Soul Meets Body

January 2, 2013
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“I haven’t been happy in a long time.”
“Why do you say that, Camilla?”
“The list goes on,” I replied apathetically. “I feel like the pictures in front of me have become monochrome—no color. All is black and white. Everything is bleak. When I least expect it, a white burn materializes within my head and I cannot shake it off no matter how much pills I pop in or how much sleep I get. The burn is there when I awake, when I walk, when I’m sitting, during my conversations with you and everyone else around me.”
“Is something occurring at home that may be affecting you?”
I mused silently, calmly. I then respired. “Bills are everlasting you know. Domestic disputes are inevitable and there is always that incredibly aggravating neighbor that just refuses to mind their own business. I think my Dad is cheating on my Mom,” I confessed. It had been the first time I uttered my theory out loud. It had been the first time I ever mentioned it to a person.
“Camilla, why do you assume that?” Mrs. Townsend’s eyebrows narrowed in disappointment.
“It’s his body language, I guess. He never used to smile when someone called him until a couple of months ago. Now, he’s always working. Saturday nights when my Mom invades the living room to catch up on her shows I go upstairs to talk to him. Before I enter his room I stand by the door to hear him speak in a way I’m not accustomed to. He laughs. My Dad never laughs. I forget to knock and walk in to spot his quick reaction. He hides the phone as if it were a loaded revolver.”
Mrs. Townsend remained silent.
“I love my Dad. I love my Mom. I just don’t believe they love each other. I’m not mad. I simply wish my Dad would man up and stop keeping that woman a secret. My older sister is a class-A snob. I actually can’t stand her. Her very presence infuriates me. She’s ungrateful, spoiled, and ignorant to all the issues around her. However, sometimes when I watch her eat or pick out her outfit for school; maybe she pretends to act that way, because ignorance is bliss, right?”
It was the best feeling in the world; dropping all of my thoughts and emotions on the carpet. Fear of judgment prevented me from opening up to people. Humans are professionals in criticism. Mrs. Townsend was there to merely listen to me.
“Don’t you think you should speak to your parents about how you feel?”
“No,” I shook my head, “I learned that adults are almost as lost as we are. Half the time you don’t know what you’re doing and you’re constantly questioning whether you’re doing it right or not. That comforts me. It’s nice to know that adolescents and adults aren’t all that different from one another. You do not have all the answers. No one does.”
“So, your perception of the world and your family, are they the reason you are unhappy?”
“It’s everything. I understand very little—very little about a lot of things. I do not understand why people are the way they are and act the way they do. Why do circumstances fall in the most inconvenient of times? I’m seventeen, yet, I sometimes experience this profound exhaustion like I’ve been through all of this a thousand times and I want it to end.”
“I’m sure you’re not the only one that feels this way, Camilla.”
“Of course not,” I agreed. “There are seven billion of us. You know high school is right up there with hell? I loathe this place. I loathe the stereotypes and the categories we are put in based on our personalities and choice of attire. It’s ridiculous. My brother is on his first year of high school and he’s already miserable. He’s gay. He told me a few nights ago. I accept him, but he doesn’t. They pick on him here. I do nothing.”
“Why do you do nothing?”
“That’s a good question. I guess I’m scared,” I responded with a shrug.
The bell rang to indicate lunch had ended. I looked up at the round clock on Mrs. Townsend’s beige wall. This was my cue to return to class. I inhaled one last time before I arose from her comfortable couch. I picked up my backpack from the ground and hung it over my shoulder.
“I’m happy that you decided to come to talk to me, Camilla. May I ask why though? You are one of the students that I least expected to walk through that door.”
“Right,” I remembered what initiated this in the first place. I pulled out a quarter from my jeans’ front pocket. I walked over to her desk and set it on the countertop. Mrs. Townsend cocked her head in confusion. I smiled, “This morning I stole a quarter from my safety jar. I flipped it and it landed on tails.”
“And tails meant you’d come speak to me?”
I shook my head, “Tails meant I was done.”
Mrs. Townsend grimaced, “Done with what?”
I headed toward the door, before I stepped out into the sunlight I granted another smile, “Done with being unhappy.”
I made my way out of Mrs. Townsend’s office.

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