“The Inner Workings of a Lunatic’s Mind” submitted by Paola
Alexandra sat alone on her couch on a Saturday night, miserable and angry, but mostly stalking people on the internet. She checked her cellular phone every two minutes, thinking, “Maybe somebody called or texted me and I didn’t feel the vibration,” like you couldn’t hear that shit from a mile away. She felt it was very important to call this technology by its proper name, mainly because whoever invented it would roll over in his grave if he found out that it would one day be owned by some non-descript 13-year old suburban kid who called it a “celly” and played 50 Cent on it on a regular basis.
Once Alexandra realized that no one was going to call, and that everyone probably forgot about her existence whilst basking in the attentions of their significant others, she attempted to contact her friend, Todd. A revealing, in depth, emotionally charged text message was sent – that’s how communication occurred these days: fighting, making up, asking out, booty calls, and any information that probably required a phone call was confined to a few, select words on the screen of a cellular phone. Nobody could be bothered to confront people cara a cara. Todd eventually answered and a couple of meaningless texts were shot back and forth, and soon enough he grew bored and stopped answering. She grabbed a nearby mirror, the kind that amplifies everything, and started picking at a barely there pimple and cursed under her breath the entire time, getting progressively angrier as the pimple became more noticeable.
‘F@#$ing people can’t even give you a damn call,’ she thought, ‘always harping on about how great you are and then they ignore you for an entire f$%^ing weekend.’
Suddenly she felt some movement at the door, and someone knocked. In her head she wondered who it could be, and conjured up scenarios of being saved from her miserable loneliness by one of her asshole friends. ‘Goddamn people,’ she reiterated while walking down the steps towards the door, hoping someone interesting was on the other side. She opened it and in walked her mother, flushed from the cold air. Shoving an armful of chilly items into Alexandra’s arms, her mother offered a short greeting and pushed past her to climb up the staircase, eager to get to the television in order to watch some late night shows.
Alexandra stood dumbfounded at the bottom of the staircase, then quietly walked back up, set everything aside, and retreated to her spot on the couch.
“Oh, did you stay in just to see if I would call you to pick me up?” asked her mother in dulcet tones, a wide-eyed expression on her face.
“Uh, no, nope. I didn’t have anything to do anyway, I was tired,” Alexandra replied, thinking, ‘plus nobody had the courtesy to pretend they wanted to be my friend for a night. F*&^ing people.’
Her mother seemed satisfied with the answer, and with the amount of conversation that had taken place, because she quickly shut up and focused on the characters on the screen. That’s how most people lived their lives in these days, glued to a cellular phone screen, a computer screen, or a television screen; revealing feelings they’d never speak out loud, talking to people they’d never meet, or watching people they’d never be. It was a complicated world.
Alexandra resumed picking at her pimple, which was now red and inflamed, and she reached the peak of her anger. The skin looked like it was going to break soon. She was too tired to yell and act out, and she figured the most reasonable course of action to take was to kill herself over the stupid pimple. Not that anyone would notice for a couple of weeks. ‘At least I wouldn’t have to look at it in the morning,’ she thought. ‘How would I do it? I know my mother has a s@%&load of painkillers in the kitchen cabinet – how many of them would it take to put me to sleep?’ She then remembered how unreliable painkillers are if the proper dosage wasn’t taken, and decided she needed something that wouldn’t carry the risk of her waking up in a hospital and having to deal with the questioning of why why why? ‘My parents don’t like guns, so that’s not possible. I could stab myself in a critical area, but that carries the same risk as a painkiller,’ she paused her thinking to poke at the inflamed area for a second, and frowned into the mirror. ‘I could throw myself out of my bedroom window, it’s on the third floor, but is a three-story fall likely to kill me? I hate hospitals. Better not risk it.’ The redness of the area intensified in color, there was obviously no point in continuing to pick at it. She poked it again. ‘Set myself on fire, rat poison, slit wrists, risky risky risky. Death hates me.’ She gave the area one final poke and the skin broke and started to bleed; she slammed down the mirror and her mother looked up.
“What are you doing, stop picking at yourself like that. It doesn’t help,” scolded her mother, “go to bed, you look tired.”
“What,” Alexandra replied, hoping that her thoughts weren’t pouring out onto the rug. In her experience, secrets could be likened to a big pink elephant standing in the middle of a very crowded room, and everyone in it lived in a state of denial. Everyone knew it was there but nobody dared open their mouth to talk about it.
“Never mind,” her mother scoffed, “sometimes I don’t know how you even get by in this world, and I swear your head is always lost in the clouds. I’m going to bed.”
Alexandra watched her mother leave, and decided that maybe suicide wasn’t a good option for that night. She’d leave it for another day, maybe she’d play some sort of morbid Russian roulette with it: late for work? Kill yourself, on time? Live. Handed in a paper late? Kill yourself, made the deadline just in time? Live. ‘Yeah,’ she thought, ‘that’ll teach ‘em.’ She checked her phone one more time, the numbers 1:02 gleamed back at her innocently. No missed calls, no new texts.
“I hate everyone,” she said to herself, as she disappeared into her bedroom, “f!%^ing people.”