This was Troy’s second call today. I’d talked to him during the first, so I handed Priya the phone.

Troy: “Hi Priya, how you doin’? I was kinda worried about you.”

Priya: “Why?”

Troy: “Your mom was telling me about your wrists . . .”

Priya: “Oh.”

Troy: “Talk to your parents, tell them the things you’re going through. Why do you want to hurt yourself?”

Priya: “It was a spur-of-the-moment thing. I wasn’t thinking. I was in fifth grade when I cut myself for the first time. This time it was more out of fear, and I was angry at myself, and I was crying. So I took a pair of scissors and cut my wrists.”

Troy: “I don’t understand why you’d want to hurt yourself.”

Priya: “I was being stupid. I had a lot of anger and resentment toward myself.”

Troy: “Well, every time you feel that upset with yourself, just sit down and write me a letter. Personally, I think you should pull away from your friends for a while. Most of the people who say they’re your friends don’t realize what friendship is. It took me a while to realize people only socialized with me because they wanted something. My so-called friends would go behind my back and do things without even telling me, which sucks because these are people I would’ve given my life for. With every mistake, God is teaching you a lesson. Just take something away from it and learn from it.”

Priya: “How do I work on getting true friends?”

Troy: “You don’t work on true friendship. It just happens. Every time a true friend sees you doing something wrong, they’ll try to stop you. If they see you depressed, they’ll talk to you about it. Those who just want to have fun are not going to care. Always remember to take a few seconds before you act on something. Take a few seconds and think about how it might affect you. Pull back a bit. Do things that make you happy and spend more time with your family. Don’t worry what others say or think, just do you. You and Gautam should settle down and communicate a little bit more.”

Priya: “Lately, I don’t see Gautam at all. I saw him for maybe ten seconds today.”

Troy: “Always feel free to call Martina. She is a good listener. She cherishes you and would love to listen to you and give you some advice.”

Priya: “I don’t think things through, and then I get in trouble at school or with my parents or my friends.”

Troy: “You know what I want you to do for me? I want you to sit down and write a poem about it. Don’t worry about not being able to go to the mall with your so-called friends, just focus on you. Don’t ever feel like life is so bad that you have to hurt yourself. Don’t try to take the disappointment in others personally. Be positive and do positive things. Do you and Gautam play chess?”

Priya: “No. I don’t have the patience for it.”

Troy: “If you get into it, it will ease some of your frustrations. I thought chess was boring, but someone in prison taught me how to play, and I eventually learned enough to conduct strategies and beat him. It teaches patience.”

Priya: “My mom is losing her patience with me. She wants me to stop skipping breakfast. I also had detention today.”

Troy: “Why did you have detention?”

Priya: “Uh . . . I made a bad decision. I had it today and another one tomorrow.”

Troy: “And you’re gonna try to clean that up?”

Priya: “It was so stupid. The whole concept of me getting in trouble was stupid. But I’m feeling better now because my mom and I are looking for a vocal teacher to help me improve my singing.”

Troy: “Martina heard you sing and said you sound so angelic. Could you sing for me?”

Priya: “Okay, I’ll sing a little bit.”

So long, my long lost lover,

So long, abandoned fantasy,

I’m learning how to live without you

Why won’t you leave me be?


Goodbye, my hopeless paramour

There’s no future for us two

Now I lay here, heartbroken

Long lost lover, I think of you

            Troy: “…”

            Priya: “Troy? Troy, are you there?”

Troy: “I just . . . I’m trying not to tear up. You sound so, so beautiful. I can just imagine you on stage, and everyone in the audience holding candles, and they’re just awestruck. You have a lot of potential that I would love to see you reach, Priya. Don’t waste your talent. Learn from my mistakes. Sometimes you only get one chance, and if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, it can change your life forever.”

Previous: Part III, Section XIX

Next: Part III, Section XXI

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