Whoever it is, it’s not me
Sometimes, it’s Autism.
The girl behind the counter slides me my tray, the delicious scent of my burger and fries invading my senses. “Enjoy your meal.”
“Thanks, you too.”
Oh, God. I screw my eyes shut. I’ll think back on this moment for years to come, and the embarrassment will come flooding back.
I get the dreaded call, which I never understood. Why call those who don’t get the job? Just let me slink away into the darkness; no need to shout, “You’re slinking into the darkness” as I go. I’m fully aware already.
“I’m sorry to say you didn’t get the job. They felt you were a little distant. They couldn’t sense your excitement.”
So I curse my inability to make eye contact like a normal person, I curse my apathy that covers my empathy, and I curse some more for good measure because I like threes. And fives and any number that creates a natural middle point. If I text someone three emoji hearts, the middle one can be another color and voilá, you have a nice pattern.
Sometimes, it’s Him.
I fall to my knees and bow my head.
He plucks thoughts straight from my mind, molds them after his desires, and shoves them back in. A look, a smirk, a kiss, a tasty little slice of logic, a word that triggers, a touch, and then I’m spinning and spiraling with his sadistic mindplay.
“It’s okay, I’ll catch you afterward.”
I fall, tremble, and trip, out of control.
Sometimes, it’s Characters.
I could bang my head against a wall. I want them to go there, and they insist on going in the opposite direction. I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready; just obey me, you imaginary people, and they refuse. They go their own way. I write them as they wish, as they set the pace for them, never me. Never me.
“How’s the book coming along?” he asks, and I tell him to go away. Go away, go away, go away. I’m arguing, you see. I’m the one fighting with fictional characters because their minds are stronger than my own.
“I can’t argue logic, okay?” I snap. So I obey characters.
Clutching my head, fingers digging into my hair, I rock back and forth and try to summon the right voice. I need him to speak, but the noise from another heroine is louder. Write me, she demands, and I don’t have time. I’m sorry, but I need that guy behind you; please un-gag him. I need to write him.
“Will you make the deadline?” my editor wonders.