The air smelled different. Even the clouds seemed to roll in differently. She thought to herself, what the heck am I doing here? Perhaps I have ventured out too far from the nest. She imagined slowly turning back, getting back onto the plane, and back to her childhood room. She imagined lying her head upon her mother’s chest as she cried, but then the thought repulsed her. She realized there was absolutely nothing for her there. No opportunities worth fighting for. It was a depressing, but at the same time, uplifting fact.
She wasn’t like the others. Her eyes always paid attention to her surroundings. So internally exciting by all the activity, all the faces, all the lights, and all the accents. Sometimes she would go home and practice accents, attempting to pull them off in public, and realizing someone either fell for it or might have thought she needed a 5150 (mental institution). Either way, it slowly didn’t bother her what people thought. Most of the time her brain was honestly so intrigued by the behaviors of other people, she felt like an outsider, with a non-narcissistic personality disorder unlike the rest of society. She thought to herself often I sometimes wish I had a cabin, could eat beans and rice, and be left alone to write. But it seemed like the world swarmed around her, even when she barely came out into the light, either intrigued or misunderstanding her.
Settling into seeing palm trees rather than pine trees was quite the experience for her as well. Still is. But she managed to find the redwoods, which made her feel like she was Alice Wonderland as she walked through them. She always had a way of finding a balance. To her, if something made her sad, there was something else to counteract it. Always an answer with enough research and persistence.
She spent most of her undergraduate working heavily as a server, staying up late with homework, and a pot of coffee. Lack of sleep induced psychosis happened eventually and she was forced to put the books down. She often thought, I wish there were forty eight hours in a day. Can the earth’s rotation change right now, please? It always felt like there were not enough hours in a day and coffee.
At times, even in the big city, it felt lonely. She wondered if Neil Gaiman ever felt this way? Margaret Atwood, perhaps? I think so. She’d convince herself to keep researching and writing. Keep finding inspiration as well and trying to give it back in appreciation.
The struggle was real. Like when a farmer asks you if you’d like a chicken, walks over, and cuts it’s head off, real. With no family support system nearby, working as a server, and trying to compete with those who might have had a bit more support, she felt sort of silenced at times. Money equals powers but let’s be honest, some people shouldn’t have money because they are honestly irresponsible with it. She often thought, they’re so dumb, they couldn’t even hire a decent financial adviser? Then internally laugh, trying not to look externally crazy having deep thoughts like this at the laundromat. Until one day another quirky, eccentric, character like herself walked in to the laundromat. It was as if it was going to take a couple more run intos on Sunday evening (the weirdo avoiding time) for them to talk. But finally, she spoke:
“Uh. You dropped your underwear. Sorry I noticed.”
She looks down embarrassingly. “No. Uh. Thanks for noticing. It would have been more embarrassing if anyone else came in here.”
“No problem, girl.”
“My name’s Olivia. What’s yours?”
“Jackie. They call me jackles the crazy but I just act crazy. Please don’t tell them.” And she laughs hysterically.
It was at this point in time, Olivia knew it was like all the forces in the universe, like all the particles in the air, conjoined to form a planetary like friendship bond no other binomial nomenclature could possibly come close to. But then again, anything is possible. Olivia never rules out anything in life.