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Clara shuffled on her seat. Was she close enough to the camera? She wasn’t sure. Maybe the lighting would be all wrong and she would come across as an amateur, people would leave within the first minute and she would be left talking to herself. Maybe her best efforts at editing would be underwhelming and people would get bored of her, or maybe she would get hounded for copying the style of other people that she had never even watched before. The truth was, she knew she didn’t really care anymore. 

“I’m Clara and welcome to my channel!”

The smile on her face was forced, and the couldn’t shake from her head the descriptions she had read in books of smiles that didn’t reach the eyes. She was sure, if someone were to write about this moment, that her smile would be described in that way, although she had never quite understood what that meant. She wasn’t sure that she had ever witnessed a smile that had reached someone’s eyes.

“I wanted to start this channel to record my journey”

How many people must have done the exact same thing, sat alone and scared in the only room in their house they could find some privacy, leaving one ear trained desperately for footsteps because how on earth would they explain this away. They would have to endure the pitiful expressions, and whispering behind hands, the glances, all over again. They couldn’t face that, not again. But the risk couldn't stop them facing into the camera with an odd sense of determinedness.

“It’s been two weeks now since my diagnosis”

Clara felt a fraud. How could she sit here in front of seven billion people, and tell them how she was feeling, when she didn’t even know herself. She had written herself some rushed notes, not paying them the attention they deserved when they were incomplete, and now with a camera in her face and her heartbeat in her ears, she wished she had something more substantial to guide her along. Regardless, even if she had tried her very hardest, would she have been able to list and explain all of her feelings? She doubted it. 

“So I’m very new to this and you might not want to quote me on anything!”

The fake smile made a return, purposefully placed at the end of her statement in the aim to reduce the risk of commenters accusing her of spreading false information. She had no clue what she was talking about and why should they expect her to. All she had was a web page given to her by a kindly doctor two weeks ago, of which some specific words were merely a jumble of letters to Clara. A wave of fear passed over her again and she began to feel overwhelmed, how was she supposed to cope when she couldn’t even understand the basics. Honestly, if she couldn’t even explain someone through the introductory paragraph at the beginning of the article, what hope did she have getting to grips with everything enough to go into detail on her feelings as well.

“I first began experiencing symptoms about a year ago”

Undoubtedly, when Clara first told people closest to her two weeks ago, one or two had stopped her halfway through, catching the look of utmost distress on her face and encouraging her to not live through it again. Clara hadn’t the heart to tell them that the anticipated painful flashbacks had never occurred, instead she was left with waves of pure confusion. The rug had been pulled from under her feet, and somehow people seemed to expect her to come to terms with that immediately. 

“But at the time I figured it was probably nothing”

She found it unfair. When a close friend dies, nobody tells you to move on and deal with it straight away, you’re meant to grieve, to cry for a while and let it settle in. Sometimes that takes years. People always speak of hearing the door open years later, and expecting them to walk into the room. There’s five whole stages of grief to work through when you lose someone else and nobody bats an eyelid, but that didn’t seem to be the case with grieving yourself and it made Clara desperately angry.

“Seemingly that wasn’t the case”

Time for some humour. Clara’s family and friends seeing this was inevitable. Sooner or later they would be privy to her inner thoughts, and she needed to keep up her facade for when that time came. She would have liked to take this new stage of her life head-on, with positivity and optimism that she had never previously possessed, but that never happened. Nevertheless, Clara would pretend as well as she could that it had happened, and that the tears behind her eyes were because she had just yawned yet again. 

“My life expectancy is pretty uncertain”

She wanted to get straight to the point. Undeniably, the morbid details were at least half of the reason anyone watched these kinds of videos, and if she got her limited life expectancy out there right off the bat she could hope to keep a few viewers latched long enough for it to feel like anyone at all had watched her. 

“Although my life-span is obviously severely limited”

She couldn’t explain why she had the desire to do this, but she was certain she was not on her own in turning to strangers and anonymity for protection and support. She had never been a very open person, and the thought of turning to someone close to her was unbearable, something she had never even considered and something that would never happen. She could talk it all out over the course of however long she could keep it up, and then magically, somehow, she would understand everything. She would come to terms with her new existence and her very own crowd would pour adoration and support on her constantly. Her responsibility toward her fans would force her maternal attitude to kick in, she would detach from herself and take pity on the poor girl who was dying.

April 17, 2020 16:08

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1 comment

Zilla Babbitt
22:20 Apr 29, 2020

Here for the critique circle :). Wow, this is really moving. First, I love the name Clara, as it's my middle name. Second, I like how you basically tell her story in between the sentences she says to the camera, with little to no backstory but just enough for the needed information and enough to really become acquainted with and love Clara. I think it's sweet that you never say that it becomes viral, just as she wouldn't know while she was filming it, but from the prompt I can tell, of course. In the last two paragraphs or so you give he...


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