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Contemporary Fiction

This story contains themes or mentions of mental health issues.

The girl without a self woke and stared at the honesty of the world. She tried to calm her soul. She went over her stories, the lines of the book, the etchings of the universe, because it is times like these, when the world drip, drip, drips with neither the love nor its opposite but rather simple beauty, that she begins to think. And I guess when you start to think about it you really can’t stop. The sky or the hole that encompasses her little world is painted with colors of sincerity and sprinkled with small bursts of indifference – indifference to her, to her lens. It picks her out of the moss, a little seedling, and spits at her with utter disgust. It throws her glasses into the green pool because things are as is, perception does not matter, blurs and spazzes of color are more true than the truth of fixed points, it says. But with that background, with the disturbing beauty of the world the girl without a self no longer belongs to and who glooms over her like a blanket of stars, she cannot hide, she cannot take cover. And that is when the bomberades begin, when thoughts come crashing down entailing fire, fire, fire. 

The generals yell and she is on her own. She begs of him, she screams silent prayers, the atheist without a self, but he does not care. They charge forward. 

    She could try to run from it, she could, but it has already begun; there is no point. The world begins to soften, the lights shut off, and they begin to call to her.

    So she tumbles down, the girl without a self. It is then that the taboo, the impossible becomes the norm, and her darkest thoughts become her friends. For what is the spirit, the self, and the mind? The searing pain, the worst pain, becomes her joy, a drop drip, drip, dripping into the sea that is her body. 

    Not now, not yet.

    Can’t you do it? Don’t you want to?

    They pin her down, an animal, a subhuman. But she are truth – is truth her own? Knowledge is only temporary. Infinitely finite, a flower. 

    Suppress it, she could try, she could but she can’t. It is her now, they caught up. They come out her eyes, burning tears, but nothing could ever rid her of it. 

    Can’t they see? Can’t they tell?

    You swallow it.

.  .  .

    It hurts to be in disgusts. With the world, with the self. 

    It hurts to feel sick so long as you continue to exist.

    When people joke, when people forget. When they blame you for things outside of your control. When they shame. It’s hard to be part of something that never wanted you in the first place.

    It can feel like you’ve swallowed something vile, something that you and everyone else knows will eventually lead to the end. They’ve told you it a dozen times. It’s really only a matter of

    Time. 

    So you curl up within your empty, lonesome skin like a butterfly trying to fit back into its old coop.

    Rain decorating the sea with soft splatters. A dog curled in sleep. The sun reflecting off of glass windows onto desperate leaves. One, two, five, four, three.

    I am okay

    If not now

    Then soon.

    Because the world would not be beautiful

    Without my eyes 

    To see it.

.  .  .

Nonsui doesn’t like her plain red sweater. It’s too bland, she says. Nonsui dislikes plain things; in fact, she despises them for all their simplicity. Plain sweaters don’t receive compliments, plain things don’t attract the attention of men she has no interest in – they are plain. And plain sweaters make plain people.

    Nonsui takes care of her plain red sweater: she washes it, trims it, dries it, hangs it, but never wears it. She has tried to make it to her liking, carefully designing patterns and gluing on patches, but it remained as it always was: just a plain, red sweater. She’d even tried to be rid of it before, of course, however it always returns. Last month, indeed, she threw it in the trash. She was so overjoyed with her doing, proud of her resistance, that she went and bought herself a new tecnicolor sweater. However, once she returned home the sweater lay folded on the bed. She never really wondered why. 

    It was only one night a week ago that Nonsui truly made up her mind to make the sweater disappear. Her friend had complimented her plain red sweater. 

    Most things are plain, he said, There can be beautifully plain sweaters.

You lie, she said, plain things cannot hold beauty. 

When her friend tried it on in admiration, Nonsui was overcome, the utter hatred towards that helpless cloth blinded her. She did not care for its history, she did not care for its existence as a paradox between what has always been and what never will. She did not care for her plain red sweater. So she made a plan, a genius one, a terrible one.

    On the fifth day of the week, Thursday, that is, Nonsui carried the sweater to her backyard. The sweater, being an object, could not resist, yet she did so aggressively. At the farthest right corner of her spacious yard, Nonsui laid out her plain red sweater on a dirty rock. Then she began to beat. She slashed the sleeves, tore out the seams, undid the knots and stitchings, and then, to complete the atrocity, to end the tyranny of the sweater over her miserable life, she set fire to it – fire, fire, fire!

    But as she watched it burn, as she watched the life of her sweater slowly fade away into a pitiful little patch of black, brittle cloth, she began to weep. Nonsui knelt on the soft soil and wept – for humanity, for life and for the love of self. She took a breath. Nonsui looked at her now filthy hands and realized. 

    Nonsui realized, now that it was gone,

    Just how much she

    Loved, Loved

    Loved

    Her plain red sweater.

May 15, 2022 18:05

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3 comments

16:08 May 21, 2022

A deep, wonderful and melancholy story. It rambles a bit in the beginning but the language is so compelling, it doesn't take away from the story. Then when you bring the red sweater in, it brings a whole new layer. Well done! I look forward to more of your stories. It reminds me of a play I directed called Approaching Simone by Megan Terry. It's about the writer Simone Veil who was plagued by voices in her head until she eventually killed herself via starvation.

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Omri Ratzkoff
15:08 May 22, 2022

Thank you! It was the idea I was going for. This comment means a lot as it is my first time sharing my writing. Also, thank you for pointing out the rambling, I hadn’t noticed it before but will pay more attention to it now. I will also definitely look into that play!

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15:45 May 22, 2022

I figured the rambling was part of the main character's thought process :) The play is pretty intense especially when you consider it's based on a real person.

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