Virgin FictionPart of: Literati
by Tiffany Stone
Breakfast: Nutri Grain Muffin Bar-Banana
“We only begin to live when we conceive life as a tragedy.” W.B Yeats
Ironically, since Jessica was 7 years old, she believed this. Then she read it in an English class in 10th grade and was both relived and petrified. Sometimes Jessica would try to talk herself into believing that if she lived her life and behaved in a certain way, that she would find some kind of comfort and stability.
Barry, her therapist, had brought this up. He actually said, “Jess you can either sit back in stability and watch others take risks and learn. Or you can take risks too, choosing numerous paths and experiences. If you don’t take risks, you will never be a great writer. Great writing thrives on change, not stability.”
Jessica could not talk after Barry said that. Her plan for the day had been thwarted. Jessica had kicked off her shoes and had slept the rest of the session. Barry had caught up on some paperwork while humming, New York, New York.
Jessica was a little repulsed by his choice of songs to hum, but she felt guilty. This was a stupid pet peeve. Barry had lousy taste in music. Jessica noted to buy him good CD’s for Christmas or some random holiday. She could buy him some jazz and blues for Martin Luther King Junior’s birthday. Jessica hoped that he would take the gesture as a compliment. She closed her eyes and soon was dozing off into her favorite world of daydreams.
Jessica dreamed that she was on a cliff. Barry was at one end, and her mother was at the other. Barry was trying to push her over the cliff.
“Trust me the ocean will take care of you. Have faith.”
Her mother was pulling her arm frantically.
“You don’t know what’s down there. Don’t be stupid. Listen to me. I am your mother.”
Then a huge wave had come up and knocked them all over. Jessica struggled in the water, but it was no use. She was going to drown.
Jessica opened her eyes. Dr. Barry was tapping her arm.
“Jess, my next patient will be here any second.”
But she wanted to discuss her dream now. Now Jessica would have to write it in her journal and embellish, so it would be more significant. She would have to rehearse. If Jessica told Barry now, it would be authentic and frantic. Next week it would lose something. She had forced herself to maintain her composure. Jessica didn’t want Barry thinking she was a narcissist. She kissed Barry quickly on the lips, like she always did. He grabbed her shoulder making a mark in the cashmere.
“You know you have to stop doing that.”
Jessica flashed a smile. “But I want an exciting life. A wave of the hand would be too ordinary.”
Before Barry could retort she started walking to the door with long strides. Her motivation was that she was late for the best sex of her life. Jessica heard Barry sigh as she was closing the door. Jessica smiled to herself. His next patient was an older man. Barry would have her on his mind. Jessica gingerly touched her sweater and felt the indentation that his hand had made.
The rest of her week was going to be successful, she noted with confidence. Barry was her weekly barometer. Jessica always saw him on Mondays so she could judge her week. She kept this to herself. Jessica didn’t want for Barry to feel responsible for her mental health. Barry would think he had too much control if he knew this information.
Jessica walked to her car swinging her small cat purse. Small dangly purses were important. That could be an article for Allure. Jessica quickly calculated how much she could make. It would be insignificant in the scheme of things. She would have to use a different name. Sybil Oliver. Jessica couldn’t remember where it was from.
Barry thought that Sybil was one of her best friends. Maybe she had made her up as an improv act in Barry’s office. One never knew. Jessica applied cherry lip-gloss in her car. Then she licked her lips and reapplied it. Jessica glanced in her rearview mirror and realized that a black Explorer was waiting for the spot. The guy licked his lips and made a lewd motion. She flipped him the finger. You wish asshole.
One ex-boyfriend had called Jessica vain when they were breaking up. He was trying to break her by pointing out character flaws. However, everything he said was untrue or half-truths. True she could not stop looking at herself if she were facing a mirror in a restaurant or waiting room. However, it was because she was distracted.
It was creepy, seeing yourself reflected, while in conversation or waiting for some doctor. Jessica would study her eyes or hair and question why she decided to wear a certain shade of lipstick or a purple shirt. Animals can’t stand seeing their reflections.
Jessica’s eyes flicked to her rearview mirror. Her shoulders relaxed as she noted that no one was behind her. If Jessica thought about driving too much, she felt like she would have an anxiety attack. It seemed unnatural like sex.
Thinking about a penis inside of her, going in and out and feeling good, creeped her out sometimes. Jessica didn’t like it when life was like a video game. Surrealism was overrated.
P.S. I'm very flattered that some people think this excerpt of a larger piece I wrote is non-fiction. That's the highest compliment I could receive.