do that I’d gone too far: pounded the last nail into my own coffin, made my own bed, ruined it for myself…
Our friendship was over. It was back to going to football games alone for me. And even worse, I’d elevated this devastating loss into a public spectacle. Now everyone at school knew just how crazy I was. No one was EVER going to want to be my friend again.
I did the only thing I could.
I assumed a new identity that day. I wouldn’t be Popular, nor a Girlfriend, nor a Gymnast…