Mistaken Identity

I’ve always felt like I was different. Glances my way never really had a vibe that made me feel safe. Silences had an unprecedented, underlying hostility that I could never understand. I’ve wondered why that was. I have some people that are close to me that don’t have those bad vibrations. I’m glad for those people. But why everyone else? Why couldn’t they have left me alone? I got to find out one day.

One of my close friends, I saw every day during school. I’d be excused during class and I walked up to his office. It was always precise and orderly, with the picture of his family facing towards him next to his computer and all of his files in neat stacks. During all of our sessions, he never told me to do anything except to talk about myself. It was nice. I’d just talk about how I was feeling that day. And then that one day.

During that one day, I felt queasy so I asked to see my friend early and I got to go. Walking out of my history class, the weakness in my stomach grew and started reaching everywhere else. My head started to hurt badly. I walked with a wobble in my legs towards my friend’s office and he had a look of surprise and asked me what was wrong. I sat down and said I felt kind’ve sick. Really, I couldn’t take it anymore. I felt myself slipping, slipping into dark-

“The hell did you say to me?”

“Wh-what?”

“I’m not to be trifled with, how dare you! I absolutely despise you and everyone else! I could really care less about what you think!”

“Calm down, let’s have a seat and talk this over. Is there something bothering you today?”

“Yeah, there is something bothering me today! It’s the fact that your desk is so clean and that picture frame is there and you’re so content right now, so eager to listen to what I have to say! Well I say, fuck that!”

A crash. Papers flew in all sorts of directions.

“We don’t have to resort to any of those actions here. I believe we can work something out.”

“Work something out? Work something out? W-w-work some-some-so-thing… s-s…”

A thump and a silence.

-ness. After I came to, I was surrounded by my family and my friend and a doctor. I was in a hospital bed. The bed was comfortable enough, but the scent of the room was unsettlingly clean. “Seems like you had a rough day yesterday, son,” the doctor said, “Do you remember anything?” I looked around and really studied the place. What in the world could have happened? “No, not at all,” I said. The doctor looked at my parents. Then back to me. A pause. He was gathering strength to drop the bombshell. “It seems like you have dissociative identity disorder, son,” the doctor said. He looked down for a second, shifted his glasses up the bridge of his pointed nose and looked up again. “What it means is that there’s another you in that head of yours, in a way.”

My mom quickly walked out and my dad followed her. “Have you been aware of this problem, son?”

“No, not at all. I’ve always wondered why people have treated me differently. Is this why?”

“It could be the case. Sometimes when people have this disorder they forget and almost become a totally different person. A lot of things about them change. In your case, your other you I guess you could say, is completely hostile towards people. This other you might not have been recognized at first because it might only show up for a few seconds at a time. This time, it showed up for at least twenty seconds.”

“So it’s getting worse? Am I going to get treatment?”

“You will get treatment… as for its effectiveness, it’s hard to say. The human mind can be a cruel place for those who dwell in it.” He stood there and I simply stared at him. He let out a sigh. “I’m really sorry, but there’s still a lot we don’t know about this. I’ll let you rest now. Let me know if you need anything.” He walked out.

I laid there in my bed. It suddenly got less comfortable and the sheets seemed to have a creeping intensity to them, like they wanted to blanket me under the hate of the world. People hated me because my other personality hated them, I realized. I began to forgive all of those glances, all of those hostile silences. It all made sense now.

“I just wish people hated me for me and not some part of me that I didn’t even know about till now,” I told myself. If I didn’t even know of it for this long, how could I possibly consider it as a part of me? Others considered it a part of me though because they could only see the vessel that contained the struggling minds. They could not understand that there was a conflict within. They only thought, “Wow, what a fake asshole.”

I noticed a window that was letting all of this light in. It was too bright, I had to close it off. People could see me, but they couldn’t understand me. They couldn’t understand that there was more to me than they could ever imagine. There was thus no point. I walked up to the window and closed the curtains shut. It was a lot darker. “Good, good luck finding me now,” I teased to no one. Only the air listened.

“Good, I like it like that,” I said. I retreated to my bed and covered myself up. The darkness that the closed curtains and the blankets brought ensured that I would be hidden and protected. No one else will have to know, no one else will have to try to understand, no one, no one no one noone noonenoonenonenoone none.

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A Gnosis of Victory

He steps out into the darkness and awakens his thirst for combat. His eyes come up to the platform and sweat drips down lightly from his head, streaking down his musculature and emanating his presence in the form of his scent. Headgear cups his beaten down ears, which are flat and featureless and puffy. His focus turns onto the light at the center. He is ready. He takes off his warm up clothing and reveals the dark blue singlet with red highlights. Knee pads comfortably conform around his knees. He jogs up, radiating confidence and a fierce will forged from his trials in both practice and home.

He does not think much about his opponent. He respectfully acknowledges him as a mirror image of himself, as a person that will provide a worthy challenge. He gives a firm handshake as is custom and the referee blows the whistle. Muscles twitch quickly and cheering can be heard. Some seconds pass by, and the cheering calms as the audience is intent to see what happens, giving their utmost respect. Hands fly quickly, feeling and trying to sense weakness. It is only the first period however, and no openings can be found. Both combatants are fresh and prepared. The first two minutes of the match ended before both of them knew it. A coin is tossed and it flips to red. Deferring the choice to the opponent, he prepares himself to ride out his opponent as would a cowboy do to a bull.

Second period begins with a sharp tweet. The opponent stands up and is brought down immediately. The real grind has begun as he works his hands around the wrists of his opponent. His control is asserted and he keeps him down. He constantly works with an intensity brought from years of training. Legs pump and he puts the pressure on to his opponent. Seconds start stretching as his fatigue builds from the struggles of his opponent. Keeping thoughts to a minimum, he continues to attack from the top. The referee ends the second period. No points have been scored. He notices a slight ache from his efforts, but it is nothing compared to the two hour grind he’d experience five times a week.

His choice. He readily chooses bottom after looking over at his coach. “This is what it comes down to,” he thought to himself. He is ready and comfortably situates himself on to his haunches, ready for the split second surge towards the escape. After being set, his opponent sets down and grabs his elbow with one hand and his stomach in the other. The anticipation of the start sets his limbs on fire with a crackling energy. Just as the whistle initiates the third period, his vitality sends him upward and he easily escapes. Quickly assessing a possible opening, he lowers himself and pushes forward into his opponent. His opponent reacts well, sprawling downward to shut him out. He circles out and as his opponent comes up, he circles inward and around his opponent’s leg, lifting it up and kicking the other out from under his opponent. He falls down onto the mat and the crowd roars its pleasure.He doesn’t notice however. He notices the split second opening that his opponent has created with his arm.

Knowing that it would not be there for long, he snakes his arm into the opening and sets himself perpendicular to his opponent. He drives forward and the noise only gets louder. His hand, continuing to constrict his opponent, wraps around his opponent’s headgear. His opponent gives a struggle and the referee goes prone and examines the distance between the shoulder blades and the mat. Closer, closer. His opponent starts arching his neck now, preventing the pin. But points are still being scored at this point. His opponent has a minute and thirty seconds to remain like this or to get off his back. He continues adjusting to his opponent. His opponent’s shoulder blades inch closer to the mat. He can feel his opponent’s breathing becoming more labored and heavy as the effort of staying off his back starts to take its toll. One minute left. It was all a matter of time.

Finally his opponent succumbs. The referee slips his hand under the shoulder blades to make sure, and he calls the pin. The crowd roars. He jumps up and pumps his fist into the air. It is unlike anything he’s ever experienced before. Winning a big tournament is one thing, but to be the best in the state is another. His hard work finally culminates into one experience that he will never forget. The cheering continues. His opponent is slow to get up, as he’s totally broken down. “He trained like crazy for this too,” he thought. He easily forgave his opponent for quickly slapping his hand and running off the center platform. The referee raises his hand as is custom. After the referee releases his grip, he keeps his hand up in the air and raises his other. He looks around and his eyes glaze over. A sudden sense of surreality enters his mind. “Have I really done this?” he asks himself. The disbelief continues, even as his coaches and teammates congratulate him. Elation continues to fill his body, but his mind still can’t process it, even as he goes home and his family celebrates with him.

The next day he wakes up at an ungodly hour. He immediately puts on some sweats and does fifty push-ups and fifty jack knives, all according to his routine. He picks himself up from the floor and goes into the kitchen. “Yeah,” he says to himself, “I still want more.”

The Damn Hard Yarn

Light was present within the room. A student sat in a chair and looked at the computer screen and examined it and thought about what he was going to write about. “I have to be a man and write this up,” he said to himself. A tree rustled outside. The student turned his head and paused. Nothing. He turned back to the computer screen. “Spinning a yarn is damn hard,” he said. His mother came into the room. “Hey, you can write, how do I spin a yarn?” he asks.

“A story is all about a protagonist’s obstacles and what they do to overcome them.”

“That’s kind of dumb, sometimes you get stories with nothing at all in them.”

“Yeah, I suppose so,” his mother conceded. She walked away.

“Wow, this really is bad,” the student said, “I have to grow a pair to write a story. Writer’s block sucks.”

Eye brows folded together and eyelids slitted downwards without a sound. The corners of his mouth curled. If I can’t be a man, I’ll have nothing but pain, he thought, I won’t experience real love and real dreams and real security. The light in the room withdraws its presence and shadows lengthen. “Bah,” he said, “Why do I care? A man could be anything, anyone.” He got up and paced and grabbed the container of water. He drank it and smacked his lips. He walked back to his chair and settled himself and smiled. I could be anything, he thought. He started moving his fingers across the keyboard and his eyes followed everything. Any mistake that was made was immediately corrected, along with a succeeding exclamation. “Bah,” he said, “Being a man is so pointless.” The shadows became full and the TV in the next room over was turned to a different channel. He turned his head. Nothing. He let out a sigh and continued to clack away at the keyboard.

“How’s that yarn coming?” his mother asked after stepping into the room.

“Eh, it’s all kind of dry, ya know?”

“Well, I’m sure you know what that’s like.”

“Uh-huh.”

“You know, I’m proud that you put so much work into this stuff.”

“Yeah, well. Sometimes I wonder.”

She left the room. The scents of dinner started filling the air. “Bah, why is being a kid so great and mystical and being a man so straightforward and tough?” the student said. He got up to earn his prize of food. A tree rustled outside.

A History Lesson

Trey Soundz and MacDre are on their ultimate ratchet Great Depression adventure. After the horror of the dust storms, the shame of losing their once-fertile land, the two are now companions in the hobo thug life. They embark on an epic quest towards a new life of balling mansions and oversized stereo sets. First though, they must conquer the uncertain, dusty road towards California by boarding a low-ridin’ freight train filled with some products of the depressed economy.

Upon arriving in California, they must test their original gangsta skills against competing cholo farmers. These tensions magnify into a great race war that eventually leads to the cholos to repatriate to Mexico with honor, instead of getting merked by the combined might of Soundz, Dre, and the white farmers. Soundz and Dre then forge forward as great farmers, but alas, how the mighty fall. Falling into the trap of tenant farming, they get screwed by a rigged deal. Soundz and Dre have no choice; they ragequit on the ratchet system that society puts in place, and as true original gangstas, they continue with the hobo thug life. YOLO.

A Universal Perspective

Blackness was the only thing I could see. I hated it. It was so lifeless, so stagnant and disgusting. I wanted it gone. I wanted light, something more. I was angry. So I took two little balls in my hands, these balls that would’ve minded their own business otherwise, and I put them together. I put them together with an effort and there was an explosion. It was the biggest, grandest light that I’ve ever seen. I was happy. A lot of the light disappeared though and I became disappointed, but after some time passed away, I became excited again as little lights flew off from the primary explosion. There was more to come, I thought.

These lights flew off in all sorts of directions and in all of these different colors and aromas. Eventually they started colliding with each other, making new colors and aromas and lights. My interest piqued. I wanted to know more about their destinies as creations. I waited for a while. They started making all of these shapes that stretched my imagination. Some swirled out into spirals that stretched vertically, horizontally. Some expanded into blue giants and some erected themselves into cloudy pillars. I never regretted my decision to fight the blackness that was so lifeless, so stagnant and disgusting.

It was a show that never seemed to end. It was a show filled with numerous spectacles. And what was more, was that these spectacles seemed to make everything grow. The lights spaced themselves out, and some of my little lights started circling one another. I was pleased. Eventually the big picture wasn’t interesting enough. I decided to turn my attentions to this one ball in particular. It seemed very little, and indeed many of the things that were happening to it seemed insignificant. A length of time elapsed and before I knew it, it turned blue and green and had small things running across the surface.

Whatever this ball is doing, I thought, I like it. Shall there be more? And indeed there was more. These things that inhabited this ball of mine changed as I looked at the ball. What if I did this? I took a tiny ball and chucked it into my blue sphere and the impact wiped out most of those running things. I examined the ball for a time and noticed some more creatures running around. I was pleased. I will have fun with this blue sphere. It’s not so lifeless, so stagnant and disgusting.

A Story of a Confession

We were walking along the sidewalk, with the heat from the surface sneaking into our shoes. A caressing breeze keeps the heat from being off-putting. We just had one of those nice, long silences that I really like. But the time for silence has ended. A baritone voice slides out of my mouth and trips at the end, as if it were a preschooler on the playground who had their jeans snag at the end of the slide:  “You know, I really wanted to say I’m sorry.”

“Huh?”

“Yeah, like, I’m really sorry. I know I haven’t really done anything bad really, but I feel like I need to say it. And maybe it’s because I haven’t done anything that I -”

“What are you saying?” she asks.

“I don’t know.” A pause. “It kind’ve feels like things are falling apart. Not in my life necessarily, but I know a lot of people that are having a hard time.”

Because I know how I get during conversations like these, I start looking around nervously for some spot to sit down in. I’ll be able to think straight here, I think. I find a bench with a welcoming curvature that we could sit down on. It will do, it will have to do. The floodgates have already opened.

“All of these people have been having a hard time,” I explain, “And I’m not really sure if I’ve been doing enough for them. I kind of feel like I haven’t done anything, really.”

“Why is that?” she asks. Her eyes reflect genuine concern and I am both relieved and encouraged to go on.

“Because sometimes my friends don’t get better. I’m not enough for them. And it’s worse when other friends have been enough for me but I haven’t been for them,” I say. My condition gets worse: the tensions in my throat make it harder to speak and my eyes start getting moist underneath. I can’t close up now, I can’t, I think, trying to center myself. I have to finish this.

I feel her hand on my shoulder. Looking up, I take her in with my senses: her deep tan, the soft touch on my shoulder, the light smell betraying femininity, the gentle curves of her figure. And her eyes. I love those eyes. “Happiness has to be found by yourself,” she says. Those words had such an essence to them. It was like each of those words were of a more powerful organization than I could imagine. “Each of your friends, whatever they’re going through, have to find it within themselves to be happy.”

“But why? Why can’t I make them happy?” I ask. The emotions calm down, as I ready myself for her answer.

“Because you aren’t them. Only they will know what can make them happy. Only they know what can be found within their hearts.” She gives me a sad smile and then looks away. Her touch withdraws. There is a silence.

“So you really don’t know what’s in my heart then?” I ask.

“No, I don’t. I just know that you’ve been really kind to me,” she replies.

My chest meets the burden of disappointment. I guess she really doesn’t know, I thought. Then that means-

“Do you – I mean – want to know?” Blood fills my face as I realize that I couldn’t go back at this point.

“Know what’s in your heart?” her head tilts and her torso turns to me a bit. My blushing becomes more furious as I get the hint: she wants to know. I nod my head. I don’t really know how to begin, I think. “Well, yeah, I kind of had a hard time too,” I said, “It got tough over at home and I didn’t really know how to deal with it.”

I look back into her eyes again. I see that she cares. Happiness rushed in for a split second, but was out-dashed by fear. I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t, I don’t I don-

“You were all that I could think of,” spills out of me like a barrel of monkeys before I know it. “And that was enough for me.”

It was her turn to get red in the face. She turns so that she faces forward from the bench. Well, shit, that went well. My brain, obviously hellbent on screwing this friendship with a chick, made me say, “I only got better because I took so much pride in being your friend. Because I love you that much. And everybody else does too.” Yeah, I’m fucked.

“I love you most out of everyone.”  Thanks brain. Absolute genius. Now she knows, she knows, she kn-

She turns back to me. My heart skips a beat. “I’m so glad,” she says. She turns to me with a smile.

“Wait what?”

“All I’ve ever wanted was to mean something to someone. I’m just glad I could be appreciated.”

Those words, those sparks, ignite something in my chest. A fire releases and I understand it, know it. I welcome it. I smile too. And I let it go. “I’m sorry,” I say as tears came down. “Don’t be,” she says. I get a kiss on the cheek and a hug. A hug, along with those nice, long silences that I really like.