It’s a butterfly. It’s black, all black, with misty, soft, glowy, fuzzy edges, like the edges of a shadow.
You can’t really hear it, it’s there. You begin to let your guard down, it’s there. You let your mind wander, it’s there.
It speaks to you. Stop trying, it says, you don’t need to be with others. Just go, it says, just go alone, sit alone, eat alone.
So you go alone. You sit alone, You eat alone. Then you leave alone.
It flies next to you. You don’t need to look up, it’s just there. It grows. It always grows. It lands on your shoulder, your head, your chest. It’s heavy, too heavy. Don’t fall, you tell yourself, don’t fall. Just fall, it replies, just fall.
It’s a heavy load, it is. In class it keeps your head down. In walking it keeps your shoulders hunched. In sleep it keeps your body curled.
The others, they try to keep it away. They fight, claws, fangs, hooves, venom, they fight hard. It keeps coming back. It keeps speaking.
You’re not good at this, it says, you’re not good at that. You’re good at being bad, it says, that’s a better way to think about it.
It still grows, it’s still there. It covers you with it’s wings, it pushes you down. You can get back up but it pushes you down harder. Stay down, just stay down, it says, stay down, stay low, then you can’t get any lower.
You can still get lower, but man, it doesn’t know that.