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Thursday, September 11


I dreamt about it. Vividly and continuously, I dreamt about it. It is as if my brain is telling me that thinking about it every second of every day is not enough. That being preoccupied with it at home, in class, at work, is not enough. That crying suddenly and silently at various points of the day is not enough. "Kim is dead, Kim is dead, Kim is dead," it reminds me, over and over again.

It is a sick joke. My brain is rebelling against me in a way that I have never experienced before. Refusing to let me do what I do best. Forget. Pretend. Ignore the situation until it fades from the edges of my mind, until the grief evaporates from the hollow of my chest and it becomes manageable to think about. I tell it "Forget." It tells me "Kim is dead." I tell it "Forget." It tells me "Kim is dead." 

Kim is dead.

I have become some sort of schizophrenic. My roommate will tell me about her problems. I will try to listen and be symphatic; but my brain, my stubborn and jerk of a brain will say, "Who cares about how long she waited for the bus? Kim is dead." I will try to be understanding and to empathize, and my brain will tell me, "Kim is dead."

It wasn't always like this. It never has been like this. I don't want you to see me as the type of person who can't control her brain, who let's it do what it wants and spoils it with loose reins. No. I'm not that type of person. I had it all under control. Or at least I did until Saturday morning.

The night I found out about Kim, the day I drove two hours to go to her funeral, those were days that my brain and I agreed. "Kim is not dead," my brain would tell me. I would nod my head, happy to have someone on my side. If anything defied me then, it was my eyes, blurring the road and leaking down my cheeks. "What if I were the type of girl who wore makeup?" I asked them, frustrated. "You have to stop." They didn't respond. At the funeral, everything changed.

I walked in, barely in time, and took a seat in a row with a clear view of the casket I pretended wasn't there. I looked at the arched ceiling, thinking of how the light hit the curves and made it look golden. I looked at the giant projector screen at the front of the room, where there was a picture of Kim and her brother at graduation. I smiled, thinking about that day and how happy we all had been. I looked at the carpet, which muted the sounds of the impossibly packed room around me, my shoes, their scuff marks nearly invisible in the dim lighting, and all the people I knew, just long enough to recognize them as who they were, but not long enough to recognize the tears in their eyes, the tissues in their hands, the shaking of their lips. And my brain cooperated with me. "I don't know why I am here, but it is not because Kim is dead."

There were speeches, there was scripture read, there were tears shed. My eyes, glad to have some company, joined in. My brain was firm. Constant. On my side. And then, the inevitable happened. Rows of pews were excused to walk by the open casket, the array of flowers nearly blocking the petite girl within. But I saw her. Only for a second before I averted my eyes, but I saw her. And then, I heard it for the first time. "Kim is dead."

Out the door, down the street, into my car, two hours back home. "Kim is dead, Kim is dead, Kim is dead." There was no music loud enough, no thought distracting enough. The sentence filled my car, filled my eyes, filled the space within my ribcage. It filled my arms, my legs, my stomach, even the space between my fingers as my hands were splayed across the steering wheel. And it fills me now. This sentence is all I hear all day long. It does not stop. It does not change. I will go to sleep and Kim is dead. I will wake up and Kim is dead. I will type this up, print it out, read it to you and Kim will still be dead.

So forgive me if this is not the criteria for the assignment. I tried to write about 9/11. I tried think about myself that day. But all my brain thought and all I could type is: Kim is dead.

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