“What are you scared of?”
“You’ll never be good enough.”
The words were swirling around in her head and digging into her chest like phantom knives. I’m sorry. Tears seemed to crawl up from the back of her throat and flood her lungs. She was drowning. I’m sorry. There was no point in trying to catch her breath. She didn’t deserve it. She was crying. She was weak. I’m sorry.
Shelves fell over in her brain as she tried to find all the possible responses that would prevent this from getting any harder. Anything but the truth. Anything.
The kid had shattered her ankle and kept a smile on her face the whole time but she couldn’t manage the fear in her own head. It was pathetic. She needed to get up and get over it just like she did with her ankle. She needed to be normal.
She seriously considered asking if she could go to the bathroom. Anything to get away from the disappointment and discomfort on her coach’s face. But if she did that she’d be stuck between the stalls of a cramped bathroom or watching herself lose it in the dirtied mirrors.
“Hey, how about you just take a break and do some drills for a bit?” It wasn’t the voice she was expecting. Instead of snide it was comforting. Her brain had transpired the blonde hair out of the sickening precision of her memory. It wasn’t her.