5 comments

Fiction

“I’m telling you, I’ve never felt better. Once I started writing again I’m like a new person. Like I’m living again, you know?” I told my friend Kasey as our lovely server slid our plates in front of us.

“Let me know if you need anything else ladies. Enjoy!” she stated, grinning widely before turning away. 

She took a sip of her coffee and set it down gently in front of her.

“Lucy, are you taking your meds?” she asked. 

What do you mean, am I taking my meds?

“Yes, of course I am,” I replied.

Kasey and I had been friends for years. She knew of my struggle with bipolar disorder and how I had lived through vicious cycles with crippling depressive episodes. To my amazement, once I started following my dream it felt like the burden had been lifted. Not one episode in six months. I felt so free. It was all I had ever wanted. 

“Well, I just ask because a few years ago when you got like this you were manic. Remember, you were dead set on going to art school? Painting and writing music? You’re extremely talented, but I just don’t want you to take a wrong turn,” she answered, looking at me the same way my therapist did.

That’s what you think? Because I’m happy that means I’m manic?

“Yeah I know. This isn’t like that though. Don’t worry, no thoughts of going to art school,” I laughed nervously. 

But, I do want to write for a living. Make something of myself. My job doesn’t make me happy. I know it’s a long shot, but I really feel like if I work hard enough and keep doing it that maybe my dream could come true. 

“Okay, good. I just worry about you,” she said, looking down at her phone.

Yeah, you and everyone else. I feel like I’m never going to live down this disease. But I am not this disease. I’m a human being capable of making beautiful things too, you know. 

“I know you do. Thank you, I appreciate it. I know you’re just looking out for me.” I checked my watch so I didn’t have to look her in the eye. 

But, do I seriously seem manic to you?  Is my speech pressured? Have I presented you with any grandiose ideas? I seriously can’t believe you assumed that. Do you understand how deeply that hurts? You sound just like my family. It feels like no one believes in me. 

“So anyway, what else have you been doing? It’s been so long since I’ve talked to you. I feel like I’m out of the loop,” she asked.

“Same old, same old. Just working,” I replied, playing with the salad in my bowl.

Our friendly server stopped at the table. 

“How is everything ladies? Can I top you off?” she asked sweetly, holding up a coffee pot.

Well, my friend just questioned my mental stability. But, other than that everything is great.

“Yes please,” I said, sliding my cup forward. 

She topped off my cup and offered some to Kasey.

“I’m good, thanks.”

“Great, can I get you anything else?” she asked.

“I’m okay, thank you,” I replied softly.

Although, I could really use the check so I can get out of here. 

“Alright, well I will grab the check. No rush, ladies. And, if you’d like anything else just let me know.” Her eyes wrinkled as she turned away gracefully. 

Wow, not only are you sweet, you can read my mind too. 

“What about you? How have you been?” I asked Kasey.

“Oh, you know, juggling a house full of kids. I’m exhausted, honestly. I’m so glad the summer is over so I have some time to myself. I love my kiddos but I envy your freedom. I forget what it’s like to be able to leave the house without four kids protesting,” she said, finishing off her soup. 

I had a miscarriage six months ago. I’d give anything to have a house full of kids.

“Yeah, I imagine that can be stressful.” 

We chatted over coffee for a while, mostly about madness going on in the world. I had been rather reclusive lately, so it was nice to get out and talk with someone. I was feeling better, but her assumption still hurt. Kasey had always been a good friend to me, though. I know she didn’t mean to be hurtful. 

 “Well, Kasey it’s been so nice to see you, but I need to get going. I told Aunt Mable I’d stop by before my appointment at three. Lunch is on me,” I said, grabbing the check. 

“That’s sweet Lucy, thank you.  We’ll have to do this again. It was so nice to see you. I do hope you keep up with your art, honestly. Don’t want you falling into a depression. You do seem happy and I’m glad you’re feeling better,” she replied, placing a few dollars on the table. 

“Thanks Kasey, I really am.”

And, I know as long as I’m creating, I will be happy. I just wish that you, along with the rest of my family, would stop labeling me. I understand, I do. But, I am more than bipolar disorder. I know that I wasn’t well in the past. But, I’m better. Please, don’t judge me. It hurts. Really bad.

We said our good-byes and I headed to Aunt Mable’s house. I had picked her up her favorite bagels from the bakery. I let out a sigh. 

Don’t give this pain power, Lucy. You are stronger than that. Sit with it, feel it, and let it go. 

I felt myself beginning to relax. Everything was going to be okay. 

I opened the door and I could hear dishes clinking in the kitchen. Aunt Mable looked over her shoulder and shook off her soapy hands. I placed the bagels on the counter and gave her a kiss on the cheek. 

“Hello, sweet. Thank you so much. How are you today?” she asked, drying her hands with a fluffy towel. 

I’ve been better.

“I’m good,” I replied, offering a smile. 

She narrowed her eyes at me. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing is wrong. I’m okay,” I said. It wasn’t convincing enough for her.

She ushered me to the table and sat down.

“You have been so happy lately, Lucy. You seem off today,” she stated, placing her hand on my forearm. 

Yes, Aunt Mable. I have feelings. 

I raised my eyebrows and smiled. “Everything’s fine, I promise.”

“Alright. I just worry. I know that look in your eye. You just promise to let me know if you start feeling depressed. I don’t want it turning out like six months ago,” she offered, genuinely concerned. 

“I promise, Aunt Mable. But, I assure you, I’m okay.”

I am more than a disease.  

January 13, 2021 13:35

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

5 comments

Malini S.
08:10 Jan 30, 2021

I loved this, Jess. Every line in italics had so much of emotional weight and I think you've expanded on this idea really well :)

Reply

Lucy Newman
21:50 Jan 30, 2021

Thank you Malini! I appreciate the feedback :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Slothy Penguin
08:01 Jan 26, 2021

Hello there!, enjoyed reading your story. It was simple but it displayed alot of emotions and struggles of the character. Loved it! 😁

Reply

Lucy Newman
22:55 Jan 27, 2021

Thank you! :)

Reply

Slothy Penguin
07:18 Jan 28, 2021

Pleasure is mine! 😄

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.