My Madness

She has nut-brown skin and a face full of subtle flaws—icky acne on her T-zone, a nose that is too big and goofy, eyes that are each slightly different from the other. She wears tacky lipstick and wings her eyes with impeccably applied black liner, an art she takes great pride in. No one would see her and think angel, because she is not one. Instead, she looks like me. She lives inside her mind, and inside mine. She is my madness.

She doesn’t listen to me and smiles in grimaces. She has talons where I have fingernails, and she digs them into my brain, and laughs when I sneer at her in helpless distrust, helpless disgust. She is power-hungry, flame-bellied, she has a snake for a tongue, a time-bomb for a heart, my brain where she should have her own. The worst part is how they look at her and think that it’s me.

For example: Yesterday, in second period chemistry, she almost got my lab partner’s hand burned. The teacher thought it was me and spent the rest of the period yelling at me about what an annoyance I was. (At this rate, I’ll never have the right letters of recommendation for any of the Ivy League schools, or MIT.)

But then, small mercies: She isn’t around right now. She’s been lulled to sleep by the colorful cartoons on Disney. I love it when I don’t have to compete with her for access. It’s raining outside, and somewhere, a dog whimpers. I sit on the windowsill and take full advantage of her absence.

—By Vee, 15, India