The rip of guilt

personal narratives Apr 12, 2021

By Mia Zhu

Right now I feel I’m just a placeholder for the next amazing person. You might think I feel dumb or useless being some sort of placeholder. But NO. It’s nothing like that, I feel guilty. I feel bad for my parents working hard for me to have a good life. I feel bad for my sister to have such a disappointing sister. I feel bad for my friends for having such a boring friend. So feeling guilt is a very repetitive feeling for me. 

    But there is one time that it really stuck to me because it was the first time I felt real guilt. I was in second grade, at one of my friend Ellie’s house. I was reading one of her favorite books, “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” by Dr.Seuss. I was flipping around the middle, and then a small rip sound was made. It sounded like a short crunch of potato chips. I immediately closed the book and looked around like a squirrel that heard a soft crunch somewhere. She was bringing the dogs out at that time and just came in. I pushed the book away and pretended I was looking around her room. She then asked, “Do you want to eat roll-ups?” I sighed in relief, thinking that she won’t know so I can relax.

“Yes!” I answered, we ran downstairs like our life depended on it and raced to the kitchen. Then we decided to play hide and seek, I was first to hide. I hid behind this big stack of papers, and she found me very quickly. 

“Mia try harder, or the game will be boring.” At that time she was reaching over the piece of paper. Then slice… “I just got a paper cut…”

“Are you okay!” (I think back and realize that I have a big fear of paper cuts. ) 

“I’m okay, but the paper didn’t even say sorry so payback time.” She took the first paper from the pile and started ripping her heart out. At that time I froze up like a deer in the headlights, in it brought back the image of me ripping her favorite book. I shook off the fear of her finding out and moved on with my life. But I couldn’t when we were playing hide and seek the guilt was growing on me like fungus growing on a dead tree. I felt like I just killed a bug, who wanted to die. I acted as if there was something I was trying to to remember something I couldn’t. But I remembered when we were playing she suddenly asked. 

“Mia are you ok? You are acting like you just peed on your neighbor’s lawn. And is feeling guilty about it.”When the word guilt appeared, I just felt like someone stabbed me with 3 knives that were poisoned with the feelings of the paper I ripped.   

I replied with a harsh, “Yeah! I’m ok.” But really I was feeling bad, really bad. So bad I can’t even focus on hiding and seek. Everything triggered me, but it didn’t make me angry. It shocked me or got me scared, I would tense up or jerk away from anything I touched. . I couldn’t stand it so I just told her in the most serious voice an eight-year-old can make, and said. “I ripped your book.” I don’t know why I said it, because honestly, I think I could’ve got away with it. 

“What book?”She replied with a concerned tone. I couldn’t look at her eyes, I was embarrassed. I felt if I was on trial for murder, from that one question. I shivered. 

“Your favorite one,” I replied. 

She looked at me devastated, she interrogated me even more. The whole time I didn’t look at her and answered in a quiet voice. Every time she had to ask me “WHAT?”, and it scared me every time. 

“What page?” she asked. Silence. Sniffles. Then crying, “Why are you crying? It should be ME crying.” But she looked concerned. 

“It. it was not on purpose. I’m sorry.” I stammered. 

Thats the end, I don’t remember the rest. But This was the first time I experienced real guilt and I wanted to share it with you. 


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