Inside Out

by Charla Minch

Oftentimes the sun would be long past the horizon before Maya noticed the changing light and cooling air. She would look up, startled, as if someone had passed by, tapping her on the shoulder.

In actuality, her mind and her body had been taking in data and processing it behind the scenes all the while. But she only noticed the night coming on when she saw the osprey fly up high silhouetted against the gloaming and a heron glide, squawking like an old man, up the narrow watery inlet in front of the house.

"Oh!" she would say to herself, surprised.

Maya was the kind of person that had many things tumbling around in her head all the time.

She could be looking at a book or watching television when, suddenly, she'd look away blankly while a picture, or thought, or feeling captured her attention for a moment, as though she had to answer a question before she could continue.

Even at night she was never far from consciousness, coming out of her dreams to remember what she had just dreamed.

Her mother had always told her it was a trick played on her mind by the ferocious, forever active intelligence she possessed. And, "..not to worry", she would probably figure out the meaning of life without even knowing it. Her mother was always telling her it was all right, no matter what "it" was.

Maya stood, smoothed her skirt around her hips and buttoned the orange fuzzy sweater tightly up to her chin. She turned and silently glided past the last of her house mates still sitting out on the wooden deck.

"Fools! Didn't they see the sun go down?" She didn't look at them or speak, anxious not to wake the fearful demons that ruled her outward relationships. She just wanted to put her head down and get in the communal house with no confrontations for once.

Night was here, the day had ended. Time to get a bite of dinner, take her meds, and plant herself in the big flowered chair that stood in the corner of the large living area and wait for bedtime.

All this waiting, all the time waiting. She knew it was for something, but had long forgotten what it was.

"Oh good, someone left the TV on." She was happy she didn't have to ask for it.

The house smelled like dirty socks, a little boy smell, like her brother's room used to stink, but she couldn't complain. You didn't want to draw attention to yourself in this place.

Maya felt fine, she was good. She put her head back and relaxed. The drugs kept her looking normal on the outside but.....and she allowed just a tiny corner of her mouth to raise in a grin, boy, if they only could see what was going on in the inside!

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