Being Jane Doe

Her sharpened HB ran blunt across the page, each ruled page of the notebook bore support to the sentences that sat neatly –bar a few smudges- above them; each word comforting its neighbour, jointly exhibiting a swelling anticipation of the next exclamation mark. The notepad itself was running fat with disjointed words, false hopes and twisted meanings. The sound of sirens outside the window lulled her out of her catatonic state of soliloquy. She noticed for the first time that morning how the curtains that gathered around her window plane were at risk of being neglected. Every fibre on the heavy corn yellow damask now turned a dusty shade of beige seemed to mock her current state of existence in the shabby -not chic- room pouring words on a page like a frantic automated machine.

The Book of Acts. The title came to her early in March, she had battled with sleep and her dreams had became even more convoluted. Her next therapy session didn’t exactly go the route she had hoped for, she was no closer to finding out what she needed and the hypnotist was eating into her already thin wallet. It came to her in a dream, amidst snatches of terror and the usual muffled fights in her sleep, it was suggested that she write things down. Scribble the sensible and silly, the pretty and the battered, everything that she ever allowed to pass through her over active brain was to be charted and then the chronicles examined in what could possibly be a cathartic exercise.

The task of casting demons has never been easy, a chore made more complicated in that these were her demons, creatures that had morphed life for her into perpetual muddle. Fresh on the heels of another quarrelsome night, she found herself at the beginning with a freshly used tissue in hand a white board marker, her hands insisting on saying what her lips would not pronounce. A box of tissues later and she moved on to the table, the wall and then to bed… to sleep. She woke up in a fit of delirium and began where she left of the night before, etching ever act of her recent dream onto what used to be an unpaid electricity bill, stopping only to go to pick up writing material.

That afternoon, she wrote until she could feel no more, and when her index finger hurt from the pressure of holding a pen against her thumb, she slipped the pen between the valley of her index finger and middle finger. Her words though jumbled where very certain. They expressed her every find, break, patch, and all other acts in-between. She hoped at the end of this, she would be able to follow the trails that her cerebral Hansel left behind and commit each transgression to a final burial of sorts. What she hadn’t anticipated was how exhausting this proverbial expunge might be. Not that she slept much anyway but now, her hours were far more filled with voices she had spent years trying to leave behind. Each one seeking to speak first. Sometimes speaking all at once, though never shouting, they were intrusive all the same. She tried to give up the task in the early days but soon realised that like the Eve, you cannot unbite an apple or unknow how naked you are.

Lately she’s taken to reading some of the words in her now fattened notebook at night. Admittedly one wouldn’t call this the most sensible of things to do but then besides this notebook, she doesn’t have much else in the way of company. The tv and radio long irritated her, each sitting in its own section in the room broken and looking at her like two disobedient children who have been sent to sit in opposite corners, reflecting on their actions. Of course she knows these inanimate objects that no longer speak to her mean no harm, but she’d had shut them up anyway with the hammer she found in the laundry basket.

In one of those rare moments where she allowed herself to feel something other than resentment, she read the life that the other she lived in a chapter of The Book. Her eyelids swelled with tears she might cry. A thin film of optimism played before her eyes and she allowed herself to weep.