| Teen Diary Serial |

Metamorphosis: Chapter 8    

I feel weighed down. How can I get up and face the day if I might be mentally ill? Heeeeeelp!!!!



wake up, and it’s all sunshine and roses; nothing is bothering me. At least not for the first ten seconds. Then I remember what I was thinking yesterday and I am horrified. I am so normal, I do not have a mental illness! Or do I?! Help! What will my friends think of me?

I feel weighed down. How can I get up and face the day if I might be mentally ill? Heeeeeelp!!!!

I cannot handle this. I hide under my blanket.

Then I decide that since I’m fine now, it must’ve been a passing thing. I’ll go on and live my life as if nothing ever happened, ’cuz nothing really did.

I’m a little worried that it will come back. Scratch that — a lot worried. I decide to do my best to distract myself and not think about it. It doesn’t work so well. I feel like I’m walking around with a metal ball chained to my leg that won’t come off no matter how hard I pull it.

I’m holding a pile of text books (math, literature, and history), and thinking of the even pile of homework awaiting me at home, when I trip. Everything goes flying. I stand up, gather my stuff, and continue going. I’m halfway down the steps when I remember that the books all landed on someone’s bag and loose-leaf, which may have been damaged. I panic. If the loose-leaf binding cracked then it’s my responsibility to pay for a new one, but I don’t know if it did, and I don’t even know whose it is.

I retrace my steps. I know it was somewhere between lockers 210 and 215. They all have names on them so all I have to do is track down each girl and figure out whose loose-leaf that was.

I am somewhat calmer now as I head back down, but I won’t feel completely calm until I finish up this business. I wish I could figure it all out now and make sure I don’t owe anyone money.

It’s like a rock in my shoe, always there, making me feel so uncomfortable and tense. It’s there when I sit on the bus. It’s there when I eat supper. It’s there when I try to get started on my homework, but it’s so hard because I am so jittery.

What if I forget about tracking down this girl? Then I might have bad mazel my whole life. I just want to get this over with already.

I toss and turn half of the night because I’m so nervous about this. Finally, it’s the morning. I rush to get dressed and race to the bus stop ten minutes early. I cannot afford to miss the bus today.

We get to school and without waiting for Ahuva, and I walk briskly inside and head to the seniors’ classroom. I stand by the doorway, feeling very out of place and looking for those girls, when I see it. The silver-and-black loose-leaf from yesterday. The one that made me a wreck for a day. I run over and examine it. It seems perfectly fine. As I head out, I notice some girls eyeing me; I guess what I did seemed strange. But I don’t care, I’m finally  free of the suffocating burden of the last 12 hours.

The candles are glowing as I sit on the couch on Leil Shabbos, relaxing with a book. The little kids are playing calmly for a change and my mother and Dini are resting. It’s an idyllic picture. So why do I feel so unsettled? Then I remember what happened. It was the salad that I was eating. The knife I used fell on the floor and I forgot to rinse it off. I only remembered as I was eating my feta-cheese salad that there may have been fleishigs on the floor where the knife fell. If I cut my peppers with a knife that had residue of meat on it and then it mixed with cheese… I can’t even think about it. I must’ve eaten treif. I sit paralyzed on the couch. I can’t face this. I’m a good girl. How could I have stooped so low as to eat treif? How?!

The door swings open. My father and brothers walk in. “Good Shabbos, Perela,” my father greets me.

I force my lips to smile. “Good Shabbos.”

My father says an interesting devar Torah at the table, but all I can think about is that I’m a terrible person and I’m hopeless. The food tastes like dust. I don’t even laugh when my brother cracks a joke.

To be continued…


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 959)

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