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my journey to insanity and back
the past 4 days (or what i remember, anyway. by the last night, everything was getting pretty fuzzy...)

wednesday night:
i work on the paper a little before i go to bed.

i wake up after about 4 hours of sleep and go to work. rashid is already there. he greets me with a cheery 'you're here! boy am i glad you didn't quit!' i am confused. he tells me that jane accidentally crossed out my name and wrote quit. she meant to do that to the new amit.

later, i'm up looking at the break list and jane sees me. she tells me, 'i'm sorry i put that you quit. you should have seen rashid though. i thought he was going to cry. and then he said that if you quit, he was quitting too, and he went to walk right out the door, in the middle of his shift. i had to chase him down just to explain the mix-up.'
i am amazed by this. do i mean that much to him?

chantaye and peter come in to go to the bank. i'm on register, and they call me and say hi and smile, and i am surprised by how happy this makes me. i thought the people here were so much better than the people there, and i don't care about that job at all; it's just a way to make money, but maybe i am growing attatched.

the schedule for next week is up. i am in dairy every day. so is molly. terrie is back from vacation. marie is out of school, and is working weekdays and weekends. this means i will get to see her more... matt is gone. he will be here for the first half of next week, and after that, they wrote 'goodbye' on the schedule. if matt leaves, i won't be able to get extra hours with the night crew any more... it's probably good for me, but i liked knowing that he would always let me complete my 8 hours...

i come home from work and sort of work on the paper. since i still haven't emailed jim, i won't see him tonight. i'm still supposed to go shopping with nikki and i'm still supposed to go with molly and buy a gamecube. when i reach the 4-page mark, i tell molly we can go get the gamecube, and i just won't play it until i'm done. we go, and i get a nice black gamecube, an extra controller, a memory card, and a game. when i get back home, i work on the paper some more. when i reach 8 pages, i check the requirements for the paper, and realize that i've not yet met half of them. to get all these requirements is going to take me way more than 8 pages... by the time i finish the paper, it's 6:30 in the morning and the paper is 23 pages long, not counting the transcription of the tapes. i go to bed.

i sleep 3 hours, wake up late and my class has already started. by the time i get there, i'm almost 45 minutes late. as i walk in the door, the teacher announces, 'i think that's about it. i'll let you guys go early today; it's a nice day.' everybody gets up. i hand her my paper and leave.

i come home and take a nap before my next class. it was supposed to be an hour nap. it lasts almost 2 hours, and when i wake up, i'm late for my next class. i go and we finally get back our midterms. my grade: 58%. the teacher tells me cheerfully, as he hands it back to me, 'you're an upper half student!' the class average is a 56%. with a curve, this will be a c. later, i will care. right now, i just want to sleep.

i come home and molly tells me she'll go in to work a half hour early tomorrow (when i work) so i can have a ride, and i won't have to rush to catch the bus.

i change for udf. usually, we have 3 people on friday nights, because friday nights are busy. today, it's just me and chantaye. i go crazy, trying to help her ring up all the people, make ice cream, and keep the cooler stocked. cases of natty light are flying off the shelves faster than i can put it out there. somebody wants soft serve ice cream. i've never made it before because usually, i don't work behind the counter. i figure it can't be that hard, so i dish some out. it comes out when i pull down the handle, but it sure doesn't look very pretty, like everybody else makes it, nice and lined up and swirly. this just looks like a tangled up snake, and it's leaning like it's about to topple off the cone. she asks for a bowl and i give her one and ask if she wants me to try again. she just laughs good-naturedly and tells me, 'it all tastes the same,' which i thought was pretty nice, considering that she waited in line for a half hour just to get this ugly ice cream cone in a bowl. i ring up a bunch more customers, and 5 minutes later, i go to make ice cream again, and i notice that there is a steady stream of ice cream coming out of the soft-serve machine. i follow the trail of ice cream down to the ledge on the machine, where there is a small pile of ice cream. then i follow a waterfall of ice cream down to the floor and see that there is a small mountain of ice cream on the floor. i start laughing, call chantaye, and point at the pile. she laughs and says something i can't understand. i just stare at the ice cream. the pile on the floor is nearly a foot high, and the diameter of the base of the pile is growing rapidly as the ice cream melts. i just laugh and stare. chantaye keeps saying something, and i still don't understand her. she come over and pulls the handle up and i realize that she was saying 'stop the machine.'
'oh! stop the machine!' i exclaim.
i don't have time to clean it up. it's too runny to scoop up and too solid to mop up. i take wads of paper towels and build a quick wall around the base of the mountain, and ring up some more customers. every time the ice cream seeps through the paper towels, i build another wall around the outside. i don't get to actually clean it up until ja'lysa shows up, and i'm supposed to go home. instead, i spend a half hour mopping it up, and then they beg me to do the cooler before i leave, because the two of them will have the same problem i had, with getting stuff done. i throw up the basics for about a half hour. it's not done, but i'm exhausted. i go home, shower, and make it to bed by 2 a.m.

i wake up after 4 hours of sleep to go back to udf. it is a mess and susan is back from her break. she wants everything cleaned and i am there with arelene, an old large lady who can't do that sort of stuff. i clean. i mop the entire store and sweep the rugs violently with a broom because the sweeper is broken. then i re-stock the cooler, which means climbing all around the backstock looking for cases of beer and lugging them into the cooler. after 7 hours of this physical labor, i go home and get changed. molly is locked in her room with aaron. i get nervous. molly's never done this to me before, but time and time again, alana and katie and nikki have said they would do stuff, when their boyfriends aren't around, but then the time comes for them to do it, and they don't want to leave their boyfriends. i send her an instant message and she doesn't answer. i run around and get ready for work in 15 minutes, skipping lunch (i didn't have time for breakfast either), and molly is still in her room. i don't want to risk being late to work, and now, i still have time to catch the bus. i leave her a message and go catch the bus.

when molly arrives at work, she ignores me for a while, and she's in a bad mood. it's probably my fault, but we don't talk about it.

marie is there and she touches me like always, and puts her arm around my shoulder and smiles and it's all normal. the scary man comes in and she makes him go through my line, and she bags for me just to ask him if he likes me. he says he likes me and asks her if she does, and she grins and says she loves me because i'm fun, and then she comes over and pokes me in the side. when he leaves, alyssa says she would be mad that marie made him go through my line. she says i should bite marie's cheek and i look at her funny. i guess (from what they say next) last night, marie bit some guy's cheek. she likes guys. not me. i'm too tired. i know it but i can't find the part of me that cares. later, this too will bother me.

rashid is there and something's wrong. i don't know what and i don't know how to ask, so i just don't.

molly gradually gets over it, and talks to me like normal again.

the busses don't come late tonight, so when i get off work, i sit in the break room for an hour, until molly gets off. by the time i get home, it's almost 1 a.m. i have to get all my laundry together because tomorrow molly is loading it into her car and i'm doing laundry while she's at work. by the time i get to bed, it's after 3 a.m. i have to work early the next morning, in dairy.

i sleep a little under 3 hours and go to work. evan is in dairy, but he says morgan will show me what to do. it involves more crates of milk and boxes of orange juice and i do it even though i think i'm about to collapse.

i've been working a few hours and i'm in the cooler, climbing around a wall of boxes of cheese, when jane comes in and tells me that they couldn't schedule as many cashiers for today as they needed because everybody needed today off. besides that, jp is sick and rashid's grandmother died, so neither of them will be in, and they might be needing my help up front.
rashid's grandmother died. that's why he was upset. am i insensitive? i will worry about this later too...

i spend the rest of my shift running back and forth between dairy and the front end. alyssa goes home sick. teena calls me up and begs me to stay and get some overtime. i tell her i have to do laundry and i can't. jane calls me up and volunteers to do my laundry. she says, 'i'm a mom. i do laundry all the time.'
she's serious, but there's something a little too weird about having my boss wash my underwear, so i say no thanks.
she begs me to stay, emphasizing the overtime part. in my mind, she's not begging me to help her or the store... she's begging me to let her pay me time and a half. i like money. i give in and agree to stay until 5. i can do my laundry later tonight.

i'm not supposed to be off dairy until 3, but around 1:30, they call me up front and i never go back to dairy. the lines are out to fucking egypt and back. it's busier than i've ever seen it. molly shows up and they put her on self-check, even though she's supposed to be in dairy. around 4, i take a quick look at all the registers, and i have to laugh. molly is on self-check and she's supposed to be in dairy. marie is on express and she's supposed to be in the office. sam is one behind me, and she's supposed to be in floral. and i'm supposed to be home. that's all of us. we have 0 cashiers right now.
sam and i bond. she knows i'm exhausted and she says amit or somebody should come out and help bag, or they should call murphy up front, or something. at first, it's funny. i look up at the lines, bending and twisting and curving to fit, reaching down the aisles, and i see all the impatient people, and it's so ridiculous that i laugh. at 5, amit calls me up and begs me to stay just a little longer, until we get the lines down. they have nobody else to put on register. he's so desperate that i agree. after a while, i'm too tired to even laugh at this situation. amit leaves and helen comes in. she takes over for marie becuase marie has to do the office. i work from 1:30 to 7 p.m. without a break in my line or a break to eat or drink or anything. when it finally turns 7, the lines are down a little, and marie asks if i want to leave. i do. she comes out to get my drawer and tells me to go sleep. i tell her i have to do laundry and she rubs my back and says go home. i'm too tired to be turned on. it just feels sort of comfortable and that's all.

i take molly's car and go to the laundry place. when my stuff is all in washers, i sit down. it's the first time in 12 hours that i've had a break. i put maxwell in my cd player, put on my headphones, and don't let myself fall asleep. things are weird. everything goes crazy on me. i feel like i'm not here, or everything else isn't here. this is a video game, and i'm not playing it, just watching. if i reached out to touch the window, my arm would go right through it. if i closed my hand around that fly in the air, it wouldn't be trapped. it would go through my palm and come out the other side, leaving both of us unscathed. a fire truck and two ambulances race by outside. their lights are flashing but maxwell is loud and i don't hear sirens, just you are me and we are you... people aren't dying. people don't die and people don't live and nothing is real. marie doesn't like me but marie doesn't exist. christine isn't coming back, but she's not real. nothing is wrong and nothing is right and nothing is. i am not bothered by the world and the world is not bothered by me because one of us isn't real. i think that maybe i should write down what i'm thinking and feeling right now, because i've never felt so peaceful in my entire life, but if i pick up the pen, it will slip through my hand. the curtains are lacy and i watch them and it's a picture of a column, in front of a house, i'm sure. but then i look again, and it's an eyeball. then it's a joker, from the deck of cards in my bookbag. every time i look, they're something new, and they're an amazing and beautiful illusion. everything is. the people smile and move their mouths, and maybe they're happy but maybe they're not. without words, i can't tell. all i hear is pushing to pull... the past and the present and the future all blur together in my mind, and for the first time, i am able to see it all without feelings. christine asks me, 'is it because you're gay,' and it doesn't hurt and i don't cringe. i just watch the me in my dreams, and i'm not attatched to her. she cringes and grabs the fence and i feel nothing. beep tells me that she likes the second cd better too. molly's not mad at me any more. the curtains are a postage stamp, i'm sure of it now. 'did you tell teena that you were a thug?' it's not funny this time through. it's nothing. i'm in the bus stop, pacing like a maniac. it's not upsetting. i will never get more than what i have from marie. it's not ok and it's not not ok. it just is, just like everything else. til comes up the sun who knows where it's from til the morning comes... til the lost is found... this is not my life. i dream of ghosts and angels. the world is gone and i'm not scared.

i drive home when the laundry is done, in the same daze. i can't go to sleep because i have molly's car and i have to go back and pick her up from work in an hour. the busses don't run. i hang over the edge of the couch, and this time, nothing is upside-down. i'm right side up and so is the world. they put carpet on the ceiling and the lights are on the floor and i am defying gravity, just by being here.

i don't know what i do for an hour. i think i shower. i must, because my hair is wet when the hour is up. i go pick up molly. i go inside and climb up and kneel on top of the low doorway and watch marie and art counting money. marie tells me i look different with my hair down, and says something about long toes and i look down and i'm pretty sure that those toes aren't mine anyway. i don't have toes, i think. she pinches my cheek and i don't feel it. i am not here. molly and i leave and marie says bye. molly drives. i watch the imaginary things out the imaginary window from my imaginary seat.

i don't remember anything beyond that. i don't remember getting out of the car. that's it.

i wake up at noon. molly tells me i was awake when we got home, and i ate when i got home. she says i brushed my teeth and put on my pajamas and went to bed just like always, but i really don't remember any of that. what i do remember is the laundry place and how surreal it all was... i feel again. i feel an overwhelming rush of emotions, to make up for everything i didn't feel before. i'm worried about how my parents will react to my grade and i'm upset that marie doesn't like me, but the second that sets in, i'm back to denying it. she might like me, some way, some how, if i work hard enough or do the right things or say the right things or act the right way. i just have to keep at it, and something will happen. and i'm guilty, because i should do or say something about rashid's grandmother, shouldn't i? he's my friend. i'm also guilty because i never answered jim about seeing the movie on thursday, and that was a long time ago. i'm scared, too, because i don't like that chunks of memory are missing. it was just yesterday... and it's not like eating or showering are important things, but shouldn't i remember doing them? what if i killed somebody in that time? when i was showering, did i know i was showering? and how come nothing was real? it wasn't scary at the time, though, is the scary part. i look back and i just can't imagine feeling like that, but at the same time, i remember it clearly, and i know that i did. it's scary, though. i either want to spend the rest of my life feeling like that, or i want to never feel like that again.