Sorry for the late upload. Doing things in the last minute is not my signature, but here I am. Better late than never. Hope you enjoy the read.
“It’s actually the Milky Way,” said John.
Daniel could not stop thinking of his embarrassment that day.
“Are the stars in the constellation of Andromeda in our Milky Way galaxy or are they in the Andromeda galaxy?” the teacher interrupted Daniel’s daydreaming during Physics class. As much as he loved exact sciences, he could not care less about physics. Not to mention astronomy, which was all fairytales to him. So why bother listening in class at all? Daniel was not much of a public speaker or, as a matter of fact, speaker at all, so he picked the obvious choice to get the attention off himself. Much to his regret, this was the wrong answer and if only had he been paying attention, he would have known the teacher had just explained it. Now he had to listen to the evil giggles of his classmates and the smug voice of that know-all John.
The embarrassment, together with the one-hour basketball game after class, made Daniel desire an amount of food equal to that of his basketball. He was imagining the melting cheddar and his mouth filled with saliva while passing by his house from the front. The boy was just about to start the usual search for his keys when he noticed the usual décor of the front porch was missing – the corpses of death moths that made it impossible to step on without hearing the crunchy sound of their little bodies being smashed by human feet. He noted all that but did not think it through. If he had done so, he would have been puzzled, as his father never used to sweep, and this was why they never used the front door anymore.
A small bird hit Daniel’s forehead, as if to distract him of his thoughts, and flew away. He turned back in dismay to examine that weird bird that flies so low and was surprised to find out it was a giant moth. Probably it was hiding in a dark niche somewhere around, Daniel reasoned. The boy reached to grab the door knob, when was almost blown from his spot by a flock of moths that came from his back. The flock passed by Daniel fiercely and the door was instantly opened by the wind, generated by the quick flutter of their wings.
The backdoor of the house leads directly to the kitchen, revealing a marble plot with a sink in the middle and stove next to it. The flock of little night creatures surrounded a tall woman, who was standing by the stove and taking care of a pot with boiling macaroni and a pan of melting cheddar. She turned to Daniel, looked him right in the eyes, so that he could see the brown spot in her left eye that resembled an isosceles triangle, whose vertex matched the pupil and hypotenuse lied on the outline of the otherwise green iris.
“Lunch is almost ready. I made you your favorite” his mother said mildly and approached Daniel for a kiss on the cheek.
Before he could lean to her, a black Series 5 Double Cab Barbarian burst into the house and smashed her thin waist from her right side, making her look like a “less-than” sign.
Daniel woke up with a jump. Not that he was afraid of the dream - he was used to seeing his mother getting hit by a truck in his sleep. It was just surprisingly real this time. He had no idea this was the last dream about his mom he would ever have.
The moment of anxiety over the dream did not last long. Daniel’s mind was preoccupied with a major issue - he had to explain in front of the class a complicated problem from the extra homework in Geometry. He was mumbling and pointing with his fingers at the median of an imaginary triangle.
“Hey, Dannie,” his father had noticed he was getting anxious and tried to distract him. “Wanna go to Princeton this weekend? We can have a pizza.”
Daniel was not the talkative type and since his upcoming public speaking was way more important than pizza, he pretended he had not heard. His father knew about his son’s “selective hearing,” so he tried again, this time with a different offer.
“Hey, Dannie, I said do you wanna go to Princeton this weekend? They’ve some new additions in the Library’s “Mathematics” section - I checked their website.”
“I told you we have to check more often!” The rare joy in his son’s intonation made Daniel’s father smile.
Daniel’s school was a few blocks away from their house in Titusville, NJ. Daniel waited for the green light, not that this green light was of any protection to his mom when she crossed that same street and never came home again. After safely landing on the sidewalk, Daniel looked at his phone to see the time and make sure he was not late, but could not help noticing the date – March 1. Two weeks from that day, on March 15, only 14 years ago, exactly one month after Daniel was born, his mother had lost her life on that pedestrian crossing.
The classroom’s door opened and the teacher came in, followed by someone whom no one in class had seen before. The boy’s anxiety over the problem he was about to explain immediately disappeared, replaced by a new kind of anxiety – that of meeting a new person.
“This is Sarah. She’s new in school. It’s very important that you all are nice to her” the teacher emphasized on “very important.”
Sarah was a tiny creature with rosy, freckled cheeks, reddish hair and glasses so thick that her eyes looked as distant as a star at the end of a telescope. Daniel caught himself staring and decided to remove his curious eyes from the obviously disturbed girl, who had shrunk her comfort zone so much that she had basically wrapped it around herself.
“Told you it’s gonna be fun in Princeton” Daniel’s father was trying to outvoice Nirvana’s “Aneurysm” that was playing in the car. None of them really liked Nirvana, but since it was Daniel´s mother favorite band, they had a silent agreement not to change the car playlist.
Daniel did have a great day. Not only did he find some books he was looking for, but he got an extra one - a thin book on Paraphysics. Daniel decided it was high time he educated himself on that physics matter. He didn’t exactly know what Paraphysics was, he had just taken the book because it had physics in the title. The meaning of the other part – para – he was not about to find out, as the book was going to collect dust on his desk until he returned it.
When Daniel entered the classroom the next day, Sarah was sitting on the desk where he usually sat. Daniel took his spot next to her and heard a familiar sound. The class was about to begin, so she stopped the music and took her headphones off.
“You like Nirvana?” Daniel glimpsed at her, smiled shyly, then blushed and turned his head to avoid eye contact.
“Yeah, they’re my favorite.”
“I listen to them too sometimes. I’m Daniel.”
“Who did you hear them from? Your parents?”
“Nah, my parents don’t like them. I don’t remember actually. From myself.”
They both smiled at each other. Socializing was surprisingly easy this time. The usual awkwardness was lacking. It was as if they knew each other, only they had never met.
Daniel had never been as agitated to go to school as he was in the following day. He had prepared something for Sarah.
“This is for you” Daniel handed her a rolled poster. The girl looked at him with distrust.
“An old-school Nirvana poster my dad gave me. I figured you might like it.” Daniel started mumbling. He felt he was losing it.
“Nirvana? But I don’t even like Nirvana. I don’t even like music” Sarah said with obvious irritation.
The teacher entered the classroom and Daniel had to return to his seat. What the heck had just happened?
After the class was over, the teacher wanted to speak to Daniel in private.
“I saw you were talking to Sarah a couple of times. Is everything alright?” The teacher’s tension was apparent.
“Yes, she seems nice. Although she acts a bit strange today.”
“Daniel, I believe you should know something about Sarah, but you must not discuss it with the other students.”
“Um, okay. I won’t.”
“Sarah has a DID. Do you know what that is?”
“Maybe you’re too young to understand these things. Let me put it like this: Sarah has a mental disorder and you should be careful how you behave around her.”
By the time Daniel got home, he already had googled DID.
Dissociative identity disorder: characterized by the presence of two or more distinct identities that continually have power over a person's behavior.
At least he could be friends with one of her personalities; half friend was better than none, the boy was thinking.
Daniel had never needed anyone to acknowledge his achievements, but on that day something in his mind twinged.
“Hey, do you like basketball?” he asked Sarah upon finishing class.
“No. I mean yeah, I do. Why?”
“Um, I’ve a game next Friday, like, a week from now. If you don’t have anything to do on that day, maybe you can come.”
“Next Friday you say. Is that March 15?”
“Yeah, I think so.”
“Oh. Then I do have a little something on that day, but I’ll come.”
“But if it’s important…”
“No, no - it’s just my birthday.”
“Oh, you have a birthday on March 15?”
“Yeah, but I don’t care. I’m always sad on that day, I don’t know why. It’s been like this forever. Anyways, I’d love to come to your game” Sarah smiled at Daniel and left the classroom.
It was raining outside but the weather was not matching Daniel’s mood. Despite the rain, the boy was giving himself up to the game. Sarah had cuddled in her pink raincoat, holding a plastic food container, filled with something he could not see. He had never mentioned to her how fiercely hungry he was getting after playing.
Unlike the rain and Daniel’s euphoria, the game was over. He rushed through the greetings with his team to go see Sarah.
“I brought you something. I figured you might be hungry after the game” Sarah humbly handed him the food container.
“Thanks” Daniel took it without breaking eye contact.
Only it was not exactly eye contact, because her glasses were wet and he could not see her eyes. Daniel stretched his hands to take them off. He lifted the glasses that were like a barrier between them this whole time and looked her right in the beautiful green eyes. Beautiful green eyes with a brown spot in the left one that resembled an isosceles triangle, whose vertex matched the pupil and hypotenuse lied on the outline of the otherwise green iris. He had seen those eyes only in his dreams. The boy passed out.
Daniel woke up from the tickling of the grass. It was dark outside, which meant two or three hours must have passed. He looked around but there was nobody on the field. It was just him and the food container, filled with macaroni and cheese. He got up and ran home.
Daniel went to school on Monday, but she was not there. The teacher explained she and her family had left. He never saw her again. He never understood what had happened.
If Daniel had ever opened the book on Paraphysics that was standing on his desk, he would know that on page 63, there was the following passage:
Premature Metempsychosis: occurs when the soul leaves the body before it was meant to, most often in cases of sudden death, e.g. in murders, heart/brain attacks, accidents, etc. As the soul leaves the body at a fast pace, it does not have time to transit into another universe, and it inhabits a body from our universe. If it is a living body, it intervenes with its existing soul, which might result in schizophrenia or dissociative identity disorder in the person.