Raspberry Jam

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
This work is about the reality of schizophrenia and the types of irrational thought it can produce. The final question is, does it matter if you're sane?

Submitted: March 24, 2017

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Submitted: March 24, 2017

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The sun was setting spreading raspberry jam all over the sky. “People have studied the sky since we had eyes to see but it’s only in recent years that it has made us think about scale, we only recently discovered how big and vast it is and it has been there the whole time. Now it reminds us of computer backgrounds as we are all cyborgs now” said Emily. “I like it”, I replied, “sunset is my favourite colour and rainbow is my second”.

We were walking along the streets of Dublin following the canal, it was a beautiful walk with the reeds and the swans and the ducks. But not without creamy foaming scum at the locks. “Where are we going Emily?” I asked. “We’re going to follow the intrinsic signs built into this world by architects who studied philosophy, it’s very subtle you know, if you really focus on your thoughts you can discern the influences. See that kerb? The way the top is slightly rounded? That’s to subconsciously tell you to walk alongside it not on top of it, it is a guide”. I stepped onto the kerb and spread my arms wide, “Tada”. She furrowed her brow then chastised me, “You’re broken. But I know how to fix you. You just need a few fragmented narratives injected into your brain to help you get back on the straight and narrow”.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story”, I reposted. There was a flyer for the circus with a great grinning clown face on it crumpled on the ground. I nuzzled it with my toe. Emily said “That clown is a product of the macabre. It is supposed to represent unbridled humour but subconsciously we associate clowns with death. This is due to their presence at children’s birthday parties. There is nothing more macabre than that. Death and birth and growth go hand in hand. That’s why we idly pick leaves off trees and tear them apart in our hands”. I let the dessimated leaf fall from my hand and wondered if for once she was making sense. “To the well organised mind, death is but the next great adventure”, I said.

We turned left when we hit a stone bridge arching over the canal leading to Donnybrook. We had walked quite far and it was well past time to be heading back. The sunlight was fading and there was a chill in the air. It was the end of summer and I was only wearing a light coat. Emily was wearing a leather jacket as per usual. Her sister had bought it for her before she died and she was rarely seen without it. There were holes under the armpits that she didn’t know I knew about.

The road wound around and we walked past a block of flats. Eighties flats. Brown brick and rectangular windows, a curtain shimmered but there was nothing there. People were passing us on the street not paying any notice to us. Busy people going home from work, people that worked in offices typing for a multitude of reasons. “Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy” I said. Emily replied, “bureaucracy is the most beautiful thing in the world. It gives meaning to our humdrum existence. Who would be proud of a bill if it weren’t required to prove your address? It is the culmination of thousands of years of evolution. That we can live in such a systematic world was decided long ago even by ancient Greece. We would all kill ourselves if we didn’t have ever growing checklists. Do you know how many things get left unfinished? That alone is a legacy for our children to continue. People look up their genealogies and discover that their ancestor was a mail man. Oh what a good job for the time, he must have been very proud. They infer these things to give their meagre existence some meaning even though all the post man thought day on day was oh number four have a new flower pot. Oh number six are getting several letters today. Oh I wonder when I can get my boots repaired at the cobblers.”

“I see”, I replied.

When she was really into a topic it was best to be vague. She would talk herself out after a while. She had opinions about many things. “I don’t think I would kill myself without a job. In fact I don’t have a job right now, and here I am”.

“But you have a routine and you get assessed and there is still a generation of paperwork. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t give your right arm to see your file?”, Emily replied.

“I’ll admit I have enjoyed being perceived to make progress. But being crazy isn’t enough.”

The road led us through Donnybrook past Kiely’s pub and past the rugby pitch encased in its big walls. We walked on like this for nearly an hour, chatting idly. Emily had only recently been given clearance to leave the hospital for day trips and she enjoyed walking and I was happy to oblige. She had been there far longer than I.

Eventually we reached St John of God’s hospital, asylum really. We made our way through the decorated grounds and the well-kept lawns and signed ourselves back into the ward in time for the evening meal. We were room-mates and my mood was much improved by my time here. I had attempted suicide and so all that was required by my treatment was to be convinced to keep on living. Emily’s problems were much subtler. She saw things that weren’t there and that is harder to convince someone of otherwise.

Dinner was an entirely unobjectionable affair. Between idle nibbles Emily confided in me, “I’m going to the moon tonight. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you before, I mean my body will still be here but I’ve been communing with it every night for the last while. Sending my ephemeral self to walk over the surface. It’s not easy but I do believe it’s something that psychics do. I know what you’re going to say: I’ll be lonely. But there are thousands of ephemeral souls up there. I can’t stand this place any longer. It’s too much. And they won’t let me out because I’m not making what they perceive as progress. If they would only listen to me they would discover that I’ve made huge progress. I can meditate for hours, I can eat any food without feeling guilt. Even this helpless chicken.”

I replied, “Are you sure? If you change your mind just come back down and we can go for ice cream. There’s a lot less guilt in that. After all, every man is guilty of all the good he did not do. I know we’re not men but it still applies. Think of what you could do if you stayed on Earth. You could get out of here and live a full life.”

Emily scoffed, “A full life? What do you think I’ll be doing on the moon? It will be full. To you it will wax and wane but to me it will always be full. Never mind, I thought you of all people would understand.”

Emily stayed awake just long enough to receive her nightly dose of medication. Then she went straight to sleep to enact her mighty plan. I sighed sadly when I watched her tiny body breathing deeply under her bed sheet.

The next morning she did not wake up.

 

 


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