Not Today

She distinctly remembered the first time she’d first felt it, like a small animal that first stirred but later gaining strength forced to claw itself out of her. The day of her midterm exam, as soon as the Professor shut the door she knew there was no escape. It wasn’t new yet this time was different, her senses heightened and heart palpitated as fast as if she’d ran a marathon all the while sitting in her seat. It wasn’t just the exam she’d run off from that day, it was her fear. So what brought you here today? Her therapist asked as she sat with her father. “I don’t know” she said while trying to hide her inner self. It was an ordinary day when she decided to seek help.

“It feels foreign, being an immigrant in a new country. I had to learn it all again,” she said one day after weeks of talking about things that didn’t matter. The silence in the room began to weigh in on her. Say something! She reminded her self. What? What do I say? She responded to her own inner voice. It has became a habit of sorts, one that she became so accustomed to that even siting in a crowd never felt lonely.

“The last time I left the house on my own was…” She paused mid sentence. Looking down at the paper all she could see were the imperfections. The writing that looked like it’d been written by a toddler holding a pen with their feet. So how’s everything at home? “It’s fine, she said. I can’t sleep, I feel trapped and scared. She looked up and looked around, her thoughts scared her.

As the sound of rain disturbed the absolute silence, she sat in her bed thinking about tomorrow. It was a habit of hers, being a night owl that she was, to talk to herself as everyone slept. As she looked around in the room she shared with her family, the silhouette of three sleeping bodies became apparent. The curtain dividing the bed room from the living room was slightly moved from its place, hence allowing the light from the kitchen to softly peek into the room. She loved this time of the night when it was just her alone with her thoughts. Lately as the different sounds outside made it harder for her to focus, she found peace in knowing that soon night will fall.

“Tomorrow I have to go outside.” She reminded her self again with firm resolute. But it was the pleading sound in her head that deterred her resolve Please not now it’s too soon. How about two days later? But this time she was sure. “It has to happen tomorrow.” As the night passed her eyes became weary from tiredness. Determined not to fall asleep, she started staring at the ceiling. The glow in the dark stickers shaped in the form of stars weakly smiled at her. They were the reminder of those that had lived in this room before her. She remembered stepping her foot for the first time in this room that became her refuge in dark times. The owner before renting the apartment didn’t renovate it hence her family inherited all that came with it. The unhinged door, paint chipping off of the walls and these stickers. “Once I have my own place…” the thought immediately was counter rejected by a second thought, “may be not now a few years later.”

Walking out to the door, she recalled the number of times when she’d walked the same path. It was the same path through which she came in upon arriving in this country. It was also the same path that had seen her father’s drooping shoulders and her mother worried eyes. It had witnessed the hospital trips as well as impromptu visits to the mall. She thought to herself while approaching the door “Why does it feel so new now?” It never felt so foreign now as all of her senses heightened. She felt the cold breeze coming from the slightly open door of her apartment building. Her foot felt slightly uncomfortable in her shoes. “Is this the right fit?” The fear inside her was taking over, she tried to brush it off. “May be now is not the right time.” Her grip on the door handle loosened.