She hated it when they shouted at each other. Cruel sharp words, arrows dripping in saliva and bile. How could they even look at each other the next day. How could either of them accept the other's 'I didn't mean it'.
In her head she joined in the screaming, silently begging them 'Don't say it. Please don't say it. You can't say something like that and not mean it' Once those words were out, they were out - there in the air between them. No matter how hard they'd tried to pretend it didn't matter, it did. She couldn't see how they could act as though things hadn't been said.
She'd dreaded the times at school when the teacher walked around the class as they wrote. Automatically her arm would go up around her work, shielding it from the teacher's eyes. Pencil in one hand, eraser in the other, she'd write and rub out, again and again. The paper turned thin and grey, but she didn't want anyone to read it until she was sure of every word.
At work she agonised in meetings. Confident of her point, but never quite sure when to make it, she dreaded the moment when they'd all turn to look; a raised eyebrow, a barely concealed smirk; her confidence sent plummeting. She lingered over e-mails, knowing how they could be misinterpreted, how jovial could be read as flippant, succinct as terse. On the way home in the car, she'd replay the day's conversations in her head; the things she could have phrased differently, the times she should have kept mum.
At home in the evenings, in front of the laptop, she tapped the keys, watching the thin black lines appear on the screen. Just lines and shapes, meaning so little, revealing too much, concealing more. Type and delete, type and delete. Again and again.
She hit the 'publish' button, sensed the black lines peeling away from her, lifting up from the screen and flying away. She didn't know where they'd land, if they'd be greeted with a friendly welcome or a forbidding stare. Once they were out, they were out. She couldn't pretend they hadn't been said.