A young girl thinks of harming herself. Just this once, she thinks. Yeah, I did it before, but I can control it. I can stop anytime I want.
She picks up the jagged piece of glass, the one she found at the bus stop when nobody was looking. The one she slipped into her purse, tucking it deep down inside, the way she's tucked her feelings.
It's a long road that's taken her to this point. She feels lost, unloved, afraid, alone. Children in school taunt her, call her names, push her, spit on her.
She sits alone in her room. Her computer whirs to life, and she clicks on a link. The jagged glass lays atop her desk, the overhead light reflects in it. She looks at it, then at the screen. She's typed in something silly, something that meant so much to her as a child. Two words: Claw machines. They used to make her happy when Mom and Dad brought her to the mall. The way pushing the joystick made you feel in control, if only for a short time. The way you were rewarded with a little toy prize if you did well.
The girl picks up the shard of glass. Maybe just a little cut on her leg this time. It would release so much tension. It would make her feel alive again, if only for a moment.
Something catches her eye. She sees a smiling face staring back at her from the computer screen, a YouTube video. She clicks on the link and a young man plays a claw machine, nonsense words come from his mouth, but they make her laugh. His zany antics hold her captive for the moment, and she laughs again, a welcome sound in the stillness of her room.
Over and over she watches one video after another. This boy who jumps around, making funny faces, winning prizes in that most beloved of games. She puts the glass down. It does not captivate her as it once did. For she's found another outlet now. A positive one. A role model who knows what it's like to feel alone. A role model who's been through shyness, insecurity, and pain.
She writes a fan letter to this boy. And when she hears back from him, her life has changed. She's not a nameless face in the crowd. For someone has acknowledged her. Someone who has journeyed a long way himself, and found light at the end of the tunnel.
The girl holds her head up. She vows to make a change. The broken shard of glass goes into the trashcan, falling to the bottom never to be seen again. I can do this, she thinks. I can do anything I put my mind to. I'm not the same person. . . because he saved my life.