Wednesday, January 30, 2013


This story began with a simple smile and a tapping on my keyboard. It's just something that I wrote on a whim. I rather liked it and thought I'd share. Today was supposed to be some sort of 'artsy' day but I realized that my idea was nowhere near product. I hate posting crap so I'm going to start that section with something I can be proud of. On a good note I signed my W-9 form today! A W-9 form is a working permit and I'm getting my first paycheck ever! It's really exciting. I'm getting paid for something that I love doing. Anyways! Enjoy this little story. It's not really a Monday Memoir but it's of a similar nature.

His smile. The way he looked at me. It was unforgettable and there was a shock that jolted up my spine and sped up the whirring of the neurons in my brain. I could feel the sodium potassium pump reaching the threshold and an action potential occurring. The gated sodium ion channels would be opened and my brain would feel the excitement of touch, of connection. I looked up again but he was long gone. I was lost in a stampede of other people. I slid through the cracks and space where there was the absence of humanity. I could finally breathe. I was hugging the math textbook to my chest. Had that minute really happened? Everything was a blur as I slowly made my way to the classroom. It was empty even though gossipy girls were standing outside. They were waiting for the bell. The bell was the cue that they were no longer free. I sat down and felt my thoughts echoing out. I could feel the myelinated axon terminal slowing down considerably. I liked that jolt of energy that sped through my system.

“You look conflicted,” the girl sitting next to me stated in her dull, monotone voice. She always made little observations about my attitude and thoughts. She was almost always right too. I nodded curtly before staring off. I couldn’t forget the way his smile beamed at me. Had he seen me? Was there someone standing behind me? No matter, I tried to tell myself. But it did matter to me.

“Really conflicted,” the girl repeated as if I hadn’t heard the first time. She usually never talked to me twice in one class period. She turned her head and made eye contact for the first time ever. I blinked my eyes and I could feel the lysozyme being spread evenly through tears. My eyes were protected from bacteria, but they weren’t protected from people like him. She turned her head away at the old chalkboard in the corner. I sighed and wondered if she would remark about that. She didn’t. The bell rang and suddenly a huge crowd of people appeared in a once empty classroom. It felt strange to be so surrounded by people I didn’t even know. It was odd how one could be at the same school five days a week with these people yet know absolutely nothing about them. Our teacher strode into the classroom two minutes late, like always.

“Hello class,” she said. She was wearing heels even though she was already almost six feet tall without them. It was funny how people never felt adequate with what they had. Only once you took that precious object or idea away did you realize how much you needed it. I had lived thirteen years without seeing that smile but now it was haunting every crevice of my brain.

“Are you okay?” The girl next to me did look alarmed. I looked down at my own hand. Betrayal. My hand was gripping the pencil so hard it was on the verge of breaking. I set it down next to my pencil case and tried to take a deep breath. I had never felt claustrophobic while being with these people before. Maybe my lungs refused to function. Maybe the pepsin in my stomach somehow hadn’t denatured even in the acidity of stomach acid. Was it successfully denaturing proteins? I stared at the window without answering her question.

“Bathroom,” I said out of context. I flung myself out of the classroom as soon as possible. My hand was clutching the hall pass as I ran to the bathroom. I tried to breathe. What was the problem? Did my blood sugar go down? Did the GPCR stop working? Was there something wrong with me? How could something like a smile make me feel like my world was turning upside down?

“Maya,” I croaked when I saw dark hair bobbing by the sinks. What were the odds of running into her here? She was wearing a bright pink shirt and the Converse that her brother had gotten her as a late birthday gift. She whipped her hair around until she was facing me. Her expression fell as she took one glance at me.

“Are you . . . are you okay?”

“I don’t know,” I simply responded. The uncertainty of it all was shocking. There was never anything that I didn’t understand about my body. I understood stomachaches and head aches. I knew when to stop thinking and when to start thinking again. “I can’t breathe. I can’t stay still. I can’t do anything, Maya.”

“Calm down,” she said for maybe the first time ever. She was reapplying mascara. “Do you feel something thrashing in your stomach?”


“Are you hands sort of clammy?”

“Yes,” my voice was a tiny bit louder.

“Do you feel slightly lightheaded?” Maya always wanted to be a doctor. She was always studying and I finally looked up admirably at her.

“Yes,” I finally responded. She’d tell me I had some sort of flu. It would be the new bug going around that the company hadn’t predicted. I would be the first of anybody to catch it. I’d be in interviews and then I shuddered. I hated talking. I hated being the center of attention. A glum sense of reality smoothed over. It was probably just the common cold.

“You’re in love, silly,” she said with a smirk. “Looks like it finally happened to even you.” What was that supposed to mean?  

“What?” I felt that my eyes were possibly bulging out. Maya did a little hair flip as if she had accomplished something.  “How can you be in love with someone you don’t even know exists?”

“Mollie, breathe,” she said suddenly mirroring a yoga teacher. “It’s not that big of a deal. It happens to everyone at least once.” How could she stay so calm when there was something hijacking my brain and my emotions?  

“How can someone be so irrationally in love with something like a smile? That doesn’t add up. It doesn’t make sense.”

“It’s exactly as you said. Irrationality,” Maya said with a smile. “I have to go.” The mascara went back into the makeup pouch and Maya neatly tucked the pouch back into her backpack. She swung the backpack over the sloping shoulders. I watched that dark hair bob out until the door swung back to its original position. All things eventually returned to the original position. Phosphatase cut the phosphates of the kinase and stopped the signal transduction. Calcium was pumped back into the ER. Could feeling be pumped back somewhere? What happened when one was the owner of unwanted feelings? Where was the lysosome for feelings?

Irrationality. It was something that I couldn’t grasp. All irrationality meant was that I was just stupidly in love with someone who would never even know my name. 

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