Confused.. by Mushy-Pea
Perry held up the small moleskine journal parallel to her face, squinting at the plain black cover.
She’d never liked writing–school probably killed that in her long ago when she was forced to pound out embellishments and bullshit for essays and reports. The only thing she enjoyed using writing utensils for was the occasional doodle in margins.
Her therapist Dr. Lanaro had insisted, however. “A diary is a simple thing to keep. Just sit down and write, at least once a day. Even draw if you’d like. But getting your thoughts down on paper might help you make sense of them.”
“But what if nothing happens? I won’t have anything to write about,” Perry had asked, staring despondently at the little wordless book in her therapist’s hands.
“You’re not trying to write the next bestseller, Perry. It could certainly become that, if you wanted to publish some of it as a memoir. But this is simply a means to get you to speak, and share. It may not be verbal, and it may not be seen by anyone else, but sometimes just writing things down can help to keep your thoughts in order.
“It doesn’t even have to make sense,” Dr. Lanaro continued, holding the journal out to Perry until she had taken it into her own hands. Lanaro smiled kindly. “So long as it’s honest.”
Perry flipped through the pages, staring at the blank yellowish-white as if it were an abyss. There weren’t even lines to write on–for some reason that bothered her.
Lowering the book from eye level, Perry sought out a ruler and ballpoint and spent the rest of the evening at her dorm desk filling in the pages with line after line. Maybe this would motivate her to write a bit more–after all the work she was going through to make lines, she may as well fill the pages with words. Once the lines were in she went back and numbered all the pages, as well. Maybe she’d want to go back and remember something. It would be easier this way to organize things.
She was halfway through numbering when her dorm-mate Tillie returned to their room, saying nothing as she yawned and stretched. She made her way into the bathroom, most likely getting ready for bed Perry reasoned as she glanced at the clock on her desk. 12:47 a.m., sheesh.
As Perry finished up numbering the pages, Tillie reentered and flopped on her bed, holding her phone above her face as she waited for Perry to finish her task and turn off the light.
As Perry flipped the switch and settled into her own bed, Tillie gave her customary “Night P” before settling under her own comforter.
Perry hummed dully in response, as was usual. But thinking on what Dr. Lanaro had told her about sharing and speaking, Perry cleared her throat and whispered, “Goodnight Tillie.”
As Perry rolled away to face the wall, she heard Tillie shift under her blanket, probably turning to stare at her.
Perry scarcely talked to her dorm-mate. Occasional grunts and hums made up the majority of her repertoire of conversation. At first Tillie had tried to get Perry to talk more, but she soon realized that Perry was distant and resistant. Now it was mainly a one-sided exchange of pleasantries. Her sudden ‘goodnight’ probably shocked Tillie more than anything.
Perry woke up to a bleak Wednesday morning, not at all eager to pull herself from bed. Tillie was already gone–she woke up early for a run before she went to her first class. Once Perry had finished cleaning up and getting ready for the day, she sat at her desk for a bit as she munched on a granola bar. She didn’t have class for another half an hour, and it only took her about ten minutes to walk there from the dorm.
Glancing down, she stared at the journal for a while until she polished off her bar. Did she have anything to write yet? Not really, but she supposed she’d try before leaving.
October 5th, 2016 – 7:32 A.M. – Dorm Room
Went to therapy yesterday. Lanaro suggested I write in this thing to help “speak and share.” Spent most of the evening filling in lines and numbers. Nothing interesting happened.
Perry stopped and promptly began to draw a little bird in the top right corner of the page. Once done she added a little speech bubble to it. “This is gonna be lame!” She could practically hear the bird chirping the words in a high pitched squawk. She giggled to herself.
Why a bird? Why was the bird already so pessimistic? Perry snorted and shrugged her shoulders. Lanaro did say it didn’t need to make sense…
As Perry thought about last night again, she returned to where her words left off on the page and added some more.
I did tell Tillie goodnight. It’s the first thing I’ve said to her in a while. Since
Perry had to think–when was the last time she’d really talked to Tillie?
Since about a couple weeks after moving in here together. Damn. I don’t like talking to people, but that’s kind of cold, even for me.
I’ll definitely try talking to Tillie more. She was really nice to me when we met, and even understood that I was super awkward around people. Hopefully I didn’t burn that bridge. I think I really want to be friends with her. Being alone isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, now that I’ve done it for so long.
Huh. Day one, and already I’ve resolved to change things. Maybe this wad of dead tree isn’t so bad after all.
Perry’s phone dinged, reminding her that class was starting soon. Carefully closing the cover to her journal, she grabbed her bag and left the room.
Writing things down seemed silly to Perry–she didn’t need a physical reminder of the goings on in her life. But now, she could already feel good vibes working through her fingertips after being honest with herself. It didn’t seem possible that writing could make her feel so… light. But the feeling stayed with her, and she couldn’t wait to refuel it later.