That word, Rachel couldn’t stop thinking about that word. She despised that word. And yet here it was staring back at her as someone called her that word. She felt a tinge of hopelessness and despair as she looked at the word. Rachel then did the only thing she could think of, she curled her hand into a fist and started hitting her head believing that would erase the word.

It was at this moment, Cassie walked in on her little sister and saw what was happening, “Rachel, why are you hitting yourself? This isn’t like you, please stop”. Cassie asked showing concern for her younger sister but Rachel was too upset to speak and instead show Cassie her tablet and how someone had called her that word.

“Ah I see, Rachel you aren’t that. You are a sweet and kind young lady. You are also very smart and I don’t want you to ever forget that. You are not what this person says  you are!” Cassie reassured her little sister as she grabbed Rachel’s favorite plushie, her cat, Diana.

“But what if they’re right?” Rachel asked her big sister now squeezing Diana to death. Rachel was used to bullying as it was sadly part of her everyday life but to see someone call her that word was a new blow to her courage.

“They aren’t and if anyone ever calls you that again, I’ll beat them up. That’s what an older sister does and don’t forget it”. Cassie reassured her distraught sister. She could see that Rachel was still hurting and that’s when she had an idea.

“Why don’t I sleep in here with you and we can build a plushie fort, they’ll protect you from seeing that word”. Cassie suggested but Rachel wasn’t sure.

“If I close my eyes, I’m just going to see that word again and I just want it to leave me alone. I’m not dumb or…” Rachel started to say but her older sister cut her off.

“Saying that word will give it power and you need to show it that you are more powerful. Think of it like a piece of trash. Just throw it away”. As Cassie said this, that word started to fade from Rachel’s mind and she was slowly feeling more like herself.

“Cassie, can we build that plushie fort and have Sir Bearstoff guard the fort?” Cassie just smiled as she saw her little sister get her sparkle back as Cassie placed her sister’s teddy bear out front to guard her from that word.

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6 thoughts on “That Word (An Original Story by Timothy Murphy)

  1. A nice short story about how words DO have the power to hurt (the old ‘sticks and stones’ saying is wrong), and, more importantly, what we can do about it. If we’re lucky, like Rachel, we have supportive friends and family who can help us through it.

    1. Thanks Chris, this story was inspired by a real experience of someone calling me one of the worst things ever and Rachel is my self-insert as much like her I started to believe that person and hit myself feeling stupid. Cassie in this story is a combo of all my friends who supported me like my best friend Marianne who was quick to get on my case when I called myself dumb over the tiniest mistake and Cassie saying she’ll beat up whoever called Rachel that comes from my friend, Lizzy saying those exact words to me.

  2. Knowing what inspired this story, I can only imagine that recalling the incident was painful, but hopefully cathartic. Neither you or Rachel, or anyone for that matter, should ever be called that.

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