Erika

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A little blurb and an update from my last post. Previously I had mentioned the thought of attempting to submit my work for a small publication. I had a week to prepare my material. Due to a lot of other stress in my live (involving a broken transmission and busy weeks at work), I did not send in a submission.

While I am, naturally, sad that I did not make the deadline, I couldn’t force myself to write. Nothing feels worse to me than forcing myself to write, to try regurgitate wholesome content, when I am not sincerely inspired. While I had several engaging stories that I began for this submission, none of them were from that deep secret place where my inspirations come from. Because of that, I did not feel that my work was ready to submit.

But, it’s funny how inspirations work. I’ve had another one, and I have a short piece below for you to read. It came from a dream that I had last night, a dream that I somehow remembered on my bike ride home. The piece itself may not be long, but I hope that it is thought-provoking in some manner.

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Erika

I had a dream last night about one of my middle-school classmates. Her name was Erika. I loathed her. I was everything she wasn’t, and she made sure I knew it at any opportunity she had.

She teased me relentless for my lack of fashion or knowledge of girl-world, my clunky glasses due to my horrific near-sightedness, my lack of interest in boys and the fact that I had no concept of my emerging sexuality. I was a a truly gawky thing, tall, slim yet oddly muscular, not quite grown into my own body, and with a routine life typical of an adult rather than a preteen. Puberty is an awful time; Erika made it worse. She, by contrast, was perfect: flawless skin, a thin but blossoming body, confident and popular with the boys. I can still see the sneer on her face as she would lash some comment towards me, the cutting superiority piercing from her eyes.

In my dream, she died. And I mourned her as I would mourn a good friend. I told everyone I knew “Erika has died” and cried upon the delivery of the news to another. As the dream ended, part of my unconscious mind recognized confusion: why was it that I was so profoundly moved over someone who had caused me so much anguish growing up, so sad over a girl who I sincerely despised?

Maybe it was because she taught me something valuable back then that I can only recognize now that years have passed and I have grown. Perhaps I mourned because I lost a significant source of my personal growth, and my mourning was out of gratitude for those days of misery she caused me back then, which all have lead to the person that I am now.

Wherever you are, Erika, I know we are still very different people who took very different paths. I still may not like you, I still may not have any fond memories of you from our childhood, but I can, nonetheless, say “Thank you”.

~ olivia eleanor

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