I know I shouldn't blatantly be sleeping in class, let alone giving my teacher attitude but it's not for lack of trying. I try very hard actually, it's just nothing works. If I know something already or if I'm not interested, I can't fein like I am. I can only pretend if I care, which doesn't usually help because if I care then I normally don't have to pretend. It's just a hard switch to find in the darkness of my mind. I show you these parts of my life not to further display how cranky I can be — please, don't hate me yet! — But this was to show you just how lost I was that day. How someone can feel so solid & rooted to who they are & what they are, but still be wrong. Still be on the cusp of a revolution — & the first shot was about to be fired in mine.

I can end it.

Bodiless & effervescent, this voice came flooding through my ears like an ocean wave crashes on the shores; effortless & calming & powerful. It managed to be both soothing & uproarious, causing me to jolt suddenly at my desk & slam my knee into the corner.

"Is there a problem, Penelope Jane?"

"Just Jane! & no, I’m okay, I just… thought I heard something"

"So as I was saying, what can we discern now that we know X is equal to…"

This is the kind of thing my Mom was worried about before. All the voices in my head are mine, I know that. I’m not crazy. I’ve been this way my whole life. Hashing out conversations in my head before they happen. Realizing that I’m preparing for a future that is totally unpredictable & sometimes, yes, I have arguments with the voices, my own voices. But it doesn’t normally sound like that did. It doesn’t normally sound like anything... you know what I mean, like when you think things, even in different perspectives, it’s not sound, it’s thought. This wasn’t thought. This was heard. It just seems like only I heard it.

I can end it.

Maybe Mom was right all along, I should’ve just taken my stupid pills. Maybe all of this could’ve been avoided. Somehow, I still doubt it.




"Jane! If you don't unlock this door right now, we're going to break it in! Can you hear us? It's me, Ms. Fry! Are you decent? I'm coming in there!"

"I—I'm here! I'm here! I'll be right out, I'm sorry, I feel sick, I'll be right out!"

Don't feel too bad for me. No one else is going to. It's 1988 & a lot will have to change before what's happening—or rather, what I stop from happening—makes sense. In their defense, an earthquake had evacuated the building & when they were came back in to do a sweep, found me standing over the sink in chem lab, the door locked, refusing to respond. They saw me through the glass opening in the door & called out but I wouldn't move; I wouldn't even flinch. I was somewhere… feeling something… so it was real, I'm just not sure what kind of real it was, or what it was at all, really. I know more now but I can't say I'll ever know everything about what it is, but we'll get there, in time. I'm starting at the very beginning for a reason; the beginning of my memory, anyway. 

Memory, in so of itself, is very unreliable though. Much of what you'll get from me is conjecture. A connecting of the dots, if you will, of an image I'm unsure of. I haven't been given the subject or even the theme, but rather told, "This is an image, go ahead & construct it again." The hippocampus is a flighty temptress indeed. The stories I tell you now are from so long ago, I can't help but feel like I'm trying to form smoke with my hands into some concrete visage. I have to try though. It's too important not to share this. It may be happening to you too. In fact, if you're hearing this, it likely is happening to you right now. That's why speaking it aloud is so crucial.

The stories must be told.

"So tell me, Jane."

"I just did. X is equal to 24."

"Yes, but I asked what was wrong with how you answered this question?"

"Nothing. X is equal to 24"

"Yes, I know, but you didn't show your work."

"Why do I need to show you how I did it if the answer is right? That doesn't make any sense."

"Do I need to send another note home?"

"You divide 96 by 4 to isolate the x, okay? X is equal to 24."

"Watch your attitude, young lady. Don't get smart with me."

"I am smart…"

"What was that?"





The sink is holding you.

Porcelain expands to fit every crevice of your clenched fists, stuffing full in your fingers to exert the pressure you cannot. The translucent ceramic cements you there. 

Held & whole.

The tiles stretch to fill the floor & catch you. You have no shin, no knee, no thigh, no peg or prop to lift you.

You're falling without moving.

The world holds you.

Nothing can hold you.

The mirror is shaking. You can't lift your head to watch it. You can't move to know for sure but you notice it in a way that requires no confirmation.

The rattling tears through your bones like lightning.

There's no feeling, no sensation; only through the tethers to your soul.

Rooted in the nape of your neck & escaping into nothingness.

A tree so solid it's invisible.

It's your forest. The forest.

The vines extend through everything. All is built on the soil you're standing on; standing within.

Lifting your neck is like shaking off years of ice & snow.

A relic awakens in you.

Lift your head & unlock it.

Unlock it.




"Have you been taking your medicine?"
"We've been over this, Mom. You already know I'm not."

"Then why am I still paying for it? & your doctor visits!"

"Search me."

"You know, I get it. No, don't roll your eyes, I'm certainly not being the cliché mom who says they remember exactly what it was like to be your age because honestly, I don't. The world is so different today too, hell, a celebrity is President so I won't go there, but I remember enough to know it's not easy. I'm not trying to make it harder on you either but this. Talking to you—"

"How about listening to me?"

"I try to but you have to admit, it's hard to understand why you don't want to take the only thing that can help you."

"Because they don't help me, they numb me. There's a difference."

"If someone were screaming in your ears & you wanted me to make it stop, I'd cover your ears. I'd suppress them. I couldn't stop the screaming. I couldn't take away the noise, so I can only compress your ability to feel it. Isn't that what the medicine is doing?"

"If you say so.""

"I'm asking you! Tell me. Please."

"We're almost at school, I'm going to be late."

"This conversation isn't over, young lady."
"I didn't think it was! I'm just late for class, okay?"

"I love you!"

  "Love you too."

I promise you I'm not always this big a jerk. I just have been having the weirdest, most realistic dreams for the past week; to the point where it doesn't feel like I've slept at all since they began. I don't have time to explain that to my mother though because as you can see, she's already worried my head's going to pop off any second. Her concern is not entirely misplaced but the pressure it causes only adds to the weight I put on myself already. I can't think about that now though because I need to focus. It's a lot of hard work to pretend you're normal. 

I think we all can attest to that in some way or another.




"Did you forget to set your alarm again?"

"No, Mom, I just don't want to go. Can't I go to work with you again? I don't make any noise & I honestly probably learn more there than I do at school."

"Well, you'll want to go when you pay taxes, but no, honey, you can’t come to work with me. You've already missed enough school this year & I can't be going in front of the school board every semester or you'll never graduate."
"Why, exactly, would that be a bad thing? You didn't go to college either & you're rich."

"I've also been very fortunate. I don't want you to rely on luck, I want you to earn it outright. The world is a lot less forgiving now than it was even ten years ago."

"Well, I told you voting was stupid, but you didn't listen to me."

"You're a child, Jane, like I said, just wait until it’s your money."

"I know more than you do though…"

"What was that?"
"Nothing! Ugh! Can we just go already then? I want to get this over with."

"Let me grab my purse, I'll meet you in the car."

I don't slam doors often so I apologize that you’re meeting me in a moment where I am not at my best. Since we're outside already though, I can't give you a proper tour of the house like I should have but I'll do that later. We have time. You're not going anywhere.

Take a look at this neighborhood though. You might recognize it as every affluent suburb you've ever seen where condo towers & mansions run rampant. Maybe you've never seen one though so let's asses together. Here you'll see my mother's luxury sedan, complete with state of the art flood lights, memory seats, & even a car phone. So cool. You can't see me right now but I'm rolling my eyes. We're the last house before the cul-de-sac where, as you can see, every house looks the same. Slight tweaks in the shape of each frame but they're all bland, all familiar. Why yes, we do have the same car as two other houses on the block, how wonderful of you to notice! Sorry, I'm being an asshole & I shouldn't be. I know that I am very privileged to have all that I need; the security of my family & the community, but sometimes I don't feel very grateful. I know I should be & I know that I am but I don't feel like it’s enough. Why does everything suck to someone?




Wake up.

"Jane, wake up! Don't make me come upstairs again or you're in trouble. The bus won't wait for you & neither can I!"

"I'm up, Mom, I'm up!"

As you can see, I am not up. I hate waking up & not for the reasons you might think; at least not for the reasons most people do. I don't care to sleep longer. I don't have dreams. There's nothing enticing to me about being in pajamas. I don't want to wake up because it's just… too loud. There's too much noise, everywhere. 

Before you get excited, I'm not psychic, I can't hear voices, & no special powers are trying to reveal themselves. It just feels like noise. Don't worry, it'll make sense, we have time. Be quick now though or you'll miss me finally lumbering down the stairs.

There I go.

I guess this is where I would describe myself, huh? My hair or my eyes, my skin tone and my body type — any details to help you better get to know me. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that's just not going to happen. To be fair, I couldn't if I tried. I can't be objective with myself long enough to give you an accurate description. I would either present some monstrous, self-deprecating depiction or — inversely — craft a wildly generous image of what is an otherwise hideous appearance... wait, I still did it, didn't I? Oh well. "Why can't you just tell me your attributes plainly?" you might wonder to yourself, to which I would reply, "what does it matter?" Would you relate to me more if I had your hair color? Or your skin tone? If the answer is yes, for whatever reason, then that's how you should picture me. This story will only make a difference if you don’t just understand, but empathize; if you put yourself firmly in my skin — in my soul.




The trees don't move & neither do you.

The clouds hover patiently, scattered & dark. Auburn leaves lay still against the sandalwood. It is damp.

My coffin rests. 

The fog cascades over the hills, gliding silently & ceaselessly. The grass is wet with dew. You hear nothing. There are no scampering feet of a woodland creature, no footsteps, no life. The wind waits. The earth is still. 

The world is you. 

You're in a forest. The forest. You look down at your feet. They're covered in dirt & blood & debris & all you've carried here with you. The grass & pebbles twist in your toes. You press them firmly against the soil. 

You smile. 

You close your eyes & take a long, slow breath. You smell it all around you, unsure of what it is. You exhale & your shoulders roll forward, back down. Your chest settles. 

You have arrived. 

Where to is a mystery but from where, even more so. Nothing is familiar, but everything is known. This is there & that is here. Everywhere is anywhere. 

The trees don't move & neither do you. 

My coffin rests.