*But I don’t even know who that is…*
When I was in 4th grade my parents bought me a tiny video camera for my birthday. I used it to create my first film called The Lost Gem which my teacher Ms. Singalese screened in class and although it was very terrible she told me it was good and I believed her. I stayed inside every single day for recess and edited on iMovie instead of going outside and playing with my friends. I can understand how this could be misconstrued as work ethic but the reality is I just had terrible pollen allergies and didn’t want to go outside anyway.
I made another film and it was just as terrible but this time the terribleness was spread out over 45 minutes, so one could argue makes it even more terrible because it was more time spent enduring something terrible. But everybody told me they liked it, even though they were just being nice to me because I was a fourth grader who knew how use iMovie, I believed them.
When I was in 5th grade my parents lent me a magic teleporting device which I used to travel all over the world and make friends. I brought with me a notebook that I bought at a Scholastic book fair and I took careful notes of each and every one of my adventures. One time I was a secret agent tasked with locating and outsmarting a scientist looking to turn the whole world red with a laser gun. Another time I was stuck in a house on an icy frozen planet, on the run from a mysterious and horrifying creature.
When I was in 11th grade l I had a tragic freak accident in which I was struck by lightning seven consecutive times in the head and forgot who I was and all of my memories. I wandered through the streets of my hometown for hours until the person claiming to be my little sister found me and brought my back to the place claiming to be my bedroom. The worst part about getting struck by lightning seven consecutive times, besides not developing any superpowers, is that there’s this permanent ringing in the back of your heart- like it’s slowly and delicately being pulled out of your chest but you can only feel it if you sit very still and don’t breathe.
Over time my family was able to re-teach me how to talk, eat, sleep, and little facts about myself like my name and phone number. But I would look at the pictures hanging in my so-called room and deep down in my heart felt that it wasn’t me.
When I was in 13th grade I moved to Los Angeles to see what was up over there. I made lots of new friends who taught me so much about the world and about myself too. I was taking a shower when I caught a glimpse in the mirror of my reflection and noticed something odd. It was the boy from the photographs in my old so-called room. I was feeling more shocked than when those lightning bolts hit me that one time.
The boy in the photographs in the mirror told me that he had to give me something and that he loved me, and he handed me a notebook that he said he bought at a Scholastic book fair, whatever that is. I read that book cover to cover and was laughing and crying the entire time. He told me that everything in that book was a straight-up lie that added up to the truth.
Ever since then I’ve been trying my best to use what he taught me. Ever since then I’ve loved to talk to people and make different things out of different things. I still don’t know who I am, and when I sit very still and try not to breathe I still have that feeling in my heart and I suspect it’s here to stay.
The boy from the photograph from the mirror and I sometimes still get brunch and chat about life. We used to eat croissants but I recently became gluten intolerant so now I just order the eggs.