Peer Review by spearmint (United States)

Below, you'll see any text that was highlighted with comments from the reviewer.

Tap on comment to view. Using a mouse?

Hover over comments to view. On a touch device?

Blood Tastes Like Iron

By: Xavier Nelson


As a child, I had a lot of problems with lying. Me? A liar? Shocking, right? Well, it was because I already had given out all my trust. The people I gave it to decided to maim it so bad that I couldn't use it again. It would've been improper to give someone something so dirty.

It was easy to lie when you truly believed that everyone hated you and was out to get you. These feelings started to crop up in 2nd grade when I became afraid to leave my classroom. I'd peek through the window, looking down at all the kids running around and having fun during recess. Some kids were playing foursquare, a game I quite enjoyed, others tetherball, and many kids played on the playground.

They were all idiots. I felt bad for them, really, I did. It's just, I knew that if I left the doors to the school without my teacher or parent I'd be kidnapped and tortured. I knew that as soon as I was left to my own devices, someone would come to swoop me up and kill me. It boggled my mind how the other kids could be so blind. How could they be having fun when they were constantly in danger?

I was constantly in danger. Sometimes, I'd lend my trust out for a couple days, but it'd always come back broken. Being betrayed became so common that I had to lock my feelings so deep down inside of me that I forgot I even had feelings to begin with.

But it was not fun being this extremely vulnerable creature in a world filled to the brim with beasts. Beasts who seethed and drooled uncontrollably when given the chance to dig their fangs into me and rip out chunks of my heart, slowly betraying my trust one by one. I had to create this barrier. A barrier that would stand through whatever attack on my trust.

That's right... I was The Robot; I had to be the villain in my own tv show. This way, it made sense why everyone hated me. Everyone hates the villain simply because they exist. The villain and hero always aimed for the same goals in life, which was to be happy and bring peace, but the villain was the only one wearing a cloak of shame because they were different.

The parallels were shocking. I realized that if I was the villain, I could do anything and have it chalked up to just being the way I was born. Villains lied, stole, WISHED DEATH UPON THEIR ENEMIES, so I embodied that stereotype (Yes, even the last one).

From time to time, people would poke holes in my reality. I had my first crush in 5th grade when I realized my best friend, Aman, was incredibly cute. After he told me he'd be moving away to Hercules, I couldn't stop crying. People thought it was because we were such good friends, but it was because I knew I loved him. It was the type of love you couldn't explain and when I tried to explain it, I was told I was wrong. I hardly even knew what "gay" meant, but I was already hating myself for it.

Every time someone would poke a hole, I'd counteract my weakness by shoving my feelings further down inside of me.

I am The Robot.

I am The Robot.

I am The Robot.

If I repeated this to myself enough, it'd become truth and I wouldn't be taken advantage of again. I'd eventually lock myself away from the world. Away from all the evil people in my life that were trying to kill me. People can't realize that villains are victims.


Why do you torture me like this? Why do you care? I'm not even human. My mind was just this minefield that was impossible to walk through without setting off 20 explosions. Each explosion triggered a thought or reaction so severe that I thought I was going crazy. I wanted knives, lots of them. I needed to protect myself. Kids would only laugh and point fingers. They were scared of things that were different. But I wouldn't take their insults; I was The Robot. A beast of my own creation that could make it through any catastrophe unharmed. 


I didn't make it through unharmed. In fact, it was my fault for being so soft. I willingly absorbed all those insults and helped them on their journey down inside of me. I helped them weave a nest made of veins inside my heart so I wouldn't be able to function like a normal human being. The veins twisted and hardened into faulty pipes. The jungle that was my heart would never cease to expand. The cage made out of thorns that surrounded my heart was there as a precautionary measure. Just in case I ever decided to move again, I made sure it would be hell to breathe. So once I realized I was not as strong as I wanted to be, I let myself shortcircuit in a sea of hurt and pain.

Sometimes, the only way to remind myself that I was human was to cut myself and taste the blood:

It tasted like iron.

Message to Readers


Peer Review

I was just moved by how powerful and sad this whole thing was. Everything fit together almost perfectly.

I want to know what people did to you. I already know about Enes, but I think it would be a little more informative to find out how others hurt you too.

Reviewer Comments

This piece was such a nice read, I really enjoyed it, even though it almost brought tears to my eyes.