Memories pop up when you're trying to sleep
Memories pop up when you're trying to sleep short story stories
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somewoman
somewoman Fiction & nonfiction short stories
Autoplay OFF   •   a year ago
Memories always come by when you can't sleep. Whether they're good or bad, that tends to be when special moments like to pop to the front of your mind. Never in any particular order, but they tend to resist efforts to brush them away.

Memories pop up when you're trying to sleep

Memories always come by when you can't sleep. Whether they're good or bad, that tends to be when special moments like to pop to the front of your mind.

Never in any particular order, but they tend to resist efforts to brush them away.

Age 20, you know what period of your life this was. Listening to the Glee cover of "My Man" on repeat but turning it off when someone comes in the room.

Staying in bed for three straight days except to get some cantaloupe and toast from the dining hall. Sleeping 14 hours a day and somehow still passing your classes.

Roommate stays away, she has no idea what to do when the first couple weeks of comforting and advice about ex-boyfriends don't bring you out of a pitch-black depression two years in the making.

That, or you're making the room smell funny. You'll never know. You memorize the color of early-winter light spilling through the cheap dorm shades.

Standing up, sitting in a chair, anything that's not lying down makes you tired, but you still go on long walks through the neighborhood when you feel the urge to be away from campus,

from people, which is often. You find a bench at the local park where you can cry in peace, undisturbed in the solitude of a rural Minnesota November.

At first you cry over him, then you cry over other people,

then you cry because it's all you can do to keep the tears from spilling in the middle of your classes and they need to come out somewhere.

Somehow you manage to run an 8am TA session twice a week. You only remember two of your students' faces now.

Age 21, the Women's Center performs spoken word and gives speeches for some made-up specific-to-this-new-college-you-transferred-to event.

You volunteered for this hoping to make some new friends through the Center but now you're just nervous.

Carol, the director, asks if anybody does not want their performance put on the Center's social media and you're the only one to raise your hand.

You know your piece is good but you also know what kind of backlash will spring from your diet-obsessed extended relatives if the video appears on Facebook.

At the end of the night your roommate tells you they were worried because your reading was right after someone who had rambled and let the audience mentally check out,

but that your piece drew them back in, made them pay attention, made it impossible to look away from you, made them forget any concerns they might have had before you started.

You feel proud and worried about having a strong voice. You are still glad you told Carol not to record.

Age 17, summer right before senior year.

You know because of your late birthday you were actually 16 when the first attempt happened, but you think of 17 as The Year That Shit Went Down so the memory always starts with age 17.

You are in the kitchen, gripping the table for dear life, bent in half and sobbing. You cannot look as they - you know they are your parents but somehow they are anonymous too.

You cannot look as they quietly lead her to the car to drive to the ER but you know your mom is crying too.

You cannot look at your sister, you cannot look at her, you cannot form even a fragment of everything you want to convey to her as they lead her out of the house.

You cannot look out the sliding glass window because you know the jump rope is there just under it, tied to the top bar of the swingset, thank God, thank God, without a body tangled in it.

Age 21, you go to meet with your seminar professor for the mid-semester writing check-in. He runs over with another student and invites you into his office late.

You are a little worried he will criticize your writing, but you know you won't actually change your writing style in anyway.

You already read all the books on this class' syllabus back in high school. You're only taking it because the college said you had to when you transferred.

You've seen the way he runs his class and blatantly favors some students over others; you don't trust his judgment and you most certainly don't respect him.

You're sitting in the chair across from him reflecting on your distaste for his class when he tells you you have written the best essays of the class,

you have a clear and persuasive writing style, you should speak up more with points like these, do you write regularly outside of class? You're caught by surprise.

Your ego wants the boost but your mind is still suspicious.

You tell him no, you don't write outside class, but it's a lie, you wrote short stories and fanfiction in high school, you do journal entries regularly.

You don't want to give him the pleasure of that knowledge; you don't want him to be right. He says you should write more, you should publish something in the college literary magazine.

You nod and say you'll think about it but you know you won't share a thing. This man does not deserve any more knowledge of you.

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