April 19, 2009
By Danielle Kowalski BRONZE, Pound Ridge, New York
Danielle Kowalski BRONZE, Pound Ridge, New York
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I was accepted into the program on March 17, 2014 when just three weeks before I marched into the interview room and planted myself on the chair facing the opposite end of the room, which happened to be in complete blackness. I had seen others coming out looking shaken up, their bodies sweating with either the anticipation of what was to come, or the relief of what just had ended. As soon as I sat, the overhead lights on my side of the room were snapped off, and the questions began. Through the dark I heard a voice break through the instantanious silence. "Why are you here?" They asked, and I knew to be frank with them.

"I want a new life."
"Why are you here?" They repeated.
"I need a new life."
"Why?" I had expected this question, of course. Quickly, I scanned my brain for all of the bad memories I had from my childhood. My psychotic mother, my parents divorce, the fighting, the screaming. Me bringing a razorblade to my skin just to drown the pain out. Me wanting to scream at every one around me just to get them to shut up. Me wanting to whisper to everyone around me, just so they'd believe that I loved them.

I repeated all of this into the darkness. "Why?" They repeated. I grew nervous. Just like the others I had seen walking out of the room, I started breaking out in an even sweat all over my body. I licked the saltyness of of my top lip and closed my eyes and scanned my brain for all of the bad memories I had from my short lived adulthood. Loneliness, a small apartment that made me so claustrophobic it was impossible to breath deeply. A dead end job, a mother that wouldn't look at me, a father that was never available to talk to anymore, a sister living in a world of drinking, and drugs, and having fun for one night when there was so much more in the world. Loneliness.

I repeated all of this into the darkness, and in return I was given silence. Was the interview over? The others seemed to be in the room for more than an hour, but then again in the darkness it was hard to tell time. The chair was starting to grow uncomfortable under me. I wondered if I stood up, if they would notice. Finally they asked me why I hated myself. "But I don't-"

"-no one comes here unless they hate themself." The voice grew sharper with the progression of this sentence, and I grew more and more afraid.
"Why can't hating one's life create the allusion they hate themselves. Maybe that is why I want a new life, so I can be happy with myself and not feel bad doing so."
"Tell me your most recent, happiest memory."
" Jumping into rain puddles-just a few weeks ago. Do you remember? The weatherman said it was going to be raining lightly for a couple of days, but in reality it rained so heavily for only a few hours. The puddles built up right outside of my apartment building. I looked outside of my window- I was wearing just shorts and a tank top- but I was drawn to the puddles. I was so bored, and unhappy, I wanted to be exhilirated! So I ran out in my shorts and tank top and splashed into the biggest puddle and soaked myself up to my neck. I just got over the cold I caught that day."

"You're finished." The lights on my side snapped back on, and I felt the whole thing was very abrupt.

"Are you sure there is nothing else?" I asked, but after waiting a couple of minutes I realized no one would respond so I stood up and shivered when the rush of air from opening the door met my moist body. The other people in the waiting room looked at me with the confidant face I walked in with and I watched as their smiles drooped a little when they took in the site of me.

And then, three weeks later my mother calls me. But I didn't know it at first. That morning I woke up in the morning sun with a lack of knowing who I was. The objects surrounding me were familar. For example I knew the space I was in was my apartment, and the granola with strawberries in it was the cereal I enjoyed most and craved when I woke up each morning. And I remembered the interview, but the vague details I had given the voice in the dark about the bad parts of my life didn't really tell me anything. So specific details like where I had grown up, and gone to school, and who I had loved and made love to, was all gone. But then the phone rang and when I asked who was calling a charming voice responded, "Oh, sweetie, it's your mother!" and I laughed because somehow I felt like this was the first time in a long time that I had spoken to the person called my mother. I felt like this conversation would hold the utmost importance, and even though I was confused I had to speak to her to regain my knowledge of my life. However, no matter how much I asked her about my past she never resonded with certainty and only spoke of the future, which in my opinion sounded wonderful. She invited me to see a play with her, and of course I could not remember ever seeing a play so I accepted with delight.

After our conversation I flipped on the TV and the weather report was on. The reporter said there would be rain, so much rain in the next few days and he said to wear our rainboots and raincoats everywhere because you never knew when the next rain storm could strike. And I did. I went to my closet where I knew I had these things and whenever I went outdoor switched out my highheels or flats I padded around my aparment in for my pair of black rainboots. And over my shirt I put my rainjacket. But even now three years later I still haven't seen any rain, though every week I turn on the TV and the weatherman says there will be rain, so much rain in the next few days. I see people walking next to me on the street in their rainboots and coats, and their hair is wet, like they just walked out of a downpour I somehow happened to miss. But then, standing on the streeet corner someone will turn to me and say, "God, when will it stop raining? I don't think I can get any wetter."

I look back to the interview and I wonder that if in change for a new life, they took away my happiest memory from my past most recent days. Lately, I have the biggest urge to run outside and hop in a puddle but there is never any rain. I feel thirsty all the time and take 5 baths a day just to try to have that feeling of moist on my skin again. I miss being happy jumping into puddles. I miss being happy for a second because that second was so great compared to all of the other s*** in my life from what I can tell. I guess if my mother was psychotic and my parents divorced and I was around screaming all the time, I would rather have that life with little moments of happiness, than this ordinary life that never seems to get any better or worse.

I miss jumping in puddles. I miss jumping in puddles. I miss hoppipolla, and I miss wanting a new life.

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