story teller: avalanche

blue bubble calamity clean


finding oneself in others. a reflection.


“You feel like dying?” Sarah’s angelic voice makes me regret my confession.

“I feel there’s a knot growing in my gut and I’m barely breathing. I’m tired of gasping for air.” I mean I cannot explain it any simpler. “I’m tired of the pain. This constant pain in my stomach.”

“The doctor said there’s nothing wrong with your stomach or physically for that matter. It’s all in your head.”

Those dreadful five words or is “it’s” considered as two words? I can never remember.

It’s all in your head, echoes in my head.

“Have you been doing the exercises?” I can’t tell if Sarah’s question is patronizing or concerning.

“No… Yes… Sometimes.”

“You have to move to get out of your head,” Sarah persists to lecture. “So, no, yes, sometimes, is not an answer.”

“Okay.” I agree because I don’t want to fight. After all, that’s easier. Listen and agree. Get lectured and agree. I mean I’ve been doing it all of my life; agreeing. Nodding and agreeing. “But, you don’t listen.” I blurt and for the first time, our eyes meet during the conversation. “You don’t hear me,” and I catch a glimmer of light, some understanding in Sarah’s eyes. She pulls the chair and takes a seat as if saying, I’m listening. So I begin, giving myself away. A transfer, free of charge. “I’m tired… My thoughts take their leap and run. Run as far away from me as possible. I’m not myself. I never have been. A vessel to feel other people’s emotions but my own. It’s easier to look at someone and identify what they feel and label it. I can’t share my own because it seems I don’t… I don’t own them.”

“So who does?” She asks captivated.

“Other people,” my words somewhat angry because isn’t it obvious? Has she not been listening? A vessel on a one-way street. A window peering out into a sidewalk full of mirrors. Like in Sarah’s eyes, my reflection and I can feel her heart melting. Confused but melting.

Lost for words but she surprises me at times. It takes a moment. It takes some math but she makes the effort. “You are my other people,” and her eyes smile as she finally speaks, and I smile because she got it. She sees it. She sees me and I wonder how long it would take her to find her reflection?

malice. broken promises. broken time.


“You feel like dying?” Sarah’s angelic voice makes me regret my confession.

“I feel there’s a knot growing in my gut and I’m barely breathing. I’m tired of gasping for air.” I mean I cannot explain it any simpler. “I’m tired of the pain. This constant pain in my stomach. I want to go home,” and I swing my eyes to her disgruntled face. That look she always gives of discontentment and malice. “Nothing ever gets resolved,” I add with empty air. It’s the same old, day-in and day-out. The same monotone, monochromatic passing of time, and I bury my face into the pillow. My refuge. The constant friend that gets me through the bleak and bleeding days of discomfort, restlessness, and fatigue.

As my cheeks burn, I release the loudest scream my muscles can muster and for a moment it eases my unrest. All the energy and focus becomes dedicated to my throat and my ears. The sound of my voice and the sense of hearing are the two things that linger in the room because even Sarah’s presence becomes irrelevant. After all, my thoughts of death are not about her. I mean, dying in a prolonged kind of a way, not an immediate bulldoze of action. A haste act of pulling the trigger or poisoning. Rather, I’m in bed twenty-two hours of the day awaiting the inevitable. The other two, I’m either forced to eat, or move around, or talk. None of which leaves me satisfied at the end. But there’s comfort in knowing that I can switch my mind off and sleep, and with that thought my bout of screaming extinguishes.

“You’re just displaced.” Is that Sarah’s conclusion? I mean, it’s a little frugal to sum me up with one word. Displaced, although it does sound clever. I have displaced myself as if I were two things. One owning another. The self and the self I own. The ‘I’ and the ‘myself’. Maybe she’s right. Maybe I did indeed lose myself. The ‘I’ as the body that exists, breaths, and eats; and the ‘self’, the identity, the mind that thrives on thought and purpose. The mind displaced from her body. Two entities, one tangible, the other giving the tangible its purpose. “Where are the socks that grandma gave you?” And that is the extent of Sarah’s concern about my ‘self’. Her screeching voice penetrates through my pillow and the blanket that’s covering my body and my head.

“What socks?” I ask.

“The green ones with a red reindeer in the middle. I thought you gonna wear them today.”

“They’re in the drawer,” and I wave my hand pointing to the drawer, more displeased with Sarah’s attendance and annoyed by the interruption. I was perfectly fine wallowing in my spit and sadness. Now I got to deal with Sarah’s expectations and entertain her. Might as well, most of my acquittances got used to the self that I am; sleeping my life away. Sarah’s dismissal demonstrated earlier of how little they care to understand.

She pouts her lips and gently sighs, “What do you want me to say? It must be dreadful. I hope my visits help.” That obnoxious half-smile that I want to punch off her face. That caring but yet ‘do you get me’ kind of a smile. The one that states that Sarah’s resolution is simply her presence. As if simply her existence should cheer me up. As if her dedication of time to come should leave a bright spot where thunder clouds usually roll.

I hate them all. I hate them all for coming. They don’t understand and it seems that no one truly wants to.

mystery of recollections. the painful and the beautiful.


“You feel like dying?” Sarah’s angelic voice makes me regret my confession.

“I feel there’s a knot growing in my gut and I’m barely breathing. I’m tired of gasping for air.” I mean I cannot explain it any simpler. “I’m tired of the pain. This constant pain in my stomach. I want to go home.” Paralyzed and glued to the mattress, I lift my pinky to annunciate my point, but I fail majestically as my stone-like hand collapses in maximum gravity to the magnet of a mattress.

“I love your hair like that, parted.”

I don’t understand Sarah’s random declaration, has she not heard what I just said? My painful cry for help, but it doesn’t matter. My voice has shriveled over time and almost a mute, I simply grunt to carry my point across. Always I manifest the argument because Sarah’s meager eyes state her case otherwise.

“You used to like it when I brushed your strings of hey. You used to say that, ‘strings of hey’. I always hated your self-deprecation. It’s not a temper one thrives in.” The brush of her fingers against my paper-white skin, “I heard you. I hear you.” Finally some indication of the sense of hearing. I thought for a moment that Sarah has become deaf, but she has revived my hope.

The tugging of words, thoughts, and emotions has left me exhausted within this battle. Screaming isn’t enough anymore. It has become less of an answer.

The burden of a crossway between loving something and hating it at the same time. Wanting to live and willing to die. Both cannot exist concurrently but they dwell within me without much of a measure. Drilled like his fingers drilled into my skin. ‘The scientist’, he called himself and I was his experiment. One and only. Why do I always remember the dreadful things and forget the smiles? But his smile I remember, maybe because it’s accompanied with dread. He ripped the button of my blouse with his teeth and laughed as I searched for a gap in his hold to escape. But, his hands like a noose gripped my neck and I stopped wriggling to regain my ability to breathe.

Breathe. Such faint whisper but the act sustained me.

Breathe. And I remain fighting the structure of life, my wake and my sleep.


“Thank you.”

My words lift Sarah and she smiles, welcoming me back to life. “No need,” and with a glance away then an abrupt return to greet my eyes, “I hear you.” The much-needed echo of her sentiments translated to ‘Don’t let go. Don’t give up. You’re needed here.’

His grip loosens and fades as another bad memory. His hurdling dark laughter dissipates to a waning rain because Sarah’s smile is the only force that remains. Keep it. Hold it. Catalog it and stash it for later retrieval.

© Jacob Greb — 2020

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