Among the Clutter

May 17, 2010
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There was once a bug in my bedroom. When it climbed up my wall to avoid the treacherous mouth of my abnormally large and violent cat, I couldn’t help but wonder what it was he saw, from way up there. Perhaps he learned a lot about me from my room, and kept a piece of my life with him before he quietly passed away the next day on my windowsill. Maybe he knew more about me than I do. I guess I’ll never know.

But there he was, gazing down from the ceiling. He stood above my bulletin board, which was plastered with a rainbow of swimming ribbons, boasting mediocre performances and times. Scattered in between were piano awards, science fair ribbons, and nametags from when I volunteered at the local Petsmart to help with dog adoptions. The bug must have thought I was pretty arrogant, displaying all my accomplishments for his viewing.

Around the corner was my dresser, sloppy and stuffed full of old t-shirts and sweatshirts and a million pairs of jeans. On top were necklaces and earrings, alongside my iPod and a pair of headphones. Makeup lay on the windowsill, promising to hide my imperfections. A framed certificate advertised my confirmation at church, signed in intricate calligraphy, while right next to it was a framed dried flower, accompanied by the meaning of my name: “Claire,” it read, “(Greek) – bright, sweet.”

“Bright…” the bug must have thought, as he turned his gaze to a series of shelves. Stacked on top were textbooks - College Physics, History Alive!, Psychology, Calculus. Underneath was a big blue book, blaring the letters SAT from its thick, unwelcoming spine. I wonder what the bug thought was inside this volume dedicated to a past tense verb. It lay among a mountain of papers, some decorated in complicated math equations, others essays with red ink blaring among the words. Postcard upon postcard upon letter upon poster announced the names of various universities, each ordering the bug: “Come here! We’re exactly what you what; exactly where you want to be.”

Sweat began to collect on the bug’s brow, so he looked away.

At some point he must have noticed what he missed amongst all the clutter, hiding inconspicuously underneath the loft bed. It was me, decked out in sweatpants from the JV volleyball team sophomore year and a free t-shirt given to me at the state science fair. My face was illuminated by the glow of my small lavender laptop as I hurriedly cranked out an essay due the next day, the time on my iHome glowing 12:43 PM. Minimized on my screen was my email account, chock full of messages from colleges, honor societies, family and friends, all asking something from me, demanding a slice of my valuable, expensive time. Facebook suspiciously crept up, hiding Microsoft Word, while the bug watched me check statuses and photo albums as the ticking clock marched on.

My life surrounded me in my room on that typical weekday night, advertising the accomplishments of my past, the stress of my present, and the oh-so-uncertainty of my future. The bug knew me, knew my reality. I bet he was disheartened to see a creature so much larger than himself, so much more capable, wasting away in a sea of notebooks and open backpacks, of calendars and awards and grades and desperate late-night calls for help on the Calculus and studying and studying and stress and studying and performances and evaluations and everyone needing you to be everywhere at once and no I can’t come in early to take the test tomorrow and to-do lists and stress and studying and deadlines and you don’t understand - I really need an A and collegecollegecollege, oh dear lord random relative please don’t ask me where I want to go to college and AP-SAT-BC-ACT and what if I don’t get in anywhere and studying and studying and listening to dad snore as you keep studyingstudyingstudyingstudying and oh hey, what do you want to do with your life?

Maybe it made him happy to be an insect.





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