When I was in third grade my teacher asked the class to list words that corresponded to the asking of a question. He said to recite words that were used to ask all questions. Prizes were given out for each word as they floated from mind to mouth and mouth to mind including who, where, when, how, why, and what. I thought about those words for many years and pieced together my interpretations of each question as if each question was addressed to me and no one else. Who... who would love someone as broken and as far gone as myself? Who would care if my essence no longer existed on earth and my body was far beneath its surface? Who. Questions plagued my mind and left my heart in a tangled, mangled mess of pain. Where... where were all the dreams and empty promises that had filled my mind? Where will I go when I can no longer stay where I am standing? Where. But my mind never faltered and even though I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders my knees did not buckle and my lips did not purse. When... when would I find my true meaning in this world? When will my prayers and desperate pleas to god be answered for as I am living now there is little hope left in sight. When. The next question I asked was bound to leave me reeling, but still somehow I asked how... how could someone claim to love you that much and then hurt you that badly? How many ways could I try to kill myself without succeeding? How. The tears are fresh in the glimmer of my eye, but so much is left unsaid. Why. Why did you leave me? Why did I trust you when I knew that it was safer to trust no one? Why. My face sinks in my pillow as my breath is consumed by the feathers within. Please no more questions. What. What kind of father would make their son feel that worthless and that insignificant? What kind of mother would stand by as her son is abused and do nothing? What. I have so many questions and so little time. No one seems willing to answer, but the more I ask the more I realize what all of this has in common. Marks. No question is complete without the addition of a question mark.

My life is full of marks like those you left on my back. The marks that decorate my arm like the medals of a soldier, and the marks on the wall of my childhood home to remind me not to fear death because Hell does not seem as scary if you’ve already lived it.

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