When you follow your bliss, doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors and where there wouldn't be a door for anyone else -- Joseph Campbell.

Identities and Abuse

I tend to get hung up on identities. A lot. Being a woman of Asian descent, I see the inequalities between genders become more pronounced because every incident hits home. Heck, most incidents even start at home. My parents are by no means control freaks (well, at least my mother isn’t), but I’ve fought my fair share of battles as a teenager, and even as a 20-something, to assert my independence and assumption of responsibility.

Sample conversation with my father:

“You can’t talk to boys.”
“Why not?”
“Because I said so.”

Oh no you didn’t. I’m very proud of myself. I have never been able to tolerate unjustified authority and I still don’t, regardless of the relationship. I ended my curfew the day I hit 21, I took over my own bills and even some of the family’s at 18 and I put myself through college with a 3.8 graduating GPA. I’m sorry – telling me I’m not a responsible adult and that I “don’t know any better” just don’t fly.

My independence is a part of my identity. Losing a sense of who I am is my second greatest fear. Being alone is the first. But identities are molded by the people in our lives, who can or cannot be extremely abusive. Physically, mentally, verbally, emotionally and even sexually. Especially sexually.

Where do the lines begin and end to qualify oppression and abuse? Where should they? When is enforced authority because of a role in life too much authority? I’ve seen men in my family being allowed to get away with being the control freaks that they are simply because they’re the husbands. They’re raised to believe that being born as men affords them the right to make decisions for the women and children in their lives. From deciding where their wives and daughters will work to whom they can talk to, to what they can or cannot wear and even right down to what they’re allowed to eat or drink.

Can’t look at another man. Can’t step out of the house after dark. Can’t have people over for tea. Can’t dress a certain way because that’s against the family rules. Rules??? Why does a healthy, active, contributing member of society need fucking rules to live in her own home??? Just because she’s married?

For anyone who might reading this post and thinking that it’s easy for me to talk about the domestic abuse in families without understanding the social structure, you’re wrong. I’ve seen plenty of these “valid” inequities in my own family and in my own home. My father no longer speaks to me because he cannot control me or my decisions. I don’t allow him to. Some friends of mine tell me it’s easier said than done to put your foot down. No it’s not. I’ve had a lifetime of stomping my feet and it still isn’t easy for me. I just can’t fathom handing over my entire life to a ridiculous patriarch, father or husband. The abuse that the women in my family have survived may not be as violently extreme, but emotional scars usually don't heal after the physical scars have.

The trigger for this post is a movie I just watched. It’s called Provoked and it stars Aishwarya Rai in the role of Kiranjit Ahluwahlia, an Indian woman who had been repeatedly abused by her husband. The movie seems extreme, but shock was more rude when the credits said that the movie was based on a true story. The related article that I found online is here.

According to the article,

Following a campaign, led by SBS, Ahluwalia's conviction was quashed on
appeal in 1992. The court accepted some new evidence - that she had not been
aware she could plead guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished
responsibility, and that she had been suffering from severe depression when
she killed her husband [...] Ahluwalia's successful appeal against her
murder conviction set a historic precedent - that women who kill as a result
of severe domestic violence should not be treated as cold-blooded murderers.

I’m fucking pissed.

Teaching Update

I marvel at people, who despite having absolutely no time to spare, can still find time to keep writing, ruminating and posting their thoughts everywhere between blogs, computer screens and maybe even scribble a word or two. When the semester began, I had grandiose dreams of sitting down at my computer at the end of every week and updating the world on my discoveries as a novice teacher. Hah! I say to myself. Such naiveté. Apparently, I’m in denial about the fact that I need sleep and that I can’t function without it. Another trait I envy in others. But I’ll trade a state of wordlessness for a few more years of kicking and screaming so I can go out with a bang.

The teaching/shadowing is going really well. Stepping into a classroom is like crossing the threshold into a parallel universe. The students are creative, bursting with energy, and despite all outward appearances, honestly eager to learn. This just might be my own misconception, but I think I can manage to live with rose colored glasses for a while. We’ve spent a significant portion of the semester trying to instill a penchant for detailed writing. The class began with the token “Who am I?” paper, and surprisingly, the details were few and far between. I would think that 18-somethings would offer up their lives much more willingly than adults would. Not so much. Getting them to write with more details is like pulling teeth.

Gender differences are emerging strongly as well. The girls notice details and the boys notice objects. Slight observation when we passed around glossy advertisements and asked them to describe what they saw. From the women, I heard about colors, composition, theme, message and even audience. From the men, I heard about readily noticeable objects and functionality. When they were asked to bring in advertisements to class, they picked decidedly masculine themes – cars, sports, guns and game hunting. Hmm. As a copy editor at a campus newspaper, I’ve trained myself to not ascribe to sweeping generalizations, but I can see how they take root. Even so, my guess is that not treating every student the same way is no less than a learned art.

Speaking of audiences, the concept of writing catered to an audience is beginning to take root, but it’s a good bit of an uphill struggle. I think nearly ever student who was asked to imagine the audience wrote down “anyone willing to read about me.”

However, the most challenging hurdle I see myself jumping over is enforcing decorum and getting a grip on classroom management. I don’t see myself being militant, but gaining and keeping control of my classroom seems to be one of the major factors in getting the students to focus. Also, I have to keep biting my tongue to stop myself from calling the students “kids.” I think it’s because it hasn’t been that long since I’ve graduated and I remember how condescending being called a “kid” would sound coming from one of the professors. So far so good – I think I’m a little closer to finding home again. Hmmm…

Pedagogy? Me?

Hell yes! At the very beginning of this summer, I was approached by a friend at Tunxis Community College with an offer to teach Introduction to Composition. To say that I was positively thrilled would be a heavy understatement. I remember shrieking with joy, jumping on my living room couch and running around the house like a mad woman. Oh, and I also did a little happy chicken dance. And they say teachers are supposed to be mature.

At this point, I have to say that wanting to take ownership of my own classroom has been a dream of mine since I first took Introduction to Literature. Add to that courses like British Literature, Writing of Poetry, Literary Criticism and Women in Art, and its a sure fire formula for a college teacher wannabe. People have asked me numerous times why I wouldn't just work towards my teaching certification and make life easier for myself. A) Because I'm a sucker for punishment - why stop at a teaching certification when there are multiple, more challenging and positively blood sucking degrees to be earned just floating about out there? Also, B) I have trouble accepting inane rules and regulations, and the state board is nothing if not a ball of red tape. Although, I think I happily ignore the red tape involved in higher ed, only because I want to be there, so badly. ( I know I'm going to design a course around Post Colonial Literary Criticism some day. I just know it).

I should get to the point. Thrilled as I was at the prospect of teaching my own course this Fall, there's something to be said for actual classroom experience, which sadly, I have none of, especially from the other side of the desk. So, I've decided to shadow the English department at Tunxis this semester before I fly solo in the Spring, and today was my very first day! I've had a bag full of wonderful teachers, and I've met most of them at lil' ol Tunxis, a college working very hard to be more than a nondescript dot on the higher ed map of CT.

I don't think the complete impact of the fact that I was about to begin teaching hit me until I started driving towards the campus this afternoon. Talk about being torn by mixed emotions. I didn't think it was possible to feel joy, excitement, anticipation, anguish, nervousness and fear all at the same time. Walking on to campus felt strangely ethereal as well. Well, without the smoke and mirrors though. The fact that I was walking up to the classroom as a potential faculty member was a tad bit more than overwhelming. Faculty? Me?

Over time, many faculty and staff members at Tunxis have become good and close friends, but please bear in mind, I've long idolized every person I've taken a class with at this school. And I haven't even added my teachers at Seton Hill to this mix yet. Standing by the courtyard this afternoon while I waited for the class to begin, my only thought was, "all my teachers are now going to be my colleagues."

And then I had to slap myself on the wrist. There's no way I could ever be in the same league as the teachers at Tunxis. I can see myself carving out my own niche in time, but some people will always be in a much higher league of their own. And yet, there's something to be said for the all the people who have unconditional faith in me and my ability to succeed. Not one person I came across today said anything that could have been less than encouraging. For all my nervousness and anxiety, there were people cheering on from the sidelines telling me I'd be great.

And then came the classroom. And the students. And the prospect of talking about writing, and writing well. The "nooks and crannies," the attention to detail, the ability to articulate, to ascribe a method to the madness of floating thoughts, a way to weave in and out of stories that shape writing, and at the most basic level, the need to communicate and express the self. Or an assignment. Whichever comes first. Grasping the opportunity to influence young minds. Or at least teaching them how to "write good."

This was the moment when every bit of the anxiety washed away. I've decided that I'll take whatever comes my way. Whatever, however, in whichever shape, size or form. From grading to meetings to department reports and every little task in between - I'll do it all and I'll love it all. I've come a long way from first learning how to write, to learning how to write well, to tutoring fellow students, and now, I have an honest shot at applying all that I've learned and more. Much, much more.

My Epiphany for the day? I'm going to leave the door open to allow teaching to become the passion and drive I've been searching for, for so long. I absolutely, positively, desperately, ridiculously want teaching to be my "It." I want teaching to be more than a job. I want it to be more than a living. I'd like it to be a calling that wakes me up every morning, filled with boundless energy, impatient to tackle the day ahead of me because it'll come packed full of surprises. Who knows? In another year or two, I just might be applying for a Fulbright.

Cormac McCarthy

I've just begun journeying on The Road with Cormac McCarthy, decidedly one of my favorite authors. There's a touch of the sublime here. A deep force that somehow manages to rise above the ground an assume an ethereal presence.

The ashes of the late world carried on the bleak and temporal winds to and fro in the void. Carried forth and scattered and carried forth again. Everything uncoupled from its shoring. Unsupported in the ashed air. Sustained by a breath, trembling and brief. If only my heart were stone.

If only I were able to write like this. And this is just page 11. There's an entire book ahead of me.

Endless Summers?

Summer is quite possibly the most sought after season that nature could have provided us with, what with its promise of lush green grass, picnics in the park, open air jazz concerts and June bugs. Okay, so maybe the June bugs are a bit unnecessary, but I happen to be an avid worshiper of shiny. And at the same time, it is also perhaps the most elusive and short lived season ever thrown around for the sole purpose of tantalizing its followers.

"Come, play with me" it beckons. "We'll make wonderful memories together."

Bare faced lie.

I think as I get older, its texture becomes more and more slippery. Much like the fish people spend hours knee deep in murky water with squirmy bugs for. If summer were a vegetable, I think I'd spend endless hours grilling. I honestly yearn for days that try and break the 85 degree mark. It's really wishful thinking, because locked up in jolly old New England here, we really only are privy to two seasons. Cold and colder. Winter is a nine month long visitor, and I dread its arrival like the crotchety old aunt who comes visiting with knitting needles in tow, not to knit with, but to poke me in the eye. Needless to say, it very quickly outlives its welcome.

Have you ever noticed how summers in books seem to span the lengths of bibles? Epic summers, these characters have. Sometimes I wish I were Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird, with an epic, adventure filled summer that ran on forever and ever. I certainly do have an epic summer tucked away with my name on it, but I think it carries the stories of my friends more than it does mine. But that's a post for later. I have no story. None. I wake up in the morning and I go to work, and when I come back home, I head out for long walks to try and savor every last bit of the warm weather that Connecticut is blessed with, and then I come back home to read and fall asleep. No story. No adventure. No magical lessons to be learned from Boo Radley or Atticus. Not even an annoying random neighbor to spare.

Why is it that a nine year old's summer filled almost 400 pages and my combined summers won't even fill one? I'm a little jealous.

Growing Up?

No, I'd like to shrink. Grow down, so to speak. Start my life in the mid-eighties and work my way down to being five when I was chasing little June bugs and fireflies through my yard and my playground, the chase based strictly on the "ooh! shiny!" concept. I chase after shiny object to this day. Sometimes I feel like I'm a magpie. A streak of sunshine, a sparkle of face glitter, a luminescent moon (try running after that one), a sequin on a friend's sweater - the possibilities are endless. And yet I can't stand diamonds. Go figure.

I was always aware of the fact that life in the post baccalaureate world wouldn't be without its, ahem, adventures, but somehow, I don't think I was really prepared to face it. I mean, besides for the children of the Sultan of Brunei, who can really stake a claim to financial freedom at 25? I have a 401 K plan going now and a couple of CD's here and there, but why can't life start at retirement and end at retirement? How about that RV traipsing through the sharp curves around California beaches or tunneling through a few Redwoods? Or camping in the lap of the Grand Canyon? Anyone see the sky walk there? (Cheesy website alert here). Oh, and let's not forget, it's made of glass, so it's very, VERY shiny. An eating tour of Rome. A wine tour on the French Riviera. I have very expensive tastes and not enough money to feed my dreams just yet.

So the other option, naturally, is to go back to being a kid and hanging from the branches of mango trees. Can I tell you how much fun is to be had dangling from the nook of two branches with a slingshot in hand? Can I tell you how many times I've been yelled at for relentlessly cracking windows? Even breaking them sometimes? Countless summers I've spent sleeping on cool cement floors, popping berries, tearing into sugar snap peas, skipping rope, chasing toads and chomping on sugar cane. It might be a third world country, but India is a wonderful place for a kid to grow up in. If you leave at the right time, your vision of home is never tainted and you're forever locked into R.K. Narayan's Malgudi Days.

I'm protesting. Lets all grow back down.

Story Beginnings

Where do stories begin, I wonder? I mean, geographically, where do stories really begin? At train stations, in the backseats of classic Oldsmobile's (I used to drive one of those not three years ago), in the poorly lit corners of the chic French bistro with the company of a plate laden with delectable petit fours. What causes pieces of fiction to be born? I've read some pretty horrible tales in my day, and they've left me wondering what on earth could have possessed the author to want to tell a story about a child who was too fat. Never mind the author - I wonder what would have possessed the publisher.

All good stories have adventure, I've been told. The classic journey - a perfect beginning, a ripple in the fabric, layers of conflict, a foray into the unknown, and irrevocable change. I spent the better part of my afternoon in Stamford, CT by the side of Long Island Sound throwing bread at infernally loud geese and swans. Did you know those geese are so fat from being fed every day that they no longer fly?

I've had snippets of adventure staring at my face all day today. Just snippets. I met two bikers from Albany who woke up this morning and decided they would get on their bikes with a map and head towards the ocean. They had found the Sound and by 4 pm had decided that they had waited entirely too long, so it was time to find the road again. Less than quarter of an hour later, I met a man walking two of his dogs along the "beach". A young man, possibly in his thirties, with five ear piercings, a nose piercing, a flame tattoo and two dogs walking on a beach, telling stories of all his travels from Albuquerque to Albany and every major city in between. He said he was a glass blower and took his trade with him wherever he went. "I just came back from New Orleans to stay with my mother and I don't know where I'm going next."

Now that's the beginning of a story if I ever heard one...


Have you ever felt like a ball of yarn? I feel like one today. Such a curious thing to compare myself to. A ball of yarn. A knot of fibers, spooled around its own center, waiting to be knitted into something useful. A sweater is better than a scarf is better than an idle piece of thread, I say. I remember as a kid, every time my grandmother would sit down to knit the newest crop of sweaters, I would inadvertently find a ball of yarn that wasn't part of the color scheme, and play with it for hours on end. Raveling and unraveling, practicing my knotting skills (or lack thereof), trying to find that hidden cork that held all that thread together. Did you ever wonder what lay at the heart of that great big ball of gray yarn?

I wanted to find out one day, so I did. I decided to pick up a ball that wasn't being used and began to take it apart, loop by loop. Oh, and I took it for a walk with me. Up the stairs and back down, through the kitchen, into the bedroom, and around my mother's pretty red high heels. The sound that followed from her throat (after her heels snagged in the yarn) wasn't exactly the sweetest that she could come up with. But imagine my surprise, when at trying to find the cork inside the ball, all I'd ended up with was a whole lot of... nothing.

That's just how I'd like to unravel - I'd like to slip outside the pet flap in my door (if I had a door like that), roll down the steps, on to the street, latch on to the bumper of a car due south by south-east and find myself in the heart of the Grand Canyon with a whole lot of nothing on my shoulders. Or my back.

I'd love to be a ball of yarn today.

Love Quest!

Have you ever felt as though you were stuck in a Jane Austen novel? You'd be hard pressed to find sprawling mansions nestled between never ending stretches of perfectly manicured gardens lately - unless you're connected to the Vanderbilts in Newport - or even little tea parties with scones and lemon cake under a lovely lavender umbrella by the river side, but the social expectations and pressures don't seem to melt away. Rather, they keep standing around like brick walls, waiting to block your every move at asserting your independence.

So maybe this post is a little personal (and maybe I’m a little bitter), but the title of this weblog does happen to be Epiphanies, which don’t necessarily have to be limited to the expression of itinerant creative thoughts. Every platform must be backed by a mission statement, but why bother being redundant, no? Yes.

It's been a year since I've graduated, and for an entire plethora of reasons, my plans to head to grad school as a freshly scrubbed graduate ended up buried deep, deep under the sea. It hasn't been all that bad, really. I've found there's a good reason students are advised to take blocks of time off and away from the very cushioned academic environment. Yes, students work part time. Some even full time. And they come from every possible social strata of life. But falling into academia is nothing if not cushioned. If you don't believe me, ask the thousands of graduates who walk right into the arms of the newest phenomenon called the quarter-life crisis.

Coming back to the thought at hand, it's good to take some time off, I've found. You get to meet family you haven't seen for a good four years, you get to travel, you get to meet old friends and hopefully, make some new ones. But most of all, you get to experiment and dabble and get your hands dirty with work you like or positively despise, and for the love of the maker, you get to discover who you really are. Twelve years of formal education and four years of higher education do not a self-aware individual make. You come to understand social settings differently, because now you're expected to be a productive, contributing member.

A significant portion of the contribution, I've learned is procreation. The promulgation of life. At least where I come from, it is. Never mind the trysts with destiny to discover the self. Never mind not rushing into a decision that, ideally, should last a lifetime. Let's just get hitched. All of us. Every single person entering into their mid twenties. I think that by Jane Austen's standards, the mid twenties would be horribly late. By all Indian standards, I've found that I'm well past my expiration date. I'm a crusty, bent out of shape 25 year old who hasn't snagged herself a man yet! (What if I wanted a woman, instead? I don't, but that's besides the point. What if???)

And yet, the feverish obsession with marriage seems to not be an exclusively Indian obsessions.
This is how some of my conversations look with some of my Western acquaintences.

Stranger: Are you married yet?

Neha: Yet? What do you mean yet?

Stranger: Well...it's been a year since you've graduated. I mean...when are you going to get married? At least find yourself a boyfriend.

Neha: Sure I will. I'll be the first one in line once they have boys at the local farmer's market. I hear their turnover is fabulous.

Stranger: You know, you really shouldn't play with your future. Don't you want to find your Prince Charming? What happens to you when you grow old? Don't you want someone to take care of you?

Neha (groaning, very overtly): Dude, I would, but the minute Prince Charming sets his eyes on my life, he heads for the hills in a hailstorm. He wants to save his own damn ass.

I kid you not, I've had these conversations, and many more with the standard, expected variations. I'm trying to realize why a woman who is more than capable of financially and intellectually supporting and sustaining herself, has deep interests in art, poetry, fine dining and wine, books and writing, and plenty of friends with whom to share these passions with, needs to be afraid of turning into an old maid with naught but a spinning wheel by the light of a fading candle to keep her company. I have visions of Rapunzel stuck up in a tower.

Have you ever noticed how girls are conditioned to search for "The One" from the word go? We have entire sections in libraries and book stores dedicated to fairytales and the search for true love. Little girls made to feel like little princesses. Little boys told to go clean the yard. Little girls handed make up before they hit the ripe old age of 10. Little boys told to go build a tree house. Harlequin romances, love songs, Shakespeare, Neruda, Barbara Cartland, the 15 year old boy next door professing his undying love to a beat up Camaro with rusted hubcaps, magic wands and fairy dust.

So really, the measure of my life is not a sum total of my accomplishments, but really an evaluation of how much I mean to the one person who can come rescue me from the depths of depravity my life seems to lie around in. I might be bitter, but not because I'm unhinged, foot loose and fancy free.

Train Whistles

Some people wake up to the sounds of cars and trucks speeding by behind the concrete barriers lining the highways. Some pull back crisp linen sheets and stretch leisurely to the singing of birds outside their window sills. I've even been told stories of people in villages waking before the first cock crow.

And some others, like myself, can never get the sound of train whistles out of their minds. I wonder at the sorts of memories the first stimulus of the day can trigger in peoples minds. The first sound of the morning, the first taste of coffee at 6 a.m., the first rustling of leaves in the fall, the first smell of winter at dawn. The first ray of sunshine nudges my eyes open, yet my wind doesn't wake up until I walk into Hartford and hear the first train whistle of the day.

In my mind, I see sleeping fields and mounds of hills, rising from their slumber at the first train whistle announcing its arrival into the day, shaking birds out of their nests, terrorizing little gophers out of their holes, forcing a sleepy train attendant out of his warm seat inside a glass cabin to alert all travelers not to miss possibly their only commute. I see a little train station perched on top of a brick pavement, so inconspicuous, you would never know it was there if you couldn't see the train huffing and puffing its way in.

I hear train whistles cutting across rows of cement and glass, and then, without any warning, I'm five and running along with train, trying to outdo it's speed, unmindful of my mother waiting at home, her heart leaping into her mouth at the thought of me kicking pebbles across train tracks. But how could I ever explain to her that the kid with the farthest shot got to pick his own sugarcane out of the fields across the tracks? Or the right aim with the slingshot could get me my own mango that I could lord over the dinner table?

How can I tell my mother now that the sounds of train whistles at 7 in the morning bring me back to city roads that smell like tar and hurt my feet when I try to run on them? Or that pebbles now get lodged in the heels of my shoes, and sometimes, they hit across my eyes. How do I tell her that I want train whistles to be just train whistles.

For the lost life

My epiphanies are sprinkled and they remain few and far between. Mainly because when I have an epiphany, the one that should follow about recording them never seems to make it's way through. Rest assured, I'm plagued with guilt about not having written. Plagued. No, I'm going to rephrase that. I have written. I just haven't blogged. I love how that word is a verb now. I love how my mind sidetracks and derails and refuses to come back home to me. I love streams of consciousness. Only when they're not coming from Virginia Woolf. I love that I can still write. Speaking of streams of consciousness, here's a word from a person sitting in my head. She's been there for a while. I hope whoever stumbles across this piece finds something worth their while for reading.

Red Brick Walls

I think I dropped something a while ago. I don’t know how it could have fallen out of my hands – I’d held on to it so tightly. I don’t understand. I think I had taken my hand out of my pocket to touch the wall. I just love red bricks, don’t you? I just love red bricks. I just love the way the grain crumbles on to my fingers and how I can walk away with a little bit of the wall with me when I leave. I like to leave walls a little less than the way I had found them. See, I never know when a wall is a shelter or a barrier. I never really know. I don’t like walls very much. They stand between people, don’t they? Don’t they? Don’t they put distances between people seem much wider than they really are? I think they make people rude, the way they stand next to the walls, hugging them with their ears glued on to them, listening in on moments in every one else’s lives. How hard would it be to knock on a door? To press your face against a window? You know, just for fun? Just to make someone laugh? Just to make someone laugh. I like laughing. Laughing is fun. It’s joyous. It implies carelessness, to some extent anyway. You know how you can bubble over with joy when you’re walking barefoot in the sand? You know, with a glass of wine in one hand, and your fingers intertwined with the other.

I don’t like walls much. They separate hands that should touch. But I like to take walls with me. They’re good against the wind, you know? Especially the cold wind that leaves you feeling so numb that you forget you’re actually hurting. So I just close my eyes against the cold wind. And then everything disappears. You know, when I close my eyes, I feel needles pressing against my skin, but that’s not all they do. The needles go through my skin, I think. They pierce me and then dangle off the other side to keep reminding me how much they should hurt me at every moment that I feel them. Wait, don’t drop my hands just yet. They feel so empty since I lost what I was holding. I can’t see them anymore. Of course I can’t. My eyes are closed. But I have to close my eyes, you know. Just to shield them against the bright light that comes streaming through this window right here.

It’s very strange that such a small window with so many bars can let so much light in. But I suppose it’s so bright because these walls are so white. There’s nothing on my walls here. When I was at home, I would have a painting hanging off every wall so they could never look just the same to me. Walls can have lives too, you know. They come to life when they have colors splattered on them. That’s why I don’t like these walls here. They’re too white, if you know what I mean. Too virginal. Too tall. They’re just….oh, I don’t know….here. They’re just always here, staring at me, with me staring back at them. Can you look under my bed to see if there’s anything there? Just, just a peek. Oh, I’m sorry. I just get so annoyed when I lose something, and now there’s this hair in my eye, and I can’t push it back, and now my hand is hurting, but I suppose yours was too, with the way you kept holding mine.

That’s why I don’t like these walls here. I don’t like these walls. These walls. They change people. I don’t think I am who I used to be. I’m not anymore, you know. No. How would you know. White walls and a steel door. And I know…I know there’s color in the world outside. It’s all behind that steel door, isn’t it? I know. I’ve seen it. I touched the red brick wall remember. That’s when I dropped something out of my hands. It rolled off to the ground and it was so light, I didn’t even feel it slip out of my hands, but I was holding on so tightly. I’m so tired now. I think I’m just going to keep my eyes close and let my head roll to the side. They tell me I sleep better that way. Maybe I can go find the life that I lost out of my hands in my dreams. I know I lost it. It slipped away so quietly, I don’t think it even wanted me. I’m going to sleep now. Are you going to leave me too?