Voices

I took tums to sixth grade camp because I had frequent heart burn. 

The chaperones laughed at my awkward claim, and made a comment about the benefits of calcium. Then again, even I didn’t know it was my words that were burning in there. 
When I was sixteen I lost my voice for five whole days. All the yelling at cheer camp must have damaged my vocal chords. Nobody asked about how much I just wanted to belong to a group that wouldn’t accept me. 

And when I came home I was greeted with gratitude that the family could enjoy a few more days of peace and quiet. 
At seventeen I found alcohol 

Which I thought would cleanse my wounds and let them close. 

This time the burn travelled down, and I had hoped that it would clear all the crinkled words that had been trapped. 
When I was twenty seven someone finally said what I had already known, “your words mean nothing to me.”