Silence. One of the things I hate most. No way to hide from being seen, from being noticed. Blending in was my one objective of life. Silence makes people pause and look deeper into the crowds, letting them see more things than they otherwise would have. I've learnt that going through life being seen and noticed just makes it harder to hide you emotions, to hide your thoughts. People don't ask questions, they don't start to get interested and they don't get closer. Most of the time friendships end up with one person spilling the secrets that the other person trusted them with. Trust - another word that makes me wince, possibly the worst of the lot. Trusting people just doesn't register in my mind, trusting does not appear in my life. When you talk about trust you think of families, friends, relationships - none of which sounds particularly appealing to me. Not because I think everyone is a horrible person, its just because they are normal humans. We hear something interesting, it gets around in less time than you would think possible. There's a murder on Tuesday, the whole world knows by Wednesday night! We have newspapers, radios, news on the TV to hunger our thirst of knowledge. Like school gossip - all these sneaky, immature rumours that go around (she likes him, or he likes her or did you know so and so did this, and whoever did that?) the line goes on. I remember a time when after a hard swimming session in the morning (this happens 3 times a week as I am in the school elite swimming squad, this sounds really posh but it really isn't) I realised that my underwear had not made it into my bag that I pack with my school clothes, which I take to swimming to change into. At lunch time practically everyone's conversation included the words "Katia", "No", "Underwear". One of the boys in my year (the kind that thinks he is so much better than everyone else) came up to me and asked me if he could check I had underwear on. Of course by then I put on my spares from my kit bag, and anyway I had left on my soggy swimming costume underneath my school clothes, but even so, I turned my scornful eyes to meet his cocky gaze. "Sure" I say, smiling sweetly, "only if you're not disappointed to see the rumours are not true. If you really are that sick minded and desperate for attention…." I let the words sink into to his stuck-up brain. He just grinned, not noticing the threat in my voice. "Okay, if you don't mind" he said, taking a step closer.

"Oh, I don't mind. I don't mind kneeing you in the head and watching you cry like a girl. I don't mind at all." with a cold bitter smile I swivelled around and walked away to my next lesson. You see? People pry for more information, humans like spreading around stories, they like knowing interesting facts - in other words, they like to know. That's why me and gossip girls don't get on. They don't like people not telling things. No-body realises that I see and hear a lot more than I let on. I never tell anyone anything. It is amazing or easy it is to find out everyone's secrets - not that I try to pry into other peoples business, I just listen more than I speak. It is amazing how many things people miss whilst they are busy speaking or whispering to their friends. Friends, another word I don't really understand. I don't understand why people would want someone to tell their secrets to. What's the point of having a secret if you go and tell someone what it is? It rules out the whole meaning of having a secret. Why would you want someone on your side, sticking up for you, if, for all you know, they are speaking behind your back for one minute and then being your friend the next, only to be laughing behind your back? It just doesn't make sense to me. People are fickle and there is nothing you can do about it. I guess I must sound like a pretty messed up kid. You got that right, except I'm not messed up in my head, I have been messed up by my parents. Ever since my dad left us, left me. Apparently he couldn't take the strain of having 5 children (so my brother says). Though, I've always thought that it was a pretty poor reason as he spent most of his time away from us, travelling for his work. He's sometimes come back with strange looking scars, etched all over his skin and face, or legs and arms, full of deep blue bruises that made him wince every time he moved. My mother was the one who did all the housework, cooking, washing up, dusting the peeling wood of walls or furniture. She had the full time job at home. I guess my dad leaving is the reason that I mistrust everyone, why I hate the world so much. The last words he said to us, as we were having a rare family meal.

"I love you all so much, I couldn't bear to be without you" when I think about it know, I have to stop bitter tears from rolling down my face. Those words were the highlight my life, at the time. I trusted my dad, looked up to him but he let us down, but worst of all he lied to me. He always said that lying was the worst trait of human kind, the words he spoke to us were just words, forged from his mouth. There was no real meaning to them. Something just to make us all happy. Everynight he used to kiss us all on the cheek and say "love is the one thing in the world that keeps people together, it's what keeps people from falling apart. Nothing keeps you more safe than love. It's your safe harbour from trouble and pain" for me, it was love that is slowly breaking me apart, it's the reason I'm crumbling inside, the reason that I feel all this pain. Those were the lies he told all of us, Sam, Oli, Rhianna, Megan and me, Katia. That was two weeks before he left. At the time I was 5, always the smiling girl that lifted everyone elses spirits, Dad showed me how to care, how to love, how to trust. I was invited to children's houses at least 3 times a week, I found it easy, almost like breathing, to be friends with anyone I choose to be. I could always think of what to say, there were never awkward silences, I could always think of something that would make children laugh. That's how popular kids are when they are young. They are the children who are easy to talk to, the children who want to do well at everything and find everything easy. I was like that once-upon-a-time. My eyes sparkled with enthusiasm and happiness back when I was young, instead of the hollow, lifeless look that now had replaced my contented smile. Then it happened, when dad stepped out of the door to walk away from us. My love of life faded to none existence, just like him. Now I cant remember his face. I don't want to. I am sure if I dug deep into my memory then I would find his smiling, blissful face but digging deep would be to exhume all the pain that was still consuming my thoughts, and rising me up at night, my dreams, full of shadows and emptiness. I've never trusted anyone ever since. He was the one who said you had to keep love and trust, and must not lose it - must not waste it. My siblings call him a hypocrite. To me he's just another human being. One who made you hope and dream and love. But he lied. He didn't mean a single word that came out of him lips. My colourful world broke into tiny fragments of life that have now sunk into the corners of my memory, changing from a vibrant reminiscence to a black and white movie that had been worn down by time. Happiness dissolved into an emotion that I could only dream of. Of course with all my sports achievements I should have felt some joy - at least pride but it just made me ache more for the one prize that was out of reach, impossible to get a hold of, unfeasible to win. I wanted my dad back. His comforting smell, his reassuring words. Part of me argued that he had left me, but another part answered back that he did love me, he had to go. I wondered why I though that? Though, I didn't spend much time in the past anymore. But as the world moved on, adding years to my age I forced myself away from the misery and longing, away from the nights of dreaming of his face. I rose from a dreamless night, ate, school., ate, school, home, ate, bed. But despite all of those things I never really lived. Sure, I was breathing and all that, but I survived in a trance. I shrunk away from the dance floor, the centre stage full of life and energy, to disperse into the shadows at the corners of the room. When I was 9 I had to endure the endless lines of childish boys, all wanting to be able to say that I was their girlfriend, girls clinging to my arms hanging onto every word I said. But as I shrugged off the girls and rejected the boys, they lost interest, they left me alone which was fine by me. Remaining unnoticed was something that I wanted to do. I went unseen through life until something happened that changed my life.