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The Middle

I’m stuck. Stuck in that most horrifying place; that barred chamber, shunned into an alien existence I never asked to be in. That dreaded, haunting space: the middle. Whenever I see those infomercials about the latest tool to soothe and balance, or hear someone talk about their desire to find “the middle way”, I know it’s all a farce. No matter how much we say we seek the middle, I know the truth. We like cold, hard facts. We like definite choices; we like sides. We like black and white, good and evil, bad guys and good guys. Winners and loser. Truths and lies. And whenever there isn’t a set boundary, we are lost. When we ask a question and get the maybe, sometimes, perhaps response, we don’t like it. We don’t like it because we don’t like not knowing, and that’s where I find myself. In the maybe-sometimes-perhaps middle.

I wasn’t always here, at least, I don’t think so. I wasn’t here when I didn’t know what was happening, when I didn’t know what it was. That blissful time when I could pretend everything was a perfect square, everything had an answer. But it doesn’t have an answer. It. It has a name, and it makes it less scary. I hate it. I hate the dummied down terms, the long talks with the big words that make our struggle, our mixed up lives, our middle seem a page out of a medical textbook. As a kid, I never really grasped what was wrong with my sister, except that she couldn’t play with me, or swim for too long or stay out too long. She was a middle, a something with no extremes, no mean, only a median, that horrifyingly foreign middle. I remember wishing she could walk me down to the school bus like the other big sister’s did, or teach me how to ride ponies and how to spell my name out loud so I could impress everyone on my first day of preschool. But it was always later, tomorrow, maybe next week, and my mother hushing me if I got too loud. I rarely saw my sister really, she was always an imagined specter, a something conjured up to tease me. I find it strange to look back and realize she was never really human to me, no, she was a something I couldn’t quite grasp. A middle. Yet now I am still sitting in that strange warped time, the same perfect hospitals, and even though they are said to be white, they are gray. Sure they’re clean and neat but inside the rooms lays black. The black of pain and the silent pleas of suffered confusion. Yes, a demon lives inside those rooms, but I never said it was evil. No, it’s a middle. And it holds the life of my sister.

And once more I go against orthodox preaching and factorials. We’re always told to wish people the best, but at the same time, we need a heart. She needs a heart. And all someone has to do is die. So I start to read obituaries and begin to think of others, surely a donor will arrive, the morbid gift wrapped in neat plastic. Yet one never comes. Of all the people who are sure to be dying every minute across the world, not one heart, not one body arrives. No miracle deaths for us. So now we sit. Sit in that little white room with the semi comfy chairs and read through tabloid articles that no one really cares about, the words floating by blankly like migrating birds, programmed for one journey, one straight shot into and back out. Wait to die, wait to live. Wait for order to enter and the swamped middle to drain away. But I know it will never happen, and every breath of bleach tinted air is a waste. A waste in the gray hollow I am stuck in. A waste in the middle.



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