Pâtissière, M.D

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My alarm wakes me up on a cold, March morning and I hit the snooze button for the 3rd time. I am usually the type to rise before the sun, but last night I was up late trying to master a recipe for scones. After studying for a chemistry test for five hours, the only thing I could do to relax was to bake. The alarm sounds for a fourth time now, but the warmth of my sheets pull me under. It is still cold outside, and the combination of my winter duvet and my flannel sheets are too tempting to stay. I finally decide to depart from my bed and get ready for another day of school.

Although, this morning I rise late, and out of routine, I am still up earlier than my parents. Every morning, for the past 4 years, I have set my alarm for exactly 6:00 am, even though school doesn’t start until 9 and the bus don’t get to my stop until 8:15. Now, 6:20, I feel like I am running late. I change into a new denim shirt and my pleated skirt; an outfit I have wanted to wear forever! I put on the denim shirt and realise that it is still a bit cold, so I layer it with a knit sweater.

I try to tip-toe down stairs, and start the coffee maker as quietly as I possibly can. It is now 6:45, and my parents are just now waking up for work. This is one of the perks of being a business owner; you can take the Mondays off, making every weekend a long one.

I turn on the TV to the morning news, upset that I already missed a large portion of it. I go to the refrigerator and select a cartoon of 2% milk. I pour myself a nice tall glass and watch the condensation quickly form on the outside and drinking it down with one gulp. Curious, I watch a bit of the news and wait for the coffee to finish. Then, I go back to the fridge and remove a Tupperware container full of cranberry-orange scones I had made the night before. As the coffee finishes brewing, I hear my mother descend down the stairs in a loud, zombie-like manner. I know she must be tired, so I make her a coffee, double cream one sugar just the way she likes it, and hand her the mug. She gives me a small smile; her way of saying “thank you”. What she doesn’t notice are the scones that I have now microwaved. I smile with pride at my home-made scones, placed on a blue, ceramic plate in front of her. The commercials on the news are now on and she looks down for a second, catching a glimpse of the baked-goods. Then she looks at me.

“Where did these come from?” she asks with a serious voice, even though we both know the answer to that.

“I made them”, I say. “There are cranberries and orange zest and…” I trail off, knowing she’s not listening.

Mom is not impressed. But to be frank, she never is. “When did you make them?” she asks while taking a bite of a scone.

“Oh, you know, I, um, made them last night. You know, after studying for chemistry, I just wanted to de-stress so, um, I made them.”

I avoid fights with my mother, especially when it comes to cooking of any sort. But it’s the morning, and she doesn’t want to fight with me now either, so she leaves the arguing for later.

It doesn’t matter how cold the temperature is outside; my mother is always colder.

                                                                                                                       

When I get home from school, Mom is sitting at the table looking at one of my scones. My father is there too, but he really doesn’t get a chance to talk; Mom does enough talking for both of them.

“How was your test today?” she asks. Mom is always very concerned when it comes to school.

“It was fine. It’s chemistry. Same old, same old…”

From under her magazine, Mom pulls out a large, thick envelope from Berkeley. I know exactly what it is but I pretend, as much as possible, to be surprised, or at least happy.

“Here”, my mother hands me the heavy package, “Open it”.

I open the envelope and see a letter with the university’s letterhead printed across the top. The letter reads:

Dear Miss. Jennifer Nguyen,

Congratulations! It is with my great pleasure to offer you admission to the University of California, Berkeley for the Pre-Medical Under-graduate program for the Fall semester…

“Oh, um, wow. I can’t believe it! Ha! I got in!” I tried to sound enthusiastic for my mother, I really did. But Mom knows me better than I know me, and she knew that I couldn’t care less.

“Oh god, Jenny. Why are you not happy?! I don’t understand, I really don’t understand. You got accepted to university and you have NO REACTION AT ALL!!” And then she looked down at the scones.

“Really, Jenny”, her voice changed to extremely annoyed in a split second.

The room was dead silent for once and I could’ve cut the tension with a knife.

“You know that I don’t like it, Mom. You force me to take courses I hate, and then expect me to be happy. I got into university, great! What else do you want from me?!”

“Jennifer”, my mother says, now pushing the plate of scones closer to me and picking one up in her hand. “This is unrealistic. Not to mention a HUGE insult to the family!” Mom and I have this discussion often: she wants me to become a doctor; I want to become a professional chef. In my mother’s world, this is an example of regression.

“You don’t understand, Jenny. You are so smart and so educated. When I came to this country, I discovered fields of work, business, medicine, and politics. That was never an option for women back home. Women are allowed to become chefs in Vietnam because it is a lower class job. A servant’s job!  Food doesn’t matter that much, Jenny. Not as much as politics and medicine. Don’t you see that?”

As my mother scolds me for the fortieth time about how food doesn’t matter, my dad is making an instant Mr. Noodles bowl. Watching him add the hot water and dehydrated vegetable packets to the plastic disposable bowl makes me want to vomit. The only thing I can think of is, “ How can she tell me that food doesn’t matter in this world, when I live with two very educated Vietnamese people, who voluntarily eat crap, when they come from a rich culture with excellent food?!” This ridiculous notion passes through my thoughts multiple times during that day, but I never tell my parents. I usually just keep it to myself.

                                                                                                                       

Most people don’t know this, but even though Mom lectures me on ‘what’s best for me’ every day and how I have so much potential to become anything I want, I still applied to the top culinary school in the entire world: Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France. But, similar to everything else that I do or think about or struggle with in my life, I chose to not tell my parents. Mia thinks that I am acting ridiculous to not tell them. Mia, if you may ask, if my best friend in the entire world. She lives across the street from me. She’s that friend; the one you don’t remember meeting but has always been there for everything. To be perfectly honest, I think we are only friends because both our parents have the same mentality. Mia’s parents are also Vietnamese, we are the only Asian kids on the block, and we both can’t wait to move out of our parents’ homes as soon as possible. The only difference is the Mia is more scared of her parents; she cares about what they have to say. But I already told Mia, I’m only going to tell my parents about Le Cordon Bleu applications if and when I get accepted. One of the scariest things in the world is to not be accepted by the people around you. It is a whole different level when your parents don’t accept you. If I were to tell them and not get in, it would be the most humiliating thing in the world.

As we walk in to Calculus, the only class Mia and I have together this year, I realize that there are some very strange characters in my grade. These people around me, my peers, have all been acting so weird lately. This one kid, Leo, is probably the palest person I have ever seen. I have known him for a long time and I always thought he was a nice guy, but for some reason what I go to say hi to him, he doesn’t even say anything. He just sits there, contemplating life, and shaking his, when bottom half. I guess he might have some form of poison ivy because some people say he likes to hang out in the woods a lot. This other guy James, only sits in the back of the class and acts like no one else is around him. He must be having so deep thoughts inside that brain of his. He’s pretty cute, now that I come to think of it. And finally, Liz Baker. Liz is probably the most popular, un-popular person I know. Everyone knows her and talks about her, but she doesn’t really have that many friends. It just puzzles me how the rest of my grade is just so interesting and I’m really not.

Once class starts, Mr. Ross stands up at the front of the room and I try to focus all my attention to the front instead of the guy sitting behind me.

“So guys, you know, I can’t believe it’s almost done; the school year and all. And I was thinking, since my other class is a day behind on a lesson, we could just skip the note for today.” I highly doubt that he actually had a lesson plan today.

“But Sir”, some kid at the front raised their hand, “What are we going to day?”

“I was thinking of going around the room and just, you know, sharing with the class of what our plans are, our future endeavours. And we could just respect each other and chat a bit about post-secondary and stuff like that.”

The class was not too pleased. Mr. Ross, on the other hand, was very excited over these kinds of activities. “So”, he said in a very shy voice, “Who wants to go first?”

I have never likes sharing my ideas to people or volunteering for anything. I don’t know what got into me but I suddenly felt myself raising my hand and offering to share first.

“Well I found out that I got accepted to the pre-med program at Berkeley yesterday. My parents want me to become a doctor, but don’t know that I really want to become a chef,” and I sat down. I guess my little announcement was much unexpected because the entire class, including Mia, was dead silent.

“Well, um, thank you for sharing, Miss. Nguyen. I am sure we all wish you great luck in all your future endeavours with that. Um, any other volunteers?”

                                                                                                                       

Mia was not very pleased with me afterwards.

“How could you have the guts to share that kind of thing to the class but not even bother telling your parents?!” She was right. She knew it, I even knew it.

As I entered my home that day, I was ready. I was going to tell my Mom about Le Cordon Bleu, about the application, about everything. I entered the house and felt so ready. Mom and Dad weren’t home yet when I got home today. I decided to put my things down, grabs the keys and went for a little walk to get the mail. As I walked up to the mailbox, I stuck the key in the lock. Before I even opened the box, I could already tell what was coming. I opened the box to find a large envelope with my name on it. Most of the writing on it is in French and in a fancy blue-sparkly ink. I didn’t even have to open in to know exactly what it was; my acceptance package from Le Cordon Bleu. Now might be a good time to inform my parents about my application.

                                                                                                                                                                               

See the continuation at captaincielrose.tumblr.com. The writer of this site is so fantastic at depicting the exact emotions that are involved with universal experiences, such as love, fear, loss, and despair. She is such a great writer and I feel speechless every time I read her work. Doing the collaboration with her was a real joy for me and I hope you like it too!

Tag, You’re It!

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The summer had left just as it had arrived; everyone expected it, but it still surprised some. Now there were leaves all over the roads, the sidewalks, and the yard of people living in subdivisions. That Saturday morning, the residence of the neighbourhood dug us their rakes somewhere from the corners of their garages and began to clean up their properties of the leaves. It was predicted that there was a heavy storm coming, just as there always is in the autumn, and people were worried that the leaves would be a hazard, not only to the drainage systems, but also to the drives on the road.

Just like everyone else, Hannah and Ivy’s parents were raking their lawn, tidying up their portion of the sidewalk, and chatting with the next-door neighbours. What they did not realize were their rambunctious seven year-old twin girls running around the perimeter of the property line, throwing leaves back to their original spot, and playing tag.

“Tag, you’re it”, Ivy gave Hannah a significant push and then proceeded to sprint down the side walk.

Hannah was not pleased. She was the older of the two, and even though they were twins and did share the same birthdate, she was technically 10 minutes older, and always used that in her favour. Hannah acted much older, and more sophisticated, as if there were a great number of years between them.

“OH MY GOD, IVY! I’m getting really fed up with this game. You’re going to get hurt and then I’m going to get in trouble for it! Why don’t you come and play in the leaves with me? It will be way more fun!”

As Hannah said this, the clouds came in, the sky became darker, and the rain began to come, just like everything else, out of nowhere. The wind began to gust heavier by the second, causing the tree branches to fold over the sidewalks, in attempt to reach to the ground. Regardless of the near-tornado occurring in the streets, Ivy continued to run up and down the sidewalk, careless of her surroundings.

“C’mon, girls. Please gather your belongings and get into the house before a twister comes and swoops you both up!,” cried their mother, trying to be funny as all parents do, but you could tell there was fear in her tone of voice. “Hannah. Sweetheart, can you go call your sister?”    Ivy continued to parade down the lawn, as if she were the Queen of the castle, now that a solid two-and-a-half minute had gone by without being ‘it’.

Hannah was, as some would say, a ‘momma’s girls’, others would call it a kiss-up, and she would personality go by as the favourite child. But, being seven and all, it was simply in her job description to get back at her sister while helping her mother at the same time. Besides, Hannah was a sore loser and couldn’t handle being the ‘loser’ in a game like tag.

“Let’s go, Ivy,” she called out to her sister. “Mom said we need to go inside.”

Ivy always listened to Hannah and trusted her, so she had no doubt that the game was over.

“Okay, I’m coming,” Ivy replied, and proceeded to walk in the direction of their house.

Hannah thought “at the perfect moment, I’m going to get her, and I’m going to show her who’s boss!”

Hannah ran towards Ivy fast enough for Ivy unable to run away.

“Tag, you’re it”, yelled Hannah, and gave Ivy a strong, aggressive push on the shoulder, and Ivy was unable to protect herself from the fall.

They say that just like everything else in that neighbourhood, the car was unpredictable and nobody saw it coming.

                                                                                                                                   

Hannah was startled when she woke up in a very white room nearly 15 years since the accident that toke her beloved sister from her and left her with nothing but a seven year-old shaped hole in her heart. They say seeing is believing, but if someone were to see Hannah in her current state, they would never think in their wildest dreams it was her. Physically, Hannah was different. Fifteen years had passed and now she was a young women, twenty-two years-old and at the peak of her life. Unfortunately, she let herself go, stopped caring about her physical appearance and not to mention, personal hygiene, which added an extra ten to twenty years to her face. Hannah also changed physiologically. She was not the bubbly, energetic person she once used to be. She couldn’t stand being around people and regretted human interaction at all times. Often, she would rather go for days on end voluntarily starving herself because she despised saying “please” and “thank you” to her nurses.

Doctor Dean came to visit Hannah every morning at exactly 7:45 to check in with her. Hannah remembered that kind of detail, the details no one else really cared to remember. What she didn’t remember was that she had been living in this strange white room for the past five years. Also, every morning she could never remember that this “strange white room” was actually part of a mental health facility, and because didn’t know that, Hannah woke up every morning thinking she had been kidnapped in the night. Every single day, at exactly 7:43 am, Hannah would press the Big Red emergency button beside her bed, beckoning for Doctor Dean to explain this to her. And every day, he would come and inform poor Hannah that she was in fact safe, that, no, she had not been kidnapped in the night, and that, yes, the nurses were telling her the truth about her location. He also had to explain to her every day that her long term memory was deteriorating ever since the day Ivy died.

Her daily interaction with Doctor Dean was her first and only interaction that Hannah would dare to take part in during the day.

That was, until, her sister came to visit.

This morning, as Hannah called for help, begging that someone, anyone, could help her get out of the hell hole she liked to call life but society call Chicago Mental Health Care Centre, a visitor came to her door that was outside of the medical staff.

As 22 year-old Ivy waltzed through the double-doors and into her sister’s private room, Hannah’s face lite up and a light came upon her; a kind of happiness Hannah hadn’t experienced since she was a child.

“Jesus, Hannah, are you alright?” exclaimed Ivy, running to her sister’s bedside. “I was so worried about you! I heard about the accident.”

“What accident?”, Hannah asked, with a puzzled expression. There was a long silence in the room as Ivy looked at Hannah, concerned and confused. “Seriously, Ivy, what accident?”

“Oh honey, sweetheart, you got into an accident. A bad one! And you’re just here so you, you know, can get better again.”

Hannah tried to laugh it off. She hadn’t had any visitors since she came here and was still panicking that she didn’t know why she was here. Then Doctor Dean arrived at exactly 7:45 am just like he did every day.

“Good morning Hannah, how are you to…” he slowed down his speech as he heard Hannah from down the hall talking. The doctor thought to himself “thank God she is talking to somebody! She is finally making progress.” But as Doctor Dean made his way to the door, there was no one there.

“Hannah? Did you call me?”

“One sec, oh, um, yes, I did”, Hannah said, a bit distracted.

“Is everything alright, Hannah? Who were you talking to?”

Hannah was now even more confused. “Doctor Dean, don’t you see, I’m having a conversation with Ivy, my sister.”

At this point, Doctor Dean nearly broke down into tears. He had been treating her at the mental hospital since the day she was admitted by her parents. He suggested they don’t visit her, as it may make her more confused. He was worried that one day she might relapse, and today she finally did. Doctor Dean collected himself and slowly walked across the room to Hannah and sat in the chair near her bed.

As he reached out for Hannah’s hand, in attempt to comfort her, this was the first time she did not refuse his offer and let him take her hand. He could tell in the smallest of gestures that Hannah was truly experiencing something deep down that changed her way of looked at people. “Hannah,” Doctor Dean began, “I deeply regret that I need to tell you this, but there is nobody there.” He was trying to fight back the tears, feeling very emotional that Hannah had to go through something like this.

Hannah just stared at him, almost dumbfound. “What are talking about?” she said, almost with a small chuckle, as if this were a practical joke. “Ivy’s right beside you. I was just talking to her. She told me that I was in a terrible accident.” Hannah looked into the direction of the second chair beside the doctor. “Well, Ivy, tell him?”

“Hannah,” Doctor Dean said in a calm and quiet voice, “Ivy’s not there.”

Doctor Dean tried to explain to Hannah that Ivy had passed way in a terrible car accident fifteen years earlier, that Hannah was there the day of the crash and since then has never been the same. It would be impossible for Hannah to have just had a conversation with her because Ivy has been dead for years.

Hannah was extremely perplexed, and suddenly filled with anger. “So Doctor, you mean to tell me that Ivy isn’t right beside you at this very minute? Then since you have all the answered, Doctor, who do you suppose that it?” Hannah waved her hand in the direction of the empty chair in the room, seemingly becoming very annoyed.

“It is likely that you are in a relapse mode and are being to see things again. A few years ago, when your family brought you here in the first place, you use to see things a lot more. Now this vision you have of your sister is merely your guilty conscience. Look Hannah, if you look in the mirror, do you also see Ivy’s reflection looking back at you?”

Hannah stood to her feet, and walked in the direction of the mirror, ready to prove to Doctor Dean that he was wrong, she was right, and Ivy was right there. But as Hannah looked into the mirror, she only saw her own reflection, and not the one of her sister, sitting right beside her, right in front of the mirror.

“You’re not going to believe this bullshit, are you?” Ivy looked at Hannah was a smirk on her face. Ivy stood up and walked to Hannah. “He’s just lying to you,” Ivy whispered in Hannah’s ear. “He just wants you to go back in the meds, and you don’t want that again, do you?”

“No,” Hannah said. “No, I don’t.” The moment she said this, Ivy was gone.

                                                                                                                                   

Hannah didn’t speak to anyone for the rest of the day, which wasn’t abnormal for her considered she never talks on a regular basis.

In the middle of the night, Hannah woke up in a cold sweat and saw a dark figure at the foot of her bed. Because it was around 2am, she couldn’t tell what it was. Hannah didn’t know what to do; she remembered the conversation she had with Doctor Dean about her schizophrenic episodes and decided that the figure was likely not there and simply a vision in her mind. Hannah contemplated pressing the Big Red button near her bed. Maybe the nurses would come and help her, give her a little bit of that medication that allowed her to cope, and the vision would be gone. Instead, Hannah chose to deal with it herself, and in return, stay wake until it went away. Now what was that he told me to do? Look into the mirror? Hannah sat up in her bed, and stuck her head out a bit to see the mirror. In the mirror, Hannah saw her reflection, along with the reflection of the unknown figure.

At this point Hannah nearly had a heart attack. Her heart was pounding in her chest and now she could hear it in her ear. She never got a moment of sleep and continued to star at the figure. Nearly five hours later, the sun began to rise and light come into the room. As light traveled into Hannah’s view, she began to see more clearly.

It was Ivy. But instead of the young-women Ivy that Hannah saw earlier, Ivy was seven-years old, dressed in a polka dot dress and little running shoes, two pig-tales in her hair with ribbons, the same outfit that she wore the day she died. She looked a little worn out, as if she finished rolling down a hill. She was silent.

Hannah sat up in her bed, more scared than she was earlier today.

“Ivy? What are you doing here?”

With a small voice, Ivy answered.

“Tag. You’re it.”

 

THE END

Freedom

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As I sit here, saturated in the blood of my own enemy, I begin to question how. How I got here, how our friendship escalated into a murder scene, and most importantly, how will I ever survive this. After all, this is more than a simple cut from scissors.

I don’t remember a time then he wasn’t there. He was always there. In kindergarten, we would sit in the sand and play alone, because he told me “that’s what best friends do”. He was extremely jealous of people, and only wanted me play with him. I didn’t understand, and I didn’t want to seclude myself to only him but for some reason, I just couldn’t get far enough to run.

“What do you mean?” he would ask, sounding like he cared about my wellbeing, when we all knew that he was egoistic in his own way.

“Well, I’m really sorry,” I would try to explain. “But I was invited to Matthews’s birthday party. I think it might be fun, you know…” I trailed off.

He wasn’t impressed. “You actually think they want you to come? Of course they don’t! He just invited you so they can have a good time laughing at you and then I’ll have to try and stop them. You are nothing without me! I am your only real friend.”

Thus began a friendship made solely on him telling me what to do and I, being a push-over and listening. But he made me feel good, in some strange way. He made me feel like, to him, I was everything. To him, I mattered. We were one, and eventually became inseparable. To my five year-old self, “that’s what best friends do”.

Because of this, I never went out on dates; not because I was never asked, but because he convinced me otherwise.

“Please don’t leave me alone tonight,” he would say. “Besides, she is way out of your league. She probably doesn’t even want you, considering I’m going to come and ruin the night.”

“See, that’s the thing,” I would start. “I don’t think it would be a good idea if you came with me. You heard what the doctor said? It might be nice for me to be independent for once.” But every time I would ever suggest for us to separate for the night, he would look back at me with his big black eyes, they were like little black holes travelling boundlessly into nothing, as if to say Please, don’t leave, c’mon, stay home with me. God, his eyes were so hypnotizing, I couldn’t help it but stay. And so I would. He convinced me to stay away from things. And so I did, because he told me so. I was the puppet, and he, the puppeteer. Sometimes, tickets weren’t being sold for the grand event I called life. I would hang out with others, be social, the typical teenager. But right after a stressful time, the circus would come back in the city and I was forced to attend the craziness.

He knew that I was getting use to this, so he went on.

“Don’t wear that,” he would say as I tried to get dressed for work in the morning. “Sherry, that girl near the photocopier, might think you’re looking good, and you don’t want that to happen, do you?”

He was never supportive, either. Every morning, I would get up, and he would make me take out every item of clothing I owned and tell me how awful it looked on me. And if I dare shed a tear, he would threaten to hand me the scissors. He knew me well; I hated the scissors, but sometimes it was a relief. He liked to watch my blood drip down my sleeve as the scissors broke my skin, which symbolized more than the protective barrier between me and my pain.

Not anymore. My skin may be thinner than it was when we met, my stomach may be smaller than the first time he told me I was fat, and my mind may be destroyed, one part from the abuse and two parts from the meds to kill the abuse, I refuse to be put through hell.

There is only one thing I can do.

But how shall I do this, you may ask? Well, I could take the casual approach. In the morning, when we are getting ready for work, I can spontaneously turn around and …

No, that’s too obvious. He knows me better than that.

I could be eating, or at least try to eat between episodes of him punching me in the gut to avoid gaining any weight. Yes, I could be trying to eat breakfast and while he’s not paying attention I could take his plate and put some…

No, that couldn’t be possible. He barely eats, anyways. It’s like he’s invincible, like he doesn’t need to eat. If I tell him to eat breakfast, he might think there is something suspicious going on, and then he’s going to get mad and take out the scissors…

Don’t think about things like that! Remember what the doctor said; this is a major move in our relationship, something that most people struggle with this fare in the game. Now what did the doctor say? What would I want to tell straight to his face? It was something that would really destroy him and get rid of him for good this time?

Well, he really likes using scissors, and I really… I’ve got it! I will go to him, when he least expects it…yes, I will go when he does not expect it AT ALL and tell him what I’ve wanted to say for years. “Get off my back!” I will say. Then I get the scissors and …

I am ready for my murder. I am really ready. I have not been so ready for something my entire life. No more memories of missing prom because of him. No more Saturday lounge-around-the –house for “only one day, I promise” that turned into missing most of the eleventh grade. No more yes-boss-I-will-try-to-handle-my-self-better-in-the-workplace after he showed up and told me I was probably going to get fired just because of my face. No more mornings of being told what to wear, why to wear it, and threats about ‘the scissors’. Well, except for today.

I approach the mirror, I see him coming. He isn’t happy and looks quite scared; the first time I have ever experienced the rolls reversed. It feels good, sometimes, to put fear on him instead of the other way around. I begin to feel separate from him, like are two distinct people instead of him inhabiting my body.

He began the conversation; he always begins the conversation.

“Hey, you finally decided to get out of bed, lazy ass!”

“You know what, I’ve had enough of you and you’re stupid comebacks and, and…” I was trying, but I couldn’t. I knew exactly what I wanted to do to him, but I couldn’t put it in words.

He interrupted me, again. “Wow, shots fire! Lazy ass thinks he can talk back to me?! What, lazy ass, you think you’re so strong and…”

“You know what, I’m done with you. Stop coming to work with me. Stop telling me what to wear, and what to eat, and how to act and….”

“… You’re leaving me?! You are NOT leaving me!! You are nothing without me, you pathetic loser, you, you…”

He began getting nervous. Finally, I was on top.

Then, as he continued his rant, I did it.

“Get off my back!” I shouted as I pulled out the scissors from behind me and stabbed him in the chest. Once, twice, a third time, trying to inflict all the pain he gave me over twenty five years on this planet.

I look up at the mirror, exhausted from the violent act I have just committed in my own house. I suddenly feel a rush of pain in my chest. As I continue to look at the reflection in the mirror, I realize that the ground is saturated with iron-rich blood; he is covered in blood, my blood, and so am I. I collapse to the floor. For the first time in twenty five years, I realize that my bully and I weren’t all that different.

For the first time in twenty five years, I realize that he always inhabited me body; that’s why it was so easy for him to get to me.

For the first time in twenty five years, I discovered that in order to kill my bully, I would have to kill myself too.

Because my bully was never a separate, distinct, outside person whom I had met in a sandbox back in kindergarten.

My bully was, and will always be, me…

                                                                                                                                                                              

If you liked this piece and want to read more, I highly recommend that you read The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan. This book is her portfolio of both fiction and non-fiction stories, covering a wide variety of topics from suffering from Celiac Disease to getting her first car. And the best part is her stories are all short, so you can read one in a single sitting and never feel like hanging form lose ends. Check out her award wining essay, “The Opposite of Loneliness”, written for her graduating class at Yale University.

http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2012/05/27/keegan-the-opposite-of-loneliness/