The Silent Life of David Shatter

I'm mute. I don't talk. Ever. Comes as a shock to some people. Comes naturally to me. I can talk. I just prefer silence.

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4. Monday. How we hate you

 

Aileen went home after lunch. Her parents were understanding of what had happened. I was still very confused as to what me and Aileen were. A thing? A couple? And item? I dunno. But when Monday came, God, Monday was a bitch. 

"Speechless. I warned you. I did. But you didn't listen." Jack said, coming up behind me. "So on Friday, the little bitch went running to you, did she?" he continued. 
LEAVE IT. PLEASE. I KNOW WHAT YOU DID. 
"What I did? Surely stealing someone's girlfriend is worse."
I DIDN'T STEAL AILEEN. IT'S NOT MY FAULT SHE DOESN'T LOVE YOU. 
"Not your fault? Not your fault?"
Jack grabbed me and slung me to the ground. 
"Listen here, Speechless, we were happy until you came along. Then you went and screwed it all up." he shouted at me, spit flying from his mouth. 
"Jack, I never loved you. David simply opened my eyes to that." Aileen said. She appeared behind Jack again. It seems that she knows when Jack is shouting at someone, it's probably me. I scrambled to get up off the floor while Jack was looking the other way. He raised a hand to hit Aileen, and-
"Stop!" I shouted. I shouted. Oh my God. I just spoke. I couldn't just let him hit her. Everyone froze. Staring at me. 
"Oh my God." Aileen muttered. 
"Say that again?" Jack ordered angrily. 
"I-I-I said stop." I muttered weakly. 
"Well, well, well. Speechless can speak." Jack laughed. 
"Y-y-you lay a s-s-single finger on her, a-a-and I'll make you s-s-sorry Jack." I muttered. 
"Whadaya gonna do, kick me?" Jack teased. 
"Yeah." I said, planting my foot right between the legs. Jack keeled over in pain. I ran off, Aileen close behind me. Bye bye, Jack. 

I went back to being mute after that. Me and Aileen were just chatting in the hallway. 
SO US. ARE WE A THING?
"Yes. We are." Aileen replied. 
WHAT SORT OF THING?
"You're my boyfriend, I'm your girlfriend." 
OK. JUST CHECKING. 
Aileen laughed, and kissed me. It wasn't a face-eating kiss. It was delicate and sweet, just like her. 
"David, there's something I wanna tell you." 
WHAT?
Bell rings. 
"I'll tell you later, k?" 
OK. 

So she did tell me later. We went back to my house, where apparently because I walked in with my hand around Aileen's waist, that meant we were a couple and my brother called it. So my sister handed him a 50 dollar bill. Gee, she had high hopes for me. We went upstairs to my room, where I lounged in the hammock and Aileen lay on the bed. That was just how it happened. We always sat in our own places.
"What I was going to tell you earlier...."
YES? WHATEVER IT IS, YOU CAN TELL ME. 
"Swear this'll be our secret?"
UNLESS I THINK YOU'RE IN DANGER. 
"Gee, you sound like a counsellor."
SO HOW ARE YOU FEELING TODAY?
Aileen laughed, but then went back to being serious. 
"Please, no jokes, this is serious."
OK. 
I got off the hammock and went over beside Aileen. She sat up, and we sat on the bed opposite each other. 
"David, I don't know how to say this."
JUST SAY IT. DON'T THINK ABOUT HOW. 
"I-I-I-"
LOOK. NO MATTER WHAT YOU SAY, I'M STILL GONNA BE HERE FOR YOU.
Tears came to Aileen's eyes. Whatever it was she wanted to tell me, it was weighing down on her conscience.I leaned in to hug her, and I kissed her on the forehead.
"David, you're smart." Aileen said once she gathered herself. "If I give you the hints, can you add them together? I just really don't know how to say this."
SURE.
"I'm gonna take your iPad. I'm gonna type it up. I'm gonna leave. Then you can look." Aileen said as she took the iPad from my hands.She typed quickly, but not as fast as me. She typed for what seemed like eternity, but was in reality about 5 minutes.She handed me th iPad, and left the room. "I'll be in the bathroom." she said on the way out. I read the typed message she had left me. It read:

David. Before you read this, you gotta know that I am still the same person, no matter what this all adds up to.
I never wear short sleeve t-shirts.
I never pull up my sleeves.
Have you ever seen me in a swimsuit or bikini? Nope. Never.
In Phys. Ed. in school, I always change in the loo, out of sight from everyone else.
What would I go to such great lengths to hide?
Scars.
From what?
Myself.

I reached the ned of Aileen's message. So that's what she wanted to tell me. She hurts herself. I lie down on the bed for a minute. I feel slightly sick. Why? Should I ask? Am I the right person to ask? I can think of a million things to say, but am I the right person to say them? I can't possibly know what has driven the bubbly, caring, funny girl I love to this. Then it hits me. She said she'd be in the bathroom. With razors. I run out of the room towards the bathroom. I don't burst in. I knock first.
"Come in." Aileen's tearful voice answers.I enter. "So you read it?" she asked, sitting on the edge of the bathtub. 
I nodded. 
"And you understood?"
I nodded.
"David, I'm sorry I couldn't just say it.You're probably wondering why."
I nodded.
"It started when I was twelve. I was being bullied by every Tom, Dick and Harry in the world. So I just started. One day, I went home and no one was there, so I took a knife from the kitchen and-"
STOP.
"What?"
STOP TALKING ABOUT IT. BUT THAT BLADE IN YOUR HAND DOWN. AND COME GIVE ME A HUG.
"Ok." she all but whispered. She dropped the blade and came over to me. We hugged for what seemed like hours. 
"I love you." I whispered in her ear.
"I love you too." she whispered back.

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