All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
“The people below me looked like ants. Tiny, colourful, jittery ants. All moving with a purpose, all knowing what their role was, all of them knew where they were going,”
She trailed off as she spoke that last sentence, like she was back on the terrace.
“Okay now tell him the bit when you were gonna…” says Samara as she shifts her gaze to the grimy tiles of the asylum.
“I stepped up on the rail to get a better view and all I could think was jump, jump, jump. I stabilized my stance from the wind and closed my eyes for a second. That’s when I got scared and thought, what the actual f*** am I doing ?”
Both of them head home even after Samara pleaded her to spend the night at her place, Alex can’t stand the pity that she doesn’t deserve in the first place.
When Alex enters her house, she avoids her mom and goes straight to the full length mirror behind her door in her room. She stands, staring at herself for a long time. She sees somebody else in the reflection. A tall, young woman with protruding cheekbones and straight ash brown hair. She glares at the girl in the mirror, feeling unattached to her body. It’s as if her soul is one person and her physical body another. Alex makes eye contact with this stranger as she searches for answers, but all she sees is fear in her eyes that match her own.
The doctors call it “multiple personality disorder” and that it was probably caused by childhood trauma. It takes all of her patience to stay collected when they prescribe her drugs, but she realizes that it would further prove their point of her being mentally ill.
“Miss Carter, from what you’ve told me and from my expertise opinion, you’re showing clear symptoms for multiple personality disorder. I’m concerned for your well being. Your symptoms link with signs of the disorder. Difficulty recognizing yourself in the mirror. Anxiety. Suicidal tendencies... Listen, I want you to try these pills for 2 weeks and I’ll schedule a following appointment to see how they’re working for you. Okay ?”
Alex isn’t even sick, the medication isn’t going to do anything if there’s no issue to mend in the first place.
“Listen now, stay with a family member or a close friend during these 2 weeks, it’s a crucial time period and I don’t you to harm anyone, especially yourself. Okay ?”
She would never hurt anyone in the first place, why would she h- That’s what crazy people do, right ?
The following day, Samara asks “How was the shrink ?”
“Did he make a diagnosis ? What’d he say ? Did he give you meds ?” asks Samara as they make their way to Spanish class.
“Look. Samara. I adore how much you care for me,” says Alex while she makes her way through the sea of students, “but you know that I don’t like talking about this, especially at school.”
“Okay. I get it. Just promise me that you’ll fill me in properly by tonight.” Samara says as they walk through the classroom door.
Alex weaves through the sharp rows of desks like Pac-Man through his maze.
Their spanish teacher comes in between them and says too enthusiastically “hay una fiesta esta noche?”
“Something like that.” Alex murmurs, dodging their teacher and finally sitting down.
After school, they drive home in Samara’s shiny Jetta to her house. When they enter the double doors, Samara’s labrador runs straight to her at full speed, his paws barely touching the ground. She bends down to embrace him as he licks her all over her face, leaving it glistening with saliva.
“Well” says Alex, “that’s absolutely disgusting and something I’ll never get used to seeing.”
“Oh relax you prude,” Samara stands with the dog in her arms “it’s called affection. An emotion of a species called: living beings.”
Alex ignores her and goes to the pantry where Samara keeps all the snacks that nobody in the house touches. “Lets see, what do we have here…” says Alex as she bends down to examine the junk. “Oreos, Twinkies… aha ! Doritos, my love.”
“That stuff is full of s*** that’ll make you fat and depressed.” says Samara as she changes into a pair of Roots sweats, in the open.
“Guess it can only make me fat, right ?” replies Alex as she stands up with the air-filled bag of chips.
“Oh yeah… I’m sorry. I honestly forgot. Lets pick a movie on Netflix and maybe I’ll join you with the junk. Are you feeling more of a rom-com or horror?”
They end up watching She’s The Man for the 5th time (Samara keeps track), but Alex’s attention is on the clock, it’s time to take her second dose of pills. She rises from the couch and grabs her duffel bag from the coffee table as she heads towards the kitchen for a glass of water.
“Grab me a bottle of water please,” says Samara while she cranes her neck over the couch.
Alex was never good at swallowing pills. She could never get past the idea of swallowing something whole. As she stares down at the enormous (it wasn’t bigger than a fingernail) pill, she feels a hand on her shoulder.
“Cmon,” says Samara, “it’s not that big.”
“That’s what she said.” they say in unison.
They laugh for what feels like ten minutes when Alex realizes that she hasn’t laughed this hard in so long ; she truly misses telling Samara everything and vice versa.
Alex follows Samara’s instructions of swallowing the godd*** pill. After they sit down again, Samara fishes for the TV remote under blankets and junk food and pauses the film.
“Are you gonna tell me what’s up ?” she asks carefully.
Alex stares at the colourful aztec pattern of her blanket before looking up at Samara. She notices how patient her eyes are. Alex tucks a few baby hairs behind her ears.
“The shrink called it “multiple personality disorder”. It’s not severe or anything. He gave me a list of symptoms like anxiety, depression, and uh that kind of stuff. He gave me Xanax for the anxiety to try for 2 weeks.”
Samara asks “do you think they’re helping ?”
“Well so far, I get anxiety trying to swallow my anxiety pills.” Alex says “But besides that, I guess so. Yeah.”
“Well then I’m glad you’re feeling better Lex, spend a few more days at my place. You’re more than welcome. My parents won’t be back until next next week so we’re good.”
“Just let me know if you get sick of me,” Alex says as she laughs. “Thanks.”
The next evening, Samara knocks on the bathroom door impatiently because Alex is blasting music from the inside. Alex wraps herself in a towel and as she dries her face, Samara bursts into the bathroom finding Alex scrambling as she tries to cover her body.
“Sweet baby Jesus Samara, you scared the s*** out of me. Knock next time.”
Alex realizes that she has a towel around her body and puts her arms back down.
“I did. Who listens to music in the shower anyways ?! I’m skyping with Louis and he can’t hear a thing.” Samara speaks as she cleans the steamy mirror with a paper. “Why do you have the lights off ? Can you even see yourself ?” She turns the lights on and continues to scrub.
Alex bolts out of the bathroom, both hands on the top end of her towel. “Not sure who I’ll see looking back at me.”
After a week and a half of sessions with her shrink and more colourful brain candies, Alex feels a little bit lighter. A little bit more radiant. She left Samara’s place after she felt that she could handle being at home with her barely present mom. She also didn’t want to outstay her welcome.
When her first bottle of Xanax is empty, she has no one to take her to the pharmacy. Asking Samara would just make her drive her out of pity. “No. I can do this. I don’t need pills to live. I can’t stay on them forever, right ?” Alex stares at her reflection. “I don’t need them. They’re just here to convince me into feeling better. Placebo effect. Yup.”
She’s done it again. She’s talking to herself. Alex looks down at the white bottle labeled with dosage instructions and side effects. One of them says hallucinations (very rare). “Isn’t this drug supposed to stop me from going crazy ? F***ing bulls**t.” She throws the bottle at the mirror and the glass shatters piece by piece.
She drops to the ground and starts crying helplessly. She picks up one of the broken mirror pieces off of the carpet. It digs into her soft white flesh. Drops of blood escape her hands and stain the carpet, making bold statements.
“Who am I ?!” Alex shouts at her reflection about the fact that her life is indeed, controlled both by drugs and her illness. She looks at the girl in her hands and feels the same fear that she felt when she was first told that she was ill. Alex closes her eyes in an effort to calm herself. The memory of when she was standing on the ledge of the terrace comes back to her. With her eyes still shut, the scenery around her changes.
She’s walking on a tightrope in a circus act. Arms outstretched on each side, spine straight and tall. With her own weight to carry, she realizes that it can’t be too difficult. She’s carried herself her whole life. She looks to her left and sees more people on tightropes, but they’re miles past her. Some are so far ahead that she can only see tiny silhouettes. Some are a couple of steps ahead of her. She looks to her right and she’s greeted with a familiar and friendly face. Samara. Alex is a step or two behind, but with a little effort and concentration she catches up. Alex smiles at her best friend. They walk in unison now. Alex focuses her attention away from her footing and looks up at all of the people ahead of her. She loses her balance and is about to fall when Samara reaches over and grabs her hand. They’re in balance again.
Alex opens her eyes finally and sees that the blood from the gash on her hands is still flowing. She calls Samara with the home phone, careful not to leave blood trails on her moms rug. Samara picks up on the second ring. Alex explains what happens vaguely.
“You did what ?! Oh my god. Oh my god. Um, okay. I’ll be at your house in less than five. Wait inside for the love of God. Wrap your hand in some tissue paper and wait for me.”
Alex finds some towel paper downstairs and wraps her hand in it multiple times to avoid looking at the insides of her hand. She starts on the 7th layer when she hears honking from outside of her house. She makes her way to the front door only to find Samara half dressed with traces of shampoo in her hair. She can’t help but laugh.
“Why are you laughing ?!” Says Samara while looking at Alex with a twisted face. “Nevermind, just get in the car.”
They both run across Alex’s lawn towards the Jetta but Samara bends down and picks up something white. She continues to run while examining it. They make it to the car, it’s already started. Right before Samara puts the car into drive, she asks Alex “What is this doing on your lawn ?” Alex looks at bottle and takes it into her good hand. The Xanax bottle. Of course.
“I was gonna call you to get that refilled, by the way.”
Samara drives towards the hospital and says “Oh Alex, what would you do without me ?”
“Well according to my calculations of the current dilemma at hand, haha get it… hand…? I would probably die from a loss of blood. A slow death though, because the cut isn’t that big.”
They look at eachother in the rearview mirror. At first, Alex immediately looks away. She can feel Samara’s gaze on her, so she looks back. For a nanosecond she sees a lost young girl. But after some concentration, she sees herself. Alex Carter.
Being yourself was never an easy thing.