Author’s Bio: Ashley is a recent graduate from Rocklin High School and will be attending Oregon State University this Fall.
Being a levelheaded student applying to a dozen schools, I knew there were inevitable rejections that would be sent my way. In February, after lots of mental pep talks and indulging in too many hot baths to count, I felt prepared for the impending march of college responses. But my “c’est-la-vie” attitude didn’t quite factor in the hit my ego would take—and after the third rejection in just under 24 hours, even the toughest person’s ego feels the size of an anthill. So here’s my shrinking ego put into words:
The trees drip from golden axes and flicker to glass. I tap, and the world shatters.
Sometimes I feel a little mad, wildly mad, like in the way wind whispers through my hair and fingers and teeth.
Once, I walked into the black and everything burned. My soul was cleansed out by my fingertips and cold plastic. And then I gave it away, my soul, but it was shipped back to me through a glistening screen. I scream.
Madness is only befitting as the world is wise. It doesn’t have to make sense. That’s the way words work. They twist and slither to the ground, wrapping around our ankles like tweed. Or dandelions.
I am black and white, a being existing in cursors and ink. I exist through glass lens and die when I close my eyes. And I think death lurks beneath my lids, charming shapes to distort the black. Like God.
The birds scream outside the window, but I can’t hear them. They are silent as they crawl through the trees. Dripping trees, gooey and soft and lost. I watch them wake up (the birds or the trees, I’m not yet sure – but something is creaking open groggy sticky eyes and I pray to God it’s the birds because when the trees wake, oh, we all burn).
Oh, I am mad, mad, mad. A bleating ram, a crying gull. A girl enveloped in a dress that’s thicker than blood. A withering mess, a sinking star. And as I watch the trees drip golden, I wonder if I’ll ever learn to be golden too. (And shatter, too, like the trees, because doesn’t that always happen when we turn to glass?)