Review Summary: Self-consciousness is desire. After 38 weeks, my new playground became dark and gray…so it feels like misunderstanding when all my hopes and dreams turn into affliction.
It hurts to be unwanted. Neither of them expected this. They think that I am unable to read the disappointment on their faces every time I bring home another failed test for them to sign. What parent wants to deal with raising a child that will never be able to contribute to society? To them, I am nothing more than a burden.
The others know. They know that I am different, that I don’t belong among the masses. Though I try desperately to fit in with the rest of my peers, my disorder makes me stick out like a drop of blood on a sheet of paper. I can’t learn as they learn, feel as they feel or grow as they grow. As far as anyone else is concerned, I am an island unto myself. I have watched my classmates mature and take their first steps towards adulthood, leaving me with my arms outstretched like a pitiful beggar. They have forgotten me, even though they never knew me to begin with. Soon they will all gain and lose jobs, marry and divorce, win some and lose some…it’s all part of the game. I wasn’t even invited out to play. Most of them don’t even realize how lucky they are to be average at all. To them, average is not good enough. They want to be better, stronger, faster, smarter – anything but what they actually are. Nobody realizes what I would trade just to be in their shoes, free from this torment.
It’s gotten to the point where I can no longer make eye contact for long periods of time. The others stare into my mind and plant thoughts in my head about the future. Behind every soft-spoken lie, there is a malevolent smile urging me to believe it. I want so much to believe, but I just can’t. Positive emotion is nothing but a trick, baiting me into wondering if things might get better one day. I know that they won’t. The others watch me finish puzzle after puzzle, matching thousands of deformed shapes together to form pictures of mountains I’ll never be able to conquer. They wonder why I can’t perform in other areas of my life with similar proficiency. They will always wonder, and I will never be able to tell them why.
There is a castle in the ocean behind my house. Though none of the others can see it, I have spent much of my life in its halls. It first came to me in a dream when I was very young. All I need to do to go there is close my eyes. The corridors are all empty. There, I can be normal. Pain doesn’t exist. I am free to be anything I want to be. I can scream until the vessels in my throat burst and turn to ash, and nothing will happen to me. I can smash every window, flip every table and set fire to every mattress without consequence. And when I’m at my most vulnerable, nobody can ridicule my sorrows. I am content.
Sometimes, the others come looking for me when I go there. I hear them calling my name, beckoning me back into a life that will never accept my condition. They don’t know that every time I come back into their world, a piece of me stays in the castle.
One day, I might not come back.