“Lord, send some big ass bird crashing through the window into me. Let it knock me over, pluck my eyes out to make openings in my head, and then pluck my brain out, in bits and pieces, through the sockets!”
It wasn’t the first time I’d thought those words. Even as I thought them, I knew it wouldn’t be the last time.
“Why can’t I just fucking die!”
Must have been the billionth time I wondered why me, why did I have to be punished with all these visions in my head, in my brain cells. Every time I closed my eyes at night, to sleep, there they were. Hell, I couldn’t even call them nightmares. Nightmares scare the shit out of you. You wake up screaming. I always woke up wondering if my brain would ever let me sleep, or if it was going to play endless stories on the back of my eyelids, like movies, until I died.
I couldn’t remember when those stories started. I’d tried. “What’s the first time you had one of these stories stuck in your head?” I couldn’t remember them not being there. And I remembered 50 years of them, all the way back to high school. Maybe 9th grade. Maybe 10th.
But, I couldn’t remember much of anything before that. There was that time all the grown ups got really sad. That was when the President got shot in the head, and died. Even the people that didn’t like him got sad then. I couldn’t remember the President getting shot, since I was only 4 years old when it happened, but I did remember people were sad, and I knew from history books they were sad because of his assassination.
There was the time I learned to read for fun. Not to read because it was homework, or because I was in Sunday School at church. It was when I was sick one time. For a week. Missed school. Maybe it was second grade. Maybe first. Does it matter? I was stuck in bed, sick, couldn’t go to school, couldn’t go outside and play, couldn’t get out of bed, really, except to go pee. I learned a lot that time I was sick. I learned daytime TV in the 1960s sucked, on all three TV stations we could pick up. I learned being trapped in the house was boring as hell, and felt anything but right.
And I learned to read comic books. Dad picked up a couple of them. I’d never read any chapter books, or anything else, really. Other than the school books. “Run, Jane, run! See Jane run?” It was desperation that made me pick those comic books up. The need to escape the emptiness of time. The silence of listening to the sun cross the sky, and the clouds float past my room windows. The complete nothing I’d felt trapped in.
I read the comic books. Each one took me hours. It was my first time reading anything.