You are nervous, you’ve noticed, but you haven’t got any drugs to help with that, and visiting an unethical psychiatrist in order to acquire a prescription for those drugs would have a negative effect on your ability to obtain health insurance, should you ever feel inclined to do so. You sit on the edge of your bed, feet firmly planted on the floor. You are attempting to ground yourself, so as to move through the nervousness and enter a calm reality. The floor is cold, though, and it is physically painful to keep the sensitive soles of your bare feet flat upon the surface of the freezing floor. You begin to bounce your feet up and down rapidly, and because you had been leaning your elbows on your knees, and resting your head in your hands, the rest of your body shakes along with your bouncing feet. You allow a noise to escape from your mouth – a hum of sorts – and the shaking effects the hum as well. With your eyes fixed on an arbitrary spot on the wall, your feet bouncing on the freezing floor, your elbows jerking up and down with the bounce of your knees, your head wobbling along with the rest of your body, and this jittery, moaning, staccato hum escaping your mouth, you appear to any voyeurs looking through your window to be something of a dunce.
Your second grade teacher called you a dunce on a number of occasions. She called you a halfwit, a birdbrain, a cretin, a lummox, and a dunce. But she always did it while she was smiling, so maybe she was just fucking with you. “That’s a lovely cornucopia you’re drawing, you little cretin,” she told you the week of Thanksgiving. You looked up from your tiny desk, and your teacher grinned, bearing her teeth through her poorly applied red lipstick. You hadn’t wanted to draw the cornucopia – this assignment was just part of the second grade curriculum, and you weren’t one to cause waves in class. What the fuck was a cornucopia, anyway? Your family didn’t have one of these things in the center of the table during Thanksgiving. Drawing the food overflowing from the cornucopia made you hungry, and being hungry made you feel nervous, because it was the middle of the day, nowhere near the times set aside for meals, and when you were caught sneaking food between meals, your overweight teenaged babysitter called you a “little piggy” and made snorting noises at you for no fewer than five minutes, though this derision frequently stretched to as long as twenty minutes when the babysitter was in one of her moods. Once, you had the nerve to respond to her – “But aren’t you fat?” – and she threw an open can of Pepsi at your face.
Remembering your overweight babysitter and your second grade teacher are not helping you ground yourself – your current nervousness is thickening, in fact. You are compelled to go outside and stare into the sky at a cluster of clouds, searching for some sort of heavenly communication from your dead twin sister. You don’t know what message you’re looking for – an omen, possibly, but perhaps not. You attempt to ignore your brain, or your thoughts while you search, because you do not want to see what you want to see, but rather what was true and detached from your desires. You fail, however. While you manage to make out a few emoticon-esque frowning faces, the only other symbol you see clearly is a dollar sign – indubitably a prediction influenced by your selfish and materialistic earthly limitations. The remainder of the clouds appear to be nothing more than tufts of white, and to your knowledge, tufts of white are largely meaningless.
When you were very young, a relative came to stay with you and your family. You don’t remember the bloodline connection you shared with her, but you are fairly certain she was the cousin of your father. She had red hair, curly and big, and when just the two of you were alone in the guestroom, she held you against her hip and looked out the window with you during sunset. The clouds, which would in the future refuse to pass along heavenly communications to you, were pink from the sun. “Look at the cotton candy clouds,” the relative holding you whispered in your ear. And as you grew up, you remembered this woman, though you had no idea who she was, and you loved her so much when you thought of her holding you. You asked your father about her when you were in your early twenties, and he told you she was insane. “Schizophrenic,” he said. “Very sad, because she was a smart woman at one time.” You asked him if she was a smart woman when she came to visit, when she held you and pointed at the cotton candy clouds, and your dad laughs. “No, she was already psychotic by that time. Crazy as a loon.”
By this time, the sun is setting, and your nervousness has begun to wane. There are no clouds in the sky anymore, of the white tuft variety or the cotton candy variety, but the open sky is caramel colored and it looks like the pool of Pepsi that spilled out of the can your babysitter had whipped at your face when you called her fat. You don’t know if you’re crazy, like your father’s cousin, but you doubt it. You don’t know if you’re a little piggy or a cretin, but you doubt those accusations, too. You’re doing okay.