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Jollyette Rogers I’ve always hoped never to be struck by lightning, for if it struck me once, it would strike me twice. As mundane as my life might otherwise be, I have the curious habit of coming across misfortunes like shoes; if I find one, its matching mate cannot be far. It took me more than half my life to become aware of this peculiarity. In the meantime, I have been hit by a car, twice, mugged, twice, falsely arrested, twice, left at the altar, twice, chicken pox even came twice. Q. A: Being conscious of this phenomenon has no effect over it whatsoever. Due to this enlightenment I have simply developed an “anxiety disorder”, or at least that’s what my shrink referred to it as that. He told me that it was all in my head, nodding in a manner I am convinced was supposed to be assuring, and I told him he was fired. I have the hospital bills, police record, and pity of wedding caterers to prove the reality of this, no matter how inexplicable it may be. Q. A: Yes, I know it sounds utterly mad, but I assure you I’m not some moonstruck loon fresh from the funny farm. Not like anyone ever believes me. I sometimes wonder what’s worse: the returning misfortunes, or the fact that I am so alone in them. Even if someone knew and really, honestly believed – but let’s face it, even you don’t really believe me, and don’t try to argue I know that look you’re giving me right now, the he’s-mad-butlet’s-keep-him-talking-look– Q.
Don’t deny it. You think I’m crazy, but that’s beside the point. Where was I?...”Even if someone knew,” right. Yeah, even if someone did, it wouldn’t result in any end to my misery. There would just be someone to sympathize. Q. A: Well yes, I get sympathy solely from whatever calamity happens to befall me, but they don’t really understand. The fear I feel, how could they get it? They sign my casts with crudely drawn smiley faces, help me pay my bail and account for my whereabouts, comfort me when I have too much wedding cake and nothing to do with it, but they don’t know the half of it. If I burn my hand one day, I am consumed by unrelenting anxiousness until I scald it again, and the second time is always worse. It’s like when I come across the first shoe, the first misfortune, I trip over it and come crashing to the floor, and the second sends me down a flight of stairs. Q. A: How could I have the slightest clue? I know why this happens to be as much as you know why you prefer one color or one food over another. It just happens. And what good would it do if I did know? I obviously can’t control it. At first I did wonder why. What did I do to deserve this? Then I realized I would just go mad if I kept asking. Some would say I’m thus defeated, but what is there to fight? Q. A: That’s what they always say. There is good, I do admit, but the good in my life is like a sock, that one sock at the bottom of the hamper that you’ve had for years, and you don’t know where you got it or why you did – it is an absolutely hideous sock, yet it’s so warm and supple so you can’t help but love it – and though you have looked everywhere in the
house, you have never been able to find its mate. Somewhere in this world there is another tasteless and unbecoming yet cozy sock, and you know you will never find it, but you hope. With everything that composes your very being down to each subatomic particle, you hope that you will find that other sock. That is the good in my life. Q. A: Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had many lovely times with my snug sock as singular and tacky as it may be, but that’s it. I only seem to be able to experience each delightful event in my life once, and then never again. If I try to recreate some joyous occurrence, it never lives to memory, and I wish it was just that I am holding my remembrances to some high standard that reality cannot attain. I recall joy the way it really was, and if I do something that brought it on before, it refuses to come back. All I can do is be nostalgic, and maybe hope I’ll come across something in the future to spark pleasure, but I only know I won’t be able to attain it the same way again. Well, I guess you could say I like to try knew things, right? Q. A: Does it seem like I’m an optimist to you? My life is governed by two states of mind: fear and nostalgia. There isn’t much room for looking on the bright side, now is there? Q. A: Why am I telling you all of this? Well, last week my heart failed, nearly died. Nearly being the word to focus on. My heart’s been fine until now, so that was shoe one. Another tasteless, gaudy shoe two sizes too big with clunky buckles and holes in the rubber is just waiting. I’ve come face to face with the floor and that nearly killed me, just
wait till I fall down the stairs. I don’t know when. I never know when, but I wouldn’t mind if it were today. Q. A: It’s raining, a thunderstorm in fact. I’m going to go stand on the roof of this building and hope I get struck by lightning. My heart’s still weak. It won’t survive the surge of electricity that will run through by body once lightning strikes. I just want to see if it will strike me twice before I die.