PC: Saskia Vaidis
She cries, and the harder she cries, the more she floats away from her body. She wipes at her eyes over and over, needing to see her texts. So many fights occur like this, but only the name at the top of the screen changes. Some friends stay awake until two a.m. arguing with her, others ignore her until she can confront them in person. No two people fight quite the same, yet her reaction after 10 p.m. leads to the same result.
Blankets cling to her, and she sweats, her upper body and face too hot, while the circulation in her legs dies. Her feet like those of a corpse. It is as if the strength of her emotion blasts her body into two separate halves, one of anger and force and one of cold resignation. There is no running away from the problem. There is no rubbing feeling back into her legs. There is nowhere to go when the people making her sad are in her head. This something-pain, unworthy of a name, consumes her. She reacts almost the same way every time someone disappoints her or she them. When she’s expected to meet her friends at the Light-Up Night parade and cannot swallow the melancholy sucking at her feet along with her hot chocolate, the exasperation from Becca is the same as when Kasha texts her multiple times an hour asking where she’s at. Her behavior assassinates the character they formed for her, the error perhaps in the casting or the run-time with her. It’s a sitcom formula she somehow cannot predict. Her plans cannot remove her from bed anymore than her numb legs.
Nothing matters on those nights because her body no longer matters.The arguments over misconstrued words or ignored phone calls, or plans made without her, spiral because the adults in her life cannot understand she relies on her friends for her sense of self. They cannot understand how a cellphone is a lonely teenager’s lifeline. She does not know who she is or how to be that non-existent person, and if the people she holds responsible for shaping her decide she is no longer worth their time, she rejects herself, too. It is a split. She learns to stop wearing such heavy eyeliner because she cries it off every day like her eyes are sprinklers set on a timer. She wore so much eyeliner in the first place because her best friend Emily thought it looked cool. Pain is psychosomatic and her body will try to sweat it out like the flu. If she cannot kill it, the heat will tire her and she will sleep. She will spend so much of these years sleeping.
In the morning, she will discover her lonely texts to her friends, who were sleeping at two am, and she will send hasty, “hey, sorry about last night!” follow-ups. No one will hold her accountable in a way she can correct. She will feel the remains of the sweat from the prior night, and she will swing her legs over the edge to rest on her low, scrubby purple carpet, and for a time, it will appear effortless.
About The Author - Alyssa Fry
Alyssa a recent graduate of the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, originally from Irwin, Pennsylvania, and she has an interview piece titled 'When It Clicks' previously published in the Bookends Review.