April 20, 2008
Every day, I sit underneath the curtain of cherry blossom trees and watch as the quiet river unwinds, tracing a lazy blue ribbon through Japan. There are bamboo fountains, in the distance, and I let their echoes bounce off of my closed eyelids as I lie in the dirt.

It’s a beautiful place. There are other trees, too, and even though their beauty falters in comparison to the cherry blossoms, I can still appreciate the way their roots push up through the ground, curling towards the sky like little fingers.

I love it. Everything about being here, in my special sanctuary, soothes me. It’s a place of my own creation, and no one else can reach it. That’s what makes it so special. …The fact that it’s all mine.

Everything here is mine alone because everything here exists solely inside my own head. This is my imagination.

I might be crazy. That’s something I’ve always worried about. But eccentric is a better word, I think. Or…inventive, maybe. Creative. There’s a fine line between genius and insanity.

In any case, this fantasy of mine has always existed. When I was younger and the other little girls of my neighborhood would spend their time fussing over Barbie dolls, I would occupy myself by sitting underneath the table in the front hallway of my home, imagining myself by the river. Sometimes I could see myself swimming.

You might be asking yourself…just what exactly would drive someone into a false reality? I’d say that the answer lies with my two brothers.

Josh and Jared.

With every step that I take, they are five steps ahead of me. They are offered chances that I have always wanted, and they turn away from them without caring.

Since preschool, I’ve known that I wanted to be a lawyer. When Jared was in eleventh grade, he was offered a scholarship from Harvard law school. I was smiling, that day, when I saw him with the letter. Perhaps some part of me had been deluded into thinking that, if he accepted, he would slow down a few parts of his chaotic lifestyle in attempts to teach and mentor me. I was foolish enough, then, to believe that he would become a lawyer and would impart with me some of his knowledge.

Imagine my surprise and bitter disappointment when he ripped the envelope to shreds before my very eyes. He didn’t even bother to open it first, and that was the part that killed me.

I buried myself deeper into my fantasy world that day.

And then…then, there is Josh.

He is wrapped in fury. Anger surrounds him like a cloak, and he nurtures his own shadows and demons like they are pets to be coddled. His heart is like a black abyss, sucking everything from the outside world in, and it blocks out treasures from everyone else’s foreign reality, a place that doesn’t hold enough hatred for his taste.

Sometimes I look at him and wonder what happened to the boy that used to help me up when I came to him, stumbling and crying over skinned knees. He used to rake his fingers through my hair as he poured alcohol over my tiny cuts, and then he’d wrap them in gauze and send me on my way before warning my mother. Then, he was like my own personal nurse. Then, I thought he cared.

Now, I almost think that he’d be more likely to hurt me than to help me.

And they’re both prodigies. Josh and Jared. They graduated from highschool with top marks, leaving expectations for me to meet. Not a day goes by that I don’t have to endure the longing stares of teachers they’ve left impressions on.

They go to a university now, and they balance full-time jobs at the same time. I want to be proud of them, but I’m their little sister and some part of me will always hate them for being everything that I can’t.

Every three months, they come home to visit. Silence hangs thick in the air, like a blanket ready to smother the three of us. Sometimes, we embrace it and ignore the awkwardness. We sit and study eachother’s features for hours, memorizing the lines of eachother’s faces so we won’t forget.

Other times, I wonder how much farther I can dig myself into my fantasy before it will consume me entirely.

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