The World of Jane

September 9, 2008
By Ashton Huge, Lovettsville, VA

Her breath infested with the strong aroma of her morning’s triple shot black espresso, she began her daily routine. Mindlessly driving to work, all the cars and faces she passed are a blur. An annoying voice that seems to be spoken through the show hosts’ nose instead of his mouth, projecting through her car’s speakers informed the morning’s drivers of the latest accidents on the roads. Hoping to find something more interesting, she scans through the channels only to find light jazz and talk shows, two things she greatly despises. Her name is Jane.
All her life she had been teased for her name. She wondered why people would make fun of a simple name like Jane. For, throughout her life she knew kids with names like “Humphrey” and “Angus”—“Tulip” and “Apple.” But she was Jane. “Plain Jane”, “Fried-brain Jane”, “Jane the pain”—she liked that one best. In her younger years, these seemingly cruel nicknames upset her. As she grew older, however, she realized they suited her looks quite well. She has long, stick-straight, mousy brown hair that falls in pieces over her small dark eyes. Her skin, pasty and white, never looks quite correct with all the make up and bronzers girls are putting on theirs these days. Small silver rimmed glasses rest upon her long thin nose and magnifies her already swollen and baggy eyes. On a regular day, she wears her favorite light washed Levis; she has five of the same pair and accompanies them with a solid or long sleeved tee. On special occasions, like work, she trades her light washed for dark washed Levis, and wears a black tee shirt instead of a colorful one. Her face is constantly expressionless and despite her young age, everything on it droops as if some heavy weight is pulling on her skin. The whites of her eyes are crawling with red pulsing veins, blood shot, and pleading to rest. The simple non-expressive looks Jane possesses earned her most of her nicknames; “Jane the pain” however, was earned by her bitter, misanthropic, and hostile manner.
Jane’s world is different from those who surround her. As she walks in to work each day and observes her colleagues habitually drinking their coffee to get them started, and complaining about their sleeping habits and strange dreams; she prides herself in knowing that she is part of something unbeknownst to each and every one of them. None of her rapidly chatting, persistently theorizing, blazer and pencil skirt clad co-workers, are familiar with what she experiences on a day to day basis. For, Jane does not need coffee to start her morning because the distinction of morning, midday, and night are all a blur; just as the faces and cars she passes on her morning commute each day. Jane does not dream because Jane did not sleep. Jane is an insomniac.
She takes shots of espresso throughout the day to keep her awake and routinely pops narcotics at night to put her to sleep; however, neither caffeine nor narcotics do their intended job.
At the end of each work day as her co-workers leave the office and say “good night Jane, see you in the a.m”, she rolls her dreary eyes. She procrastinates as long as possible before heading home because her night is far from over. When she arrives at her empty house, she eats a bowl of white rice while unconsciously staring at her black and white television. After she is finished, she walks slowly up the stairs and showers. When her shower is over and she is dressed in comfortable clothes, she walks towards her bed every night around 11:30, stops and stares. Each night she debates whether she should actually lie down, because she knows she will not sleep. She knows that when she lies in bed she will not dream, she will not be awake nor will she be sleeping. She will be fully immersed in the unbounded depths of insomnia. Despite her fierce inner debate, she lies down in her white, perfectly square, queen sized bed. Then it begins.
Her mind transforms and she suddenly takes on super senses. Her house is brought to life. Dripping, the faucet in her bathroom four doors down the hall, sets a rhythm. Scratching, the mouse living in the kitchen floorboards downstairs adds to it. Squealing, the pipes in attic above her compose a harsh melody. Beating, her unsteady heart adds more to the beat and accompanies her sweating forehead and palms. The wooden steps begin to crack loudly as if a group were dancing on them to the song of the house. The wind that blows through the old windows screech like the drunken woman across the street. Her house is truly alive and is the sole thing that understands Jane and Jane can hear all of its music perfectly. For Jane’s world is alive, and full of detail foreign to all of those around her. Jane is not plain. Jane is not sane. She lives in a world of her own. Jane is not simply at all, Jane.

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