Big Empty

Lauren Lubas

 

My mailbox and I are not on good terms. I’ve told her time and again that I am no longer interested in bills and letters of rejection. And what does she do every time we’re in an argument? Well, she points her finger at the mailman, as if the fault lies on his hands. I discussed the situation with the mailman; it’s gotten to the point where I have even threatened to call the post office with a complaint. He laughs at me. Every time I walk into my door, the mailbox and I have a stare-down. She always wins. I am weak.

 

I haven’t had in my possession, a twenty dollar bill in about six months. The last time I held a hundred dollar bill was when I moved to Normal, and opened my bank account. Mankato is not interested in me. I don’t know if I have the heart to apply next year, for any school. My mother read the rejection letter to me over the phone…I heard her heart break just a second before mine did. With three more rejections pending, I dread even the briefest of interactions with the mailbox.

 

I do everything in my power to never fall in love. If you don’t give your heart, it cannot break. I hate this metaphor. As though the heart is made of glass. As though we are doomed to shatter. As though we must take time to repair. As though we are this cold, lifeless, beautiful thing. Even as a cynical daughter, I must say, I have dreams. While the majority of my brain says that they will never come true, my heart begs for acceptance.

 

" I told you not to follow your heart; it doesn't even have a brain! What the fuck are you doing trying to make something out of nothing...that sounds like ‘emotion’ business to me...Let me tell ya' something kid, stick with me, and you can't go wrong.”

 

My brain has always had the most clear cut ways of telling me things. And it makes me wonder…Why can’t all of those slogans be a little more honest?

 

Never follow your heart.

 

Don’t dream big…as a matter of fact, don’t even fucking dream.

 

It could happen to you…but it probably won’t.

 

I only tell my mother when I’m scared. I try not to cry unless I know she’s there to give me a hug. I love her so much, because there are just so many things she doesn’t know.

 

My language is too pedestrian.

 

I don’t know the right people.

 

I don’t have the right letters.

 

I need to fill my fucking bucket and take the plunge.

 

This is a pain that a million razors can’t take away. These are the tears of the defeated woman, who works until her feet swell to the point that her toes no longer touch the ground.

 

I am the girl who knew better. Never wanted to go to college. Hated the social setting. Whispered “I love you” to every man who ever saw her naked. Who always tried not to dream, plan or persevere, because it was too painful to be in the same place three years later.

 

Not anymore.

 

I’ve had one-hundred-thousand thoughts of razorblades. More for the means rather than the end. The ignorants ask me about my scars—as if they have never been sixteen—as though they don’t know self-pity and self-loathing all at the same time.

 

She whispered to me today—the mailbox.

 

As a die hard Cub fan, the phrase: “There’s always next year” is more than not unheard of. It’s basically every other sentence. I don’t want there to be a next year. I don’t want to wait. I’m impatient. My heart can’t reapply. My brain hates me for wanting with such passion. My fingers don’t want to type anymore. And for the first time in nineteen years, I don’t want to write. I don’t want to scratch the paper. I don’t want to paint with the pen. I’m too scared that it will make me dream. I don’t want to dream anymore. I don’t want to read what I’ve written. I don’t want to care anymore.

 

The girl who never wanted to marry, came to college to find a husband. Slim pickens in the English department at NIU. Maybe I never knew how to follow my dreams. Maybe that’s what my problem is. I’m months away from no longer being immersed in the pool of possible suitors. I’m too close to the end of what I never wanted in the first place. And what do I want now? More fucking college. I beg for the acceptance of a place that doesn’t even know my name. And why doesn’t it know my name? Because I don’t know the right people. And those right people would have told them my name and gave the colleges a wink and a handshake, and then the college would have known me and accepted me. I hate this. I hate the sunshine; I hate gradschools. I hate myself for dreaming. I hate dreams. I hate wanting something I’ll never have. I hate hating.

Euphemism Campus Box 5555 Illinois State University Normal, IL 61790