By Julianne Carew
PROMPT — Who am I today?
I know you think your life is over. It even looks like it’s over. You’re on the floor of a hotel room, covered in dried sweat and hotel shampoo you can’t quite get out of your hair. You feel stale. You’re tired of talking, of explaining yourself, because you’ve said the same things so many times that no one wants to hear them anymore. But at the same time, you feel like you can’t go on, can’t get up off of that peeling white linoleum floor unless you can get them to understand, and if you don’t somehow manage to put the right combination of words together in the right order, you’ll die.
But I’m here to tell you that you won’t die. They will never listen to you, although there will come a time when you stop trying. You will eventually get up off the hotel bathroom floor and put on your black jeans and kimono that make you feel like Janice Joplin and you will go to that family dinner and you will hate every minute of it, but you will be there, and that’s what they’ll remember.
You will struggle. You will move on, although it will take a while. And one day you will wake up from a reoccurring nightmare, a nightmare in which time itself has gone backwards and you are stuck in the dream-moment of the before, before all those bad choices, bad men, that bad, bad, bad sense of a self, and when you wake up to your real life you will be drenched in a different kind of a cold sweat, not because you are dreading the pain, the same pain that put you on that hotel bathroom floor, but because it has occurred to you sometime in between sleeping and waking that you would never be able to make all the wrong decisions in the right order in exactly the same way ever again, and if you didn’t, then how else would you get to the place you are now?
Julianne Carew is managing editor for The East Jasmine Review as well as a Pushcart Prize-nominated author who focuses on creative nonfiction. Currently, she is pursuing an MFA at Bennington College. She lives in the Los Angeles area, but travels all over the world collecting stories. Her work is featured or forthcoming in Anti-Heroin Chic, Riggwelter, and in numerous anthologies.