For a creative writing class with prompt: "Write as though you have a mental illness."
|I have an inoperable brain tumor. Or, at least, that’s what I told the cab driver who dropped me back off at the San Antonio airport. He patted my hand when I gave him the fare and offered to carry my bags to security. I gave him a weak smile, refused, and thanked him for his kindness. I disappeared into the airport, aware of his gaze following me.
At the security line, I accidentally brushed up against the older man in front of me. Profusely apologizing, I notice the book he’s reading and strike up a conversation. A generous use of flirtatious glances and delicate fidgeting guarantees I have the balding man’s attention. The longer I talk to him, the more I notice that his glance switches between my eyes and down my low cut blouse when he thinks I’m distracted.
A few hints that I’m suffering jet lag, and, after we pass through security, he offers to buy me a cup of coffee at the nearby Starbucks. I accept, and spend the next twenty minutes listening to him try and impress me before I abandon him on the excuse of having to use the restroom.
I stumble right in front of the terminal, and I don’t try to save myself. I go down hard on my knee and face, and I bite my lip on the way down so that the blood leaks out of my mouth. I’m immediately surrounded by everyone in the terminal and am carefully escorted to a nearby seat. I’m offered bottled water, and an older, matronly woman takes charge of me. She directs a Southwest employee to get me a wheelchair, and allows me to board the plane early.
On the flight to Dallas, an old man sits next to me. He tells me that he’s going to meet his grandchildren. I tell him that I’m going to meet my birth mother, who I was kidnapped from when I was a year old. I tell him all of my troubled past, and now of my hopes for the future. When the plane lands, we trade email addresses, and he begs me to keep in touch. He says he finds my strength an inspiration.
I’m not dying of a brain tumor. I didn’t really want a cup of coffee. I’m not clumsy, and I was never kidnapped.
I hate that people call my depression a cry for attention. There are better ways to get attention than self-destruction.