I Wish SARS Wasn’t Over.
Every night would be the same monotonous routine: take off my scrubs in the garage, shower, eat my leftovers, and kiss my baby goodnight. This was my routine for the past several months during the brutal SARS outbreak. Tomorrow the world reopens, and the social distancing restrictions will be lifted. Tomorrow we will be free.
Little did I know I would do anything to rewind the clock; to be a prisoner of the virus for even just one more day. I do not want this to be over. Working endless hours in the ICU gave me a sense of purpose again. It reminded me why I became a doctor. Why I made so many sacrifices for this career.
Tomorrow my baby girl will live her first day outside of captivity, but I won’t be there to celebrate with her. I won’t see her first steps, hear her first words, or even be there for her first heartbreak. I’ll be in the hospital.
Don’t get me wrong. I love being a doctor, but SARS has made me realize that some sacrifices just aren’t worth it.
I was caring for a sick patient last night. He tested negative for SARS, and with the new vaccine coming out and our shortage of masks; I took one for the team. He didn’t seem very ill at first; just a light cough and a low-grade fever. I saw him without any protective gear, confident it was merely a head cold, but he coughed directly into my face.
That patient died this morning on a ventilator with an undiagnosed illness unrelated to SARS. I thought I finally made it into the clear. I thought my life would return to normal. I wish I wore that damn mask. I wish I took that simple precaution.
Annie when you’re ready for this, your mother will give you this letter so you can know your father died a preventable, but noble death. I write you this from my quarantined room in the same ICU I worked at for the past several months fighting to save others from SARS. I am almost certain death is imminent. I can feel my body withering away as I write this. Please Annie, don’t take your freedom for granted. Remember those who died to give you it.
I’m finally doing it Elle. I’m going to be with you as soon as I finish this letter. Mama tried to tell me you were crazy and hearing voices. But I knew you were right. You were right this entire time Elle.
After mama spent all our money to send you to that special place with the padded ceilings and creepy doctors, she got sick again. She had to quit her job at the cinema, and she went through another one of her sad spells. This time was bad though. She wouldn't eat, or ever get out of bed to talk to me. I even had to bathe her myself and make her sleep on that old tin sheet so she wouldn't wet herself. But Elle you were right about her being an alien. She stopped eating and speaking, I think she even forgot who I was.
The secret agents eventually came for mama. They took her when she was sleeping and one lady even tried to make me get into her shiny black car. I’m smart Elle. I listened to you, and I ran faster than lightening hits the ground. I remebered you told me that the secret agents can look like normal people too. I almost fell for it Elle. They almost tricked me when the lady agent started crying and saying "how could she let you live like this." She even tried to give me one of these candy bars to eat, but I remembered what you told me, I knew they were probably posion. It's a shame though, the agents seemed so nice. They seemed like they wanted to help me. But they took mama, and I know they would've taken me too if I didn't run.
I'm sorry for not believing you about the aliens and secret agent stuff before. You just were always speaking in choppy sentences to your other voices, and it never made sense to me. But secretly, I always wished I heard those voices too Elle. I wish I had your gift, but I actually discovered I have my own gift. I don't hear the voices like you, but I can see things that no one else can. One time before they took mama, I told her there were spiders crawling up my arm. I saw dozens of them stampeeding their way down my arm, and I could even feel the tickles of their nimble legs. Mama slapped me hard across the face and told me I sounded like Eleanor. Maybe we are special Elle. Maybe we have a super power.
After I ran away from the secret agents and lost mama, life got even harder Elle. I’ve had to live in the back alley behind Palo’s Chicken, and I steal their leftovers from the dumpster every night for dinner. I don't go out during the day light because thats's when you said the agents will look for us. They want my powers Elle, just like they wanted yours. To hide from them I sleep inside a big box I found behind the alley. It's big enough for me to sleep in, but it does feel cramped sometimes. I haven't showered in months, and I can't remember the last time I talked to another person, or have even left this alley. I worry the whole world has become captured by the agents, or turned into aliens like mama. I might be the only person left on Earth. But there's something I never told you Elle.
Before they took mama and before she sent you away; I stole one your books. It was the big red one by that Jones guy. I spent months reading it over and over again, trying to understand you; trying to understand why you did what you did.
It was a confusing book with lots of words I didn't understand at first, but I finally get it now. You didn't die to escape Earth. You died to save the others. The book said there's other dimensions, and people with these mind powers always get locked up and put into padded cells, so they can never develop their powers. It even said the Jones guy was called "manic" and "insane" by those who feared his powers. The only way we can be free and save the others from their padded prisions is to transcend. I am going to transcend and find you Elle. I know you're not really gone. I know you're just waiting for me to find you.
Elle, I think you knew something mama and I didn’t. You knew how to get to a place more magical than the grimy streets I sleep in every night. So, after I finish this letter, I’m going to do what you did months ago and trenscend.
I don’t have the Kool-Aid or that powder stuff from the book, but I’m ok with experiencing just a little more pain. Besides, I’ll need to be tough to fight the aliens and agents with you.
-I love you Elle. I will see you soon.
They're all staring at me again.
I knew I shouldn't have worn this shirt.
Who wears a Star Trek shirt in 8th grade? I guess I do.
They're still staring.
Is there something in my teeth again?
Am I making a weird face?
Control yourself. You're fine.
But why are they still staring?
They look away for a second, but I know their eyes are still fixated on my akward construction.
Tiny damp pools are forming in my armpits
Did I forget deoderant today?
Did I even brush my teeth?
I quickly breathed into my fist and took a wiff
Now they're definitely staring.
If it's not my breath, what is it?
Does my hair look weird?
I knew I should have brushed it better.
I vigoursly threw my head upside down to collect my hair into my rainbow scrunchie when I heard,
"Excuse me mam?"
I wisked my head up to see a blurry outline of a teacher who was not my teacher.
"Excuse me mam, you are in the wrong class. We've been trying to get your attention for the past 5 minutes. You really were zoned out weren't you?"
I half smiled at the stranger as I carelessly whisked myself out of the classroom.
On my way out the door I tripped over my untied sneaker and heard the class erupt in laughter.
"Control yourself freak!"
The Man in the Window
I made out a hunched figure swaying strangely in the night.
He had twiggy fingers and a misshapen torso.
I squinted my eyes repeatedly to try and get a better look at him.
He remained seated on my window waiting.
What is he waiting for? What does he want?
I violently shook my head and slammed my curtains together in front of him
But having him out of sight didn’t assuage my fears
It didn’t relax me
It frightened me more.
Is he still there? Is he still staring at my window waiting for the perfect moment to steal me away into the night?
I ran back into bed to shield myself under my covers.
I sat there for a few minutes, collecting my thoughts, but one thought consumed me; Is the man in the window still there?
Has he moved?
Is he in my room?
I mustered up all of my remaining courage and ripped off my blankets as I beelined towards the window.
“What do you want with me?” I yelled
“What do you want!?”
Nothing. Not even a whisper.
I slowly pressed my ear against the curtains of my window hoping to hear a response
“I said, what do you want!!”
I moved my ear under the curtain, so it was pressed firmly against the glass.
I sat there for a minute, like a complete fool, waiting for some sort of noise.
In defeat I retreated back to my bed and placed my hand against my rapidly beating heart.
Did I imagine him?
Am I going crazy?
Is he still behind the curtain?
I lay there for hours feeling my heart beat aggressively as if it was trying to escape its rib cage prison.
Is the man still there? Is he just waiting for the perfect moment to grab me and kill me?
My left arm ached as I reluctantly made my way back over towards the window.
I was now sweating profusely and experiencing severe pain in my ribs.
I turned away from the window and walked over towards my dresser to find some Advil.
“Christ where are the damn things?” I muttered as I ripped contents out of my drawer.
Finally, I found a bottle and immediately swallowed 4 of the pills.
Clutching my chest, I made my way back over towards the window.
“What do you want!?” “I know you’re still here!”
He said nothing.
Sweat was now pouring down my face onto my shirt, and my chest felt like it was on fire.
“Who are you!?”
With his stubborn silence, I decided to try and rip away the curtains and face him man to man.
I grabbed the curtains, but suddenly fell to the floor as I was about to rip them away.
My chest was now in unbearable pain, and my eyes began to roll back into my head.
As I took my last breaths I heard the loud shattering of glass where my window was
And next to my tremoring body fell a large tree branch.
I laughed like a mad man until my heart beat its final time.
The sky was splattered with warmth and innocence,
The clouds broke free to reveal an impatient ray.
A ray not bright enough to light up the sky.
A ray searching for its companions to awaken the day.
The ray and its companions marry as sunshine.
Now morning has come,
And the night is locked away with the moon.
Light once again
The sky was splattered crimson with rage and hatred,
The clouds converged to capture the fral ray.
A ray of fear.
A ray dimming with doubt of its return.
Now night has prevailed,
And the moon chills any remaining rays.
Light once again
The sky is forever torn
My Motivation to change is constantly bombarded by this juggernaut I face
I try to speak words from the depths of my mind, but
An acid burns my throat;
No words break free
I smile, but my mouth is in love with the frown
that turns him down;
Am I the red rose eager to be picked?
Am I a weed avoiding the clip?
I don’t feel worth more than a penny,
but I fool people that I am priceless.
My motives are as complex as flying to the moon.
I feel like the astronaut that left Earth too soon.
I would rather struggle then be born a diamond.
I was born carbon which promises choices.
I can choose my life and transform into
Or even a diamond.
I am unsure of what I will become and
unsure of what I want, but
I was born carbon;
I get to choose.
I have two faces that lie on one head
Sweet demeanor, but sour intentions
Drowning in a sea of emotion
I stay afloat on my raft called chaos
Beware and watch my every move
I am sly and untrustworthy
Shield your back for I may stab it
Extend your arm so I can grab it
Come in close and inhale the smoke
Gemini has lit the flame
The metronome is asleep tonight.
All is still and all is right.
The clock, commander of all,
it is the master of the wall.
The hands keep time, time, time
in a sort of Runic rhyme.
Every second turns to hours
the metronome loses its powers.
And the room is once again
There is Nothing Behind my Mask.
If you remove my mask, a mess of torn flesh oozing with a red liquid will be revealed.
You will not find beauty hiding beneath it.
You will not find cowardness hiding from reality.
You will not find anything you are looking for.
The mask I wear is not tangible, but rather decorated by the pigmented hues of my imagination.
Sometimes the colors wash away in a murky mess of gray.
Sometimes there are so many colors that it becomes impossible to make out an image.
You cannot strip away my mask, but you can change it's appearence.
I do not need a mask to become what I want;
I simply need a paintbrush.
Trial of the Century
I plead guilty.
Yes, I killed them all.
And you will be my victims soon.
But what will you do?
You can’t lock me away.
You will continue to run from me,
hide from me,
pretend I don’t exist.
So keep trying to fight me.
Give each other pills and potions to try and outsmart me.
Build your fancy new machines.
Put me back on trial.
Just remeber my hands will continue to circle my face, striking harshly at the sound of death.
I will continue to be the most sucessful murderer in the world becuse you fail to realize;
there will never be consequence to my actions.
Each second that passes, I take another victim.
I am unstoppable.
I am inevitable.
I am time.