Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

Rumour Has It

Rumour Has It

Amaya Liyanage

Year 9, Loyola College, Watsonia

She sits on the windowsill of a car-rental place. Hours after the closing. Waiting. The cigarette sat dangling on her lips. The lighter placed loosely in her palm. She never really did like smoking. But it was better than the memories...

Late-night cigarettes

Liquored-infused lungs

Rumour has it

Oh, rumour has it

Those hands are stained crimson.

Ah, the taste of liquor. The burning sensation down her throat. She never really did like drinking. She'd never had a choice. But somehow, it tasted better than those tears.

Black-lined tears

Lipstick-tinged collars

Rumour has it

Oh, rumour has it

She's every lover's toy

Love was a distraction. A petty one at that. She'd never liked the sensation or the disgust she felt afterwards. She hated feeling attachment. But it was better than their hate. She liked to think she belonged to no one. But alas, the world had her in its hellish grasp.

Up-drawn hoodies,

Razor-sharp smiles

Rumour has it

Oh, rumour has it

Those lips speak more lies than truth

Smiles and smirks. They got her through the night. Oh, she'd give anything to be warm. The smiles bought her shelter. And she'd never been one for gossip. Why make up stories when you could live in your own? Ah, but the world had other ideas. She wasn't going to escape this reality soon. A prison. And who had built it? Herself. She was the author of her own demise. But her prison was better than the pain of loss...

Tattoo-filled arms

Wild-pierced face

Rumour has it

Oh, rumour has it

She could be in tenth grade

Tattoos and piercings. A story of their own telling. A mask of power and strength. Stories hidden within those colourful embellishments. What had led her to this place? What prevented her from leaving? Why did she cry herself to sleep, on the cold, unforgiving streets of a city? The tattoos would tell you. But who would look? Ah well, their respect was better than their pity...

Red-rimmed eyes

 Screaming at the world             

“I don't need you to ruin me”

“I can do it myself.”

So she did. A proving of her worth. She went down blazing, a tribute to her strength.  She made the world watch as she took control of her own destiny. She was tired of the world telling her what she could or couldn't do. It was time. She wouldn't let the world ruin her. She would do it herself.

  All she needed was some love

 All she needed was a home

But the rumours got her