I’ve only had two panic attacks this week. That’s progress, I guess. I’ve felt broken a few times but never reached the edge of insanity. Feeling close today, though. Sitting here, staring at the wall, trying to pop my knuckles. Push, push, crack. Swaddling myself in a blanket, as if to recreate the comfort I felt long ago when I was born. It seems a bit Freudian to me but it makes sense. I don’t know how to progress, to mature, to be functional again. Panic paralyzes me. So does depression. A distant voice in my mind laughs, saying, “You’ve failed.”
It was Serena’s incredible pirouettes and arabesques that ranked her as prima ballerina in the Paris Arts Ballet Company. Her unique body possessed a mysterious beauty that mesmerized all watching her. She was most unusual.
Now dancing the dying swan in Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet at the Buenos Aires Theatre, Serena transformed herself into a graceful swan about to glide into death’s dark abyss.
After the concert, she entered her dressing room and quietly locked the door. Hours passed.
When they found her, she was lying naked on the floor. Even in death, Serena beguiled all with her own swan song secret.
A small creature darted across the floor and under the bed. I peeked over the edge of the mattress. The thing growled. Startled, I dove underneath the covers, praying it didn’t see me.
Gurgling, slurping sounds emanated from underneath the bed. My stomach churned and cramped.
The noises grew louder. I felt the sheets quiver slightly. Sweat dripped from my forehead.
The covers tore off and the contorted face of a helpless, wounded child materialized before my eyes. Its bruised, bloodshot eyes paralyzed me with fear.
“You see,” it moaned. “Remember this the next time you eat spicy chili before bed.”
— Joshua Nash
King Francis glared at his court jester, Triboulet.
“The Queen does not like the way you mock her and her ladies. You are to leave them alone. If I hear any more complaints, your punishment will be death. C’est compris?”
“Yes, your Highness,” Triboulet responded.
“Good!” the King said emphatically.
A few weeks later, King Francis demanded Triboulet’s presence.
“Triboulet, the Queen has complained again. You’ve been a good jester for many years. I will let you choose how you will die.”
“Good sire, for St. Nitouche’s and St. Pansard’s sake, patrons of insanity, I choose to die from old age.”
— Deborah Shrimplin
He is young, but there is magic in his heart. A discarded cardboard box, to him, is a tool with which to explore. He ties a sheet to the top then stands in the box on top of the sofa, and with a little shove, the box becomes a hot air balloon. He removes the sheet and closes the flaps, sealing up his submarine. Peeling the flaps back, he makes wings to fly out of the water and up into the stars.
But twenty years later, as he takes his seat in his tiny cubicle, a box is just a box.
— Faith Story
I never close my door anymore.
No matter how I try to close it with ease and grace, it still slams. Echoes of Mother reverberate around the house, the finality of the front door slamming, the stillness that followed. The words that rose before the slamming. Hamster wheel, constraint, tired. A cracked voice that I pitied and hated and loved.
Sister Nancy tells me we’ll be fine. Fine, what a hollow word.
The house remains still and we traverse emptiness.
What I don’t say is if I slam my door, I’m also alone. Very alone.
I open the front door too.
— Yash Seyedbagheri