By: Elaine J. (aka Jackaroe)

I sit on the littered carpet of my bedroom floor, staring at the blinds covering my window, with sunshine slipping through those thin slits in scanty amounts.

If there is anything I need right now, it is more sunshine, for in facing the window—the door to a greater world beyond—my room is dreary and grey in comparison, with textbooks lying closed, face-down in the bristled carpet, a set of earphones detached from its iPod, a book crawling under a dresser and into the dim, and a pair of glasses facing the empty space between the floor and my bed, staring into nothing and leaving a pair of eyes somewhere blind to things far away.

The time is 3:12 pm, almost an exact hour since school was ended, with the mundane repetition of 'ding' seeming but a distant echo that I never wish to hear again, for to listen to that bell while sitting in English class, I know that there is not much more I can say, not much more to prove myself, not much more to do to convince myself that I hate that class. Indeed, for an aspiring English major, what good will come from hating every English class that comes my way?

I know it will do none.

My life has always been unbalanced. To stand as the middle child when two sides of your family weigh more than you do is difficult. For where can I be accepted at both sides? I straddle the fence; I gaze back and forth undecided, battling from within whether I am worth anything to either side, for certainly if something is in the middle, it is not wanted by either of the extremes. 'Monkey-in-the-Middle'—a popular childhood game correct? With two players standing opposite each other, tossing a ball back and forth, with the unfortunate monkey stuck in the middle, struggling to gain what the other two already seem to access with such simplicity. And chances are, the Laughing Two do not even want the ball, but they have it anyway, don't they? And what of the monkey? The monkey, of course, would do anything to reach out and grasp that ball, to make it its own, to give itself the understanding that its efforts, its pleas, its frustration, was not done in vain and most definitely was not done to let the Laughing Two have the ball that they do not even desire.

Now, the Laughing Two undoubtedly have a knack at catching the ball and inventing new methods to trick the helpless monkey still making short, babyish leaps into the air with arms extended (but not even close) to the height of the ball as it passes overhead. That is their gift; otherwise, they would not be very successful in ensuring that the monkey in the middle, stays in the middle. The Laughing Two are a talented group, loved and encouraged to continue throwing, while monkey sees but doesn't do.

To balance myself will take an eternity I presume, for so much of my life is already in disorder. Stuck in the middle, stuck in the mud, stuck like a rock in a hard place. I am confident, no doubt, of what I want in my life. I am, however, wary about how to reach that which my heart beats for. Endeavors are mighty only if they succeed, and none of my endeavors have honestly brought me somewhere. Rather, I am condemned to lower places because of my pursuit. What madness is that, you imbecile!

And so my mind has become clattered, disorderly, littered with apprehensions and dreams overrun with failure, for as much as I try to achieve that which I love most, my hardship is not considered, it is not recognized; it is left to making short, babyish hops highly incapable of becoming fully fledged leaps that may in turn lead to the wonders and satisfaction of flight.

I did not come to fail, and yet I feel as if such a doom is imminent, perhaps and most likely set upon myself for believing such childish aspirations that I should have known were unrealistic, as my parents have so often told me. I shall never catch that ball, they say. I shall always take mini steps, with arms stretched and aching but never reaching, oh no. Never. And so assurance of my survival lies only in their hands, because they are always right.

And now you ask of me to stop what I have started, to end what I began, to mar a soul that exists for a reason.

And I shall not do that, oh no. Never. I do not live to live discontent, but I cannot help but wonder why I am lost to my dreams.

I watch their chariot gallop down the sky, with the hand of excellence gently lifting the Laughing Two, the laughing everyone, onto a seat, while I still struggle and pant and scream to at last hold the ball that still miraculously hovers above my head long after the Laughing Two have joined the magnificent.

And then they are taken to the sky, probably to sprout their wings and be angels, to smile down at me and my efforts, while I glare back at them with tears streaming from my eyes and my fist holding a deflated ball.

For indeed I achieved that which I desired; my endeavors shall at last be at peace, my wishes appeased, for I had finally attached myself to success, and I plug in the earphones to my Ipod—together again.

But to hold an empty ball—deflated, dead and dirty—that was not what I wanted at all.

Perhaps I would be happy if I was born magnificent, to gain what I loved most and to have it gleaming in my palm.

But I was not born magnificent, oh no. Never. Life is still unbalanced and overrun with failure.

So I sit on the floor and drown.