She wears a shimmering skin of silicon and lace. Reflected in a silver screen is the soft curve of her face. Her eyes are lit from within with a gentle buzzing glow, but their soft shine conceal a pain no one will ever know. She navigates the brutal world with the grace of a condemned martyr. “Dying is easy,” she whispers, “living is harder.” Headphones hold her soul inside, lest it escape through her ears, and her throat is always salty from a slick of unshed tears. She swallows them down in the sunlight, so passerby never suspect, that the ship afloat on the sea of her brain has been tragically, fatally wrecked. She staggers through each sunrise, and endures every trial, and every harsh word, laugh, or stare, is met with a fresh-cut smile. Her strength comes from her valiant heart, a strength stronger than steel, but everyone needs a place of safety, a place to grow and heal. Her sanctuary is immaterial, but it hasn’t failed her yet. When the real world has rejected her, she finds home in the internet. The constant stream of criticism, unrelenting cynicism, chauvinism, barbarism, attacks upon her optimism, all the pain, it melts away in electric anonymity: she is welcomed in unanimity. She greets loving friends and settles, safe, into acceptance all too rare. Nothing cruel or cold or sharp could ever cut her there. Safety is born of mystery, and she wears a digital shield, revealing more than ever before though her identity is concealed. She is witty, she is pretty, she is confident and new; no barrier lies before her that cannot be broken through. She finds platforms where insecurities dissolve and the world is faced with new resolve. The people that she meets here have not been by judgement broken. The best conversations she has had, neither one has spoken. A backlit glow paints the walls of her room: hopeful screens banish gloom. And yet. The walls have sprung a leak. Her impenetrable fortress, proven weak? Poison of the outside world floods into the well; the light of her computer screen cannot break the spell. Cruelty crawls in twelve point font where supportive words once dwelt, and aimless, baseless hate shatters the security she felt. Sticks and stones and words alike ooze through the data cloud. As she types a shaking response, she is weaving her own shroud. The venom of strangers has eroded her skin, eating lace like acid rain. The only thing she reflects now is a stricken face of pain. How dare they take away her refuge? The only place of authenticity, a place where, hesitatingly, then with pride, she can be who she chooses to be? The snakes slide through wires with crooked tongues and hot jaws gaping wide, infiltrating the accounts and inboxes where she tries to hide. The glow that lived behind her eyes flickers with static as it dies.
Silence stains the walls of her room. Silent screens display a silent tomb.