Sickness…take a pause…

I wouldn’t say I didn’t believe my mother when she said she was sick, it was more I didn’t understand the level of sickness she was having to endure. But now as I lay in my bed and attempt to write this post I feel the headache coming back to me. So sorry mom if I seemed at all humorous to you when you were in bed, because now I must endure the slow recovery to my normal health.

Have you ever said to yourself, “You are not sick. Just believe you are fine and the sickness will not be there.” Well In the past I told myself this for years. When I swam, my coach would tell me the same thing, “if you don’t want to be sick, then tell yourself you are not.” Easier said then done, however if worked perfectly fine for her. She said she would only allow herself to be sick in the Summer, because she only had coaching. I however swam year round and my only vacations were holidays, and I wanted those times to be with family, not in bed. So constantly pushing myself to not be sick, just made me extremely sick when my body couldn’t take it anymore. Which is why I think my body sometimes shuts down. It is telling me I need a rest and I should take a couple days.

For the past 2 years I have not experienced that shutdown. I believe it is because I have one less stressful thing in my life. As much as I love and miss swimming, I think it was the best thing for me to stop. Yes, I might have been able to make it to the Olympics or even just Olympic trials, but I would have never been able to experience life through my twenties. So getting injured, even though I thought my life was over, was the beginning of my true self.

It’s funny how when you have time, even “being sick time”, that you can look deeper into your life. You see the things you cherish more, and you discover what truly matters to yourself. Family, friends, art, dancing, love, work, etc. I have much to cherish, and without stopping and pausing ever so often I might forget.

So in a way I say, “Thank you Mom. You might have given me a sickness which produces the worst headache in the word. And the constant terrible sweats, and chills. But you have given me a pause to reflect what I love most. Which is you, and my siblings. I love you!”

Whom Do You Hear?

Can’t Stand Me

The lights are blaring into my mind, and the chattering of people engulfs my essence.  There is just an audience of strangers ready to judge and comment on my performance. “Why am I doing this?” I question my reasoning’s as I stand behind this curtain about to take the stage. The curtain hides my figure and my fears. I have never wanted to be a singer; I have always been the girl who just quietly hums to herself. In my head I sound like this musical angel and there are no cracks or squeaks in my voice; I just hear soft, smooth, lyrics pour from my mouth without much thought.

The curtain is a stiff material and smells of alcohol, grease, and an unmentionable. I step away from the curtain, but then I feel revealed and less safe.  Because if the moment came that the curtain would rise I could clutch onto it and disappear into the darkness above. But I stand there, cowering behind the curtain, almost center stage, waiting for…

“Next up we have, Emily2Jane! Clap for her it is her first time here!” Thunderous applause erupts after his last syllable.

My hands are sweating and I drop the mike. The echoing sound causes my head to pound and ache. I snatch it up and the assistant off to the right gives me questioning look of, “Are you okay? You can give this up now if you still want to.”

I ponder this choice. Give up…that is not in my vocabulary. New Year’s resolution was to try and be courageous no matter the result. Although, if I leave now I could still keep this as a daydream…No do this for yourself. I answer with a firm shake of my head and the assistant cues the curtain to be raised.

Again I am flooded with light. I can see no faces. That makes this bearable, until the light dances off to my side and I see every face staring at me. The machine to my left brightens and the music begins to play.  My chance is here and everyone is waiting. I pull the microphone to my mouth and…squeak! I stop dead not wanting to continue. “I already accomplished my fear. I stood in front of an audience and put myself on the chopping block.  Can this be enough?” Looking back to the assistant. He is bright red but he circles his hand, telling me to continue.

I continue, but it is awful the whole way. I cannot hear my own voice, but I imagine it is what everyone usually experiences.  My throat is dry and weak with nerves as I continue; I imagine I must sound like I am just mumbling the words off as they appear on the screen. Nerves are not a fun thing to have; they make everything twice or three times as bad.

The song ends and I hear nothing. I want to run off the stage and through the door into my quiet life. But of course, I freeze with fear and my feet are glued to the center part of the stage.

“Well that was great, wasn’t it?” the announcer tries to diffuse the silence. If we were outside you would hear crickets. Nothing. Silence. And every eyes still trained on me. Mouths gaping open with wide eyes. My hands are sweating again. I feel the microphone slipping and I clench its handle tightly spraying sweat over my knuckles. I can hear a mumbled voice speaking, must be the announcer, only my heart beat is penetrating the silence. A hand opens, pointing off stage, trying to lead me out the right side back behind the curtain. Still there is silence. I reach the curtain and there is a small clap. It is slow and steady; then another clap joins in. Until the audience is clapping in unison. I stand halfway behind the curtain and half on stage. I thank them with tearful eyes and a small reassuring nod and exit to my right.

I have no idea if they clapped because they liked me or because I was brave. I have no recollection of my performance and I couldn’t describe it to you now. I only slightly remember the squeaking and this could have been my imagination. I am drenched in sweat and smell terrible. I need a bath and a large bowl of chocolate ice cream to help me recover. I move towards the exit and many hands congratulate me with a small pat on my back. I wish they wouldn’t because I can feel the sweat dripping off of me. I reach the coat rack and move towards the exit. The announcer calls back, “Come again, Emily2Jane!” and I leave.

A Story: Part 5

A Story: Part 4

Without opening my eyes I extend my limbs in every direction, and my hands stroke smooth material which seems to melt through my fingers. As my legs brush against the fabric my small hairs spring to life from the slight shocks of static. My feet repeatedly bury themselves and then expose their toes feeling the fabric glide off their visible skin. I can feel the warmth of the sun beat down on me and I hear a faint breeze shift in the wind. All is still and peaceful, but with my eyes closed I wonder about that figure. I hear a small bird, just out of reach twitter is own magical tune; however, it’s sound seems so far away. Then there is a tapping on the window.

Window? Bolting up I see the bird outside the dirty window whistling its song while ever so often tapping the window glass. So I am not dreaming. I am again in my room. But the fabric? …looking down I see a brown blanket draped under my body twisting into my bed sheet. This isn’t mine. I take the material in my hands and try and distinguish something recognizable. I can see nothing but my drizzles of drool spilled over a top corner. “Sorry” to whoever’s blanket this is. At the farthest corner, I see a cursive “D” spelling a word….Danny. Bless little Danny’s heart.” I feel bad about the drool, but he did snot-fest my shirt that one time…I will wash it out later, showing him the same kindness.

Strange I have no headache and no voices, maybe David has gone for good. Of course as I say this to myself I know if will come back to bite me later. But still with the thought of his name, he does not surface. I am just confused because I can’t even feel his presence like before.

I stretch my arms high above my head wanting to touch the celling. I feel no soreness or pain; I feel content and bliss. I prepare myself for the dizziness after standing, but nothing comes. This is strange…I almost glide over to the mirror in search of my eyes knowing I will see truth.

I fall back suddenly in shock. Looking in I saw orange. Not just plain orange, but fiery orange. I saw hints of gold and shards of red. I looked like a possessed human or even a ferocious monster. Standing, I peer into the mirror again my eyes are normal with the peaceful green and hints of blue and brown. But they also look alive. I can see my own reflection looking back at me. I wonder if my orange eyes had been real or if the light had hit the mirror in a new way.

I change my clothes quickly not wanting to see the bruises from the day before, and I see the layer of dust covering my dresser. Nothing has moved or is out of place; I lift the brush, beneath is shiny, new, and bare. How…? …No….

I open the door and all the surrounding doors are standing open, allowing any to enter. “Danny…” I rush to his room and there it is tussled and ruined with no sight of life. The little bear which he always slept with lays torn in my path. All the furniture is turned and trampled. Nothing is as it once was.

I scoop up the bear and wander back to my room. Each doorway shows another lost loved one. Gone without notice and what seems like, without a say. Each door similar to the next. Each door hanging on its hinges ready to give up on life.

Me too. Knowing that all these children, all these beautiful children are gone. I have no will to live either. I wander back into my room cradle the bear into the smooth blanket, my last piece of Danny, and almost whimper myself into a dead sleep.

Danny…Danny…DANNY! “Why Danny?” screaming myself awake not able to handle the reoccurring torturing nightmares. Since I have no recollection of the canceling, I know the shadows must have done this. My nightmares consist of me trying to save the children, but remain glued to the floor unable to save anyone. Then the shadows turn towards me and I awake. The bear is still swaddled in the smooth brown blanket, but now there is more drool and small dabs of snot from the day before.

I have not left my room. I have not seen another soul or shadow.  I don’t move because of the fear of being next, also because it will awaken my stomach. The doors all still hang open, including mine. Why bother. If no one comes I will die alone, and if someone comes it is my end.

Except for my stomach I would have laid there until I became dust and died. But the constant growling is obnoxious and I can’t ignore it any longer. Going to leave I turn back and scoop up the bear and blanket. I tie it as a sash across my chest keeping my precious keepsakes close.

The hallway seems deadlier. No noise. No life. No warmth. It reminds me of a book I read about ghost stories; the cemetery of headstones, each having a new original story to tell. Slowly I meander to the red door to reality. Maybe beyond that door all will be gone too. No shadows. No fear. No life. Maybe I am the only one still left living. The knob turns too easily, then I push way too hard, the door swings open suddenly, and I collapse to the ground. I lay there in silence. Catching my breath and thankful for the bear, because it might have saved my ribs. I brace my stance and push myself into a kneeling position….

Nothing. The small room with the dining table is toppled over and in disarray. The swinging doors to the kitchen are torn off its hinges and lay shattered on the floor. Dishes are broken and scattered everywhere. Every step I take another shard breaks into a million smaller shards beneath my feet. The diner is empty and every table is distorted. Nothing is the same. Everything is destroyed. I hear nothing except my breath; I am no longer hungry. No one is present, no children, no shadows and no customers, just me. Looking back over the path I have followed, I see nothing but the evidence of destruction. Something flickers in my side-eyed vision. A sign I have never seen. In blaring red lights it reads, “EXIT”. Curious…

I stumble across the broken dishes, torn cushions, and the spilled syrup covering the floor, towards that sign leading to oblivion. The door is glowing and the sun is pouring through the windows. I touch the knob and it begins to hum and sing into my palm. It almost feels alive. I turn the knob, shove open the door, it won’t budge. I shove again and I hear a crack. I kick and slam into the door. I continuously pound its wood until the door gives away and I topple into the light…

Thud…I hit the ground and I feel plywood beneath me. I open my eyes as the pain in my knees send a stinging sensation to my back. I see fabric wrapped around my head, and I feel it strangling the air from my throat. I frantically struggle to unwrap my suffocating body from the material.  My head is finally released and I am on a cold wooden floor. Danny’s blanket was the cause of restriction. Completely confused, I search of a recognizable building to know my surroundings. I see a dark form. A sturdy block shaped form slowly comes crisply into view. A desk…a dresser…

I am in my room…

Invisibility Power

Now You See Me

The young woman sitting in a room surrounded by people giggling and laughing and enjoying themselves. She sits there doodling in the edges of her journal trying to be courageous and speak up and join the conversation. Every time she lifts her head to chime in the people shift their bodies away, probably because of the breeze from the window, and continue their ramblings. She continues to sit there alone, on her stool, against the wall. She feels invisible to the public and she feels like if she were to stand no one would notice. No eyes would turn towards her as makes her way to the door. Some heads might turn when the bell above chimes, but would quickly turn away when they don’t see anyone. Instead this young women sits quietly and listens to the mumblings of the surrounding peers.

Being invisible is not so bad. You are able to sit alone for long amounts of time and listen to others as they talk away without the realization of someone listening. But what would this young woman do if she was to hear some scandalous news…no one would hear or even care. Someone mentions her name and her head jolts up in recognition, but the name was wrongly used and they do not notice her sudden movement.

This woman can no longer stand the avoidance. She tucks the pen in the journal and puts the journal in her bag. She stands up tall, just for herself because no one can see her. She wades through the tables careful to not bump anyone, because they would blame a neighboring table. She makes it to the door and the bell chimes as it opens. The door is opened for her. She steps across the threshold and a young man looks into her eyes and says, “Have a nice night.” He enters and closes the door behind himself. This young woman stands immobilized like her feet are glued to the floor. Her power of invisibility must be wearing off, and she follows the sidewalk to her car with a small skip in her step. Because if one can now see her, maybe there will be more.

A Story: Part 4

A Story: Part 3

“Jane…Jane…JANE!”

I shoot up and my pounding heads warns me with a stabbing pain to my forehead that I should lean back or I might die. I lean my head back closing my eyes hoping the pain lessens.

“Ha ha ha…”

That voice seems familiar, but it is also slurred and almost too quiet to find any distinction. Thinking about this voice draws a figure to my imagination. The figure is obscured but then I remember and recognize the voice.

“Yes, poor Jane. It is me,” David snickers to himself having it echo throughout my brain.

That Cretin. Why can’t he be like all the other voices? They have all been stored perfectly and none of them interrupt my sleep with their words. And of course only David’s voice is so obnoxious sounding. “Please leave my mind and find a place for you to be in peace,” I feel stupid pleading with my own self but thankfully I am alone in my room.

“I do not have that luxury. I forever must stay in the foreground of you mind watching your pointless imaginations never become reality. Maybe I will be quiet for a small amount because this corridor of memories seem interesting.”

Not my memories…what if he destroys them?

“Yes, Jane that is why I will leave you for a moment. Hopefully I can cause you much pain as you have me.” And his voice disappears, but I can still feel him echoing inside my head.

I open my eyes and my room is just the same as Yesterday, but has it been only day is key.  This time I raise my head and only a burning sensations engulfs my head and spine, but I am able to look across at the mirror hanging on the wall.

I slide over to the edge of the bed, because I dare not stand before I can actually feel my legs. Swinging my legs off, my toes touch the icy cold floor and I drape a small blanket over my sickly legs. However, in this sitting position I cannot see my reflection in the shard of glass about six inches above my head. So I tie the blanket around me like a skirt, brace my arms on the bed-frame, and hull myself into a standing, sort of, position. I adjust my position to see my eyes when…

In burst the deep red shadow and it lunges and grasp its claws around my throat. My sight dims away and the light leaves my essence. I feel my already stiff body crumple to the ground and drift into the abyss.

“Let go of her, even though I wish I could kill her on the spot we still need her. She is the key to our existence.” I guess they thought I was unconscious, but once this other voice began talking the deep red’s grip loosened. “We need her to recover and now it seems she will need another day. Leave!” This second voice was harsher and squeakier.

The deep red throws me back against my bed as I hit my head on the headboard and I drift back into the sleepless slumber, now with just a new concussion.

I open my eyes and my body is curled up onto a beautiful beach blanket and my skin is a stunning tone and it shimmers in the sunset. I feel no sense of cold or my injuries; I only feel alive and renewed. My clothes are made of the smoothest and shiniest material and it brushes my skin and it feels like someone is softly petting me. I glance a distance forward and there is the deep striking waters dancing against the sand.

I brace myself for a fall, when I attempt to stand, but truthfully all my pain is gone. Only the beautiful warmth engulfs me. I spread my arms and hop, skip, jump, run towards the sea without a care in the world, because there is only me. I continue to the water, but the air changes gradually to a humid but chilly temperature. I wrap my arms around my chest trying to keep warm as I watch the sun slowly drift downward to be swallowed by the sea. Goosebumps appear on my arms from the change in weather and I look back towards the blanket wishing I had brought it with me to snuggle into.

I think I see movement just left of the blanket in a bush, but I doubt myself because I am too far away to see clearly. The sun has drifted down so far that now as the figure steps out from behind the bush it is in a natural deep shadow, unlike the shadows in reality. The shadow has form: shoulders and legs.  Even though the shadow is about thirty yards away I can still make out the shape of the head and the arms swinging syncopated with the legs.

However, the figure is making quick speed and is now about twenty yards away and I turn back towards the darkened sea, but now there is no sense of light anywhere in sight. I turn to look back at the figure and I am engulfed in black. I can make out no figure, no trees, no sand, no sea, but there is me and the sound of steps crunching in sand coming towards me.

The goosebumps have sprouted hairs and they stick up in fear and now there is only cold air. This dream is not reality, I can wake up at any time. “Wake up!” I shout out loud because I want to scream myself awake.  “Wake up!”

The continuous steps have turned into a run, because I hear louder thuds but less of them. I can hear the breath of the runner as their body comes closer. They seem out of breath and determined to reach me; like they must or else.

“Wake UP! WAKE UP!” The last scream sends me through to reality. I am laying in my bed and I feel sweat dripping down my face. My pillow is drenched and squishes as I move to sit up. I brace myself with my arms as I sit and there comes the splitting headache. It rushes to my forehead wanting me to lay back, but I feel a tingling on my wrist. It feels like someone is gripping my wrist and their fingers are pressed into my skin. Looking down there is no amputated hand grasping my wrist, but I can feel the spot where their pointer finger must have pressed into my inner wrist. I turn my arm expecting to see something growing on me, but instead there is a small, almost invisible flower on my forearm just below my palm.

I heard steps, in the hallway, outside my room, coming towards me. Without thinking I threw my pillow under my bed and curled up in my covers and laid perfectly still, hoping the steps would continue. I try to relax my body because it is crunched and tense, a dead giveaway that you are not asleep. I slow my breathing and started counting to ten. The steps continued…one…two…three…step…step… step…seven…eight…nine…step with a pause of hesitation…then step….step…step past my door and down a new corridor.

I dare not fall asleep again so I just lay with my eyes closed continuing to breathe slower and keep aware of noises. However, like anyone my slow breathing and relaxing of the eyes eventually creates a peaceful state causing you to want to sleep, but still with heightened senses. The skin right below my palm, where the flower now sits, begins to pulse to my repetitive breathing giving me something to focus on while I drift away.