Tag Archives: brain

Memories

She says she studied at Yale, but it’s so hard to believe her when I remember it so vividly.

I met Kodi just a few months back. She was sitting in a café with a copy of Lord of the Rings on her table – or was that me? I was wearing a bright purple sweater and I approached her and took the book of the table while I made a joke about never having heard about it. I’m not really sure if it was a joke. And I’m not really sure if it was me or her that said it.

“Tolkien, what a strange name.”

It’s confusing, this amalgam in my head. There’s somewhere a dent in the conversation.

“Yeah,” she said. “Don’t you know him?”

“Not really,” I said. “Is he new?”

I laughed and looked at her face and the tight purple sweater. Continue reading

Pheromones

It’s not that I’m ugly. People don’t turn around and gag when they see me. The problem is that they don’t smile either. And if there’s one thing every woman learns far too young it’s that everything is about looks. Only it isn’t.

I tried clubbing, house parties, online dating – hell, even book clubs. We exchanged glances, introductions, nice words – but no matter what I tried, it never went further than that. Men always seemed to run away from me. I thought it was my looks – make up, push up, perfect pants and a shirt or dress with a cleavage so deep that I thought my nipples might jump out – and yet, nothing.

I was online, searching for operations to fix all the flaws in my face and body. There was an ad on top of one of these websites, blinking fast in red and orange with large black text:

“Be attractive. No operations. No effort. Guaranteed effect.” Continue reading

She tried to convince me that she’s not a figment of my imagination and I played along.

The young pale man sat upright in his chair. When I entered the room Dalton only glanced at me for a moment. His eyes seemed to be focused on the corridor.

When the door shut his eyes flicked around the room. Finally his pupils honed in on me.

“She’s not here, right?”

“We are alone,” I said.

“Okay. Okay. Sometimes I’m just worried that she comes in. She likes open doors.”

“You are talking about your girlfriend?”

“No. Well, yes, in a way. I imagined her as my girlfriend when I was a teenager.”

“And you are now 21?”

“Yes.”

“And you still see your imagined girlfriend?”

Dalton nodded.

“She just didn’t want to leave.”

“You don’t mean that metaphorically? You are really talking about an imagined girlfriend?”

“Yes. Her name is Arielle. You know, like Arielle the mermaid because I had a crush on her.”

“So this girlfriend is imaginary but she is bound by walls and doors?”

“Not really,” Dalton said. “I mean, she didn’t use to but now she pretends that she is.” Continue reading

Tickling Skin

It started with the tickling. I was always careful to wrap my arms and legs in the blanket. It’s something that I’ve been doing more or less unconsciously since I was a child. I can’t sleep if my body is not wrapped like an egyptian mummy, with only the face free for breathing.

I noticed the tickling a while ago. There was nothing I could see or hear, there was no reason to assume it was anything more than a problem in my brain. My feet and lower legs were wrapped in the blanket and still they tickled, like a soft air blowing against the skin.

I mean, of course I roll around at night. I never wake up as perfectly wrapped as I fall asleep. But for some reason my feet always used to stay under the blanket. My arms or even back was sometimes exposed, but my feet always needed the warmth and comfort and maybe safety of the blanket.

And I didn’t use to wake up in the middle of the night, at least not for that; not for a twitching in my toes. It felt as if needles had poked me while I was asleep. Continue reading

White Noise

Static. White Noise. They say it’s good for you. Your brain can tune out all the distracting noises of the world and instead just focus on the one important thing of the moment.

I always enjoyed static, the mindless noise that suffocates all others. Most people try to make the world of cars and people disappear behind a veil of music but for me white noise was always more efficient. Turn it on and, after the few moments that your mind takes to adjust, everything unimportant fades into the distance. Without the constant disturbances your head feels light and clear and your thoughts can flow freely. Music never did that for me.

A few times friends asked me whether it was damaging my hearing to listen to white noise all day. Of course, they were exaggerating. I only had my ears filled with static whenever I was alone or wanted to be and feel alone. Static was my escape from the world.

Still, their doubts were justified. My doctor said it was okay as long as I gave my brain a break every few hours. Without a break the brain might adjust to the background noise; it might get addicted to the background noise.

I followed his advice and made sure that I unplugged my headphones at least every few hours. They felt so much like part of my body that I sometimes forgot to pull the cables out of my ears, but usually I did. I think I never silenced the world with white noise for more than four or five hours at a time.

At least not until my seizure. Continue reading

The Inside of Her Skull

When they found the tumor in Ellie’s brain I pretended to be strong. I was her shoulder. But the truth is that the only thing that kept me from crying was the wet spot that her tears slowly formed on my shirt.

It took her long to fall asleep that night. When I was finally sure that Ellie was dreaming of a better world I went to the bathroom, locked the door behind me, sank on the cold white shower floor and sobbed like a four year old that lost his favorite toy and his mother on the same day.

Her small twitches made us make the appointment with the neurologist. He sent us straight to the hospital for a scan. At the bottom of his hand-written transfer note was the word “urgent,” the only word in capital letters. Continue reading