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This Won’t Hurt A Bit: Go Fuck Your Self Help

this won't hurt a bit(2)The self help books have started.

Much to the chagrin of both doctors and actual literary readers alike, the bookstores are now lined floor to wall with self help books about recovering from no longer having to recover from anything. People who were once terminally ill, thanks to death being cured, now can read books with such titles as “Til Life Do Us Part: Coping With Your Terminally Ill Spouses Recovery” and “7 Stages Of Grief; One Mans Journey To Legally Die”. Now on the Dr. Phil-esque shows on daytime television, we’re witnesses to a parade of people who are being affected first hand by this situation. Women who had accepted their parents impending demise from Cancer who’re now disappointed they won’t get what was willed to them and men who were ready to move on after their sick child passed away now having to stay with the family. It’s changed media too. Now the trope of “sick girl falls in love, teaches cute boy everlasting life lessons, dies anyway” is long since a thing of the past. Now it’s more “sick girl falls in love, sick girl gets better, guy leaves her anyway”.

Therapists are now overbooked by people who had once been told by a doctor they had 6 months to live, who now have to cope with the fact that their lives are no longer shortened. Here’s a statement I read from one of them:

What happens is that when you’re told that you’re going to die, the first instinct the human mind has is to deny it. That’s why we have the 7 stages of grief, the 7th being the acceptance of this information. Over a period of time, you come to terms with your demise, you accept that this has been your life and that it’s just time to move on. However, when you suddenly find yourself with your lifespan no longer shortened, your mind isn’t sure how to deal with that. You were prepared to be dead. You’d accepted the inevitability of nonexistence. Now, suddenly, here you are with the next 40 years ahead of you and unsure what to do to fill the time. It can really mess with a person.

People are now enrolling in classes to relearn how to live. Rediscover hobbies, interests and what to do with their free time, along with how to live a day to day life. Out of one medical change, an entire market has boomed, bringing along with it the financial prosperity of the 90s. I went to one of these classes on a whim, just to see what it was like, and the first thing I discovered was that, much like the death industry, what was now being coined “The Life Industry” is a big crock of shit. In fact, the medical community has such faith in their industry, they’ve even started putting out promotional material, including this infographic they posted on the wall at the hospital I work at.

living forever

Yeah. Things are going great on this side. In fact, the only real downside is that we don’t have much work to do around here these days. Mostly, myself and the other nurses find ourselves playing card games or reading when we have nothing else to do. Oh, sure, sometimes someone comes in with something wrong with them (a sword through the chest or something minor like that), but the flurry is over in a matter of minutes and the patched patient is back up and ready for another day.

But the classes…they’re something else. A “teacher” will often talk to the class about how they came to the conclusion that life isn’t something that should end, and that we should fully take advantage of the gift we’ve been given. He or she will ramble on and on about how we could use our extensions for good, to better the world, society, ourselves, etc. What they won’t say is how advocating for life really helps us. Overpopulation is already a big problem, and with people refusing to die, it’s only going to get more and more crowded as we continue to reproduce. I might just be a nurse who hasn’t been in the field that long, but from what I can tell, this is only going to lead to serious overcrowding.

Save the world. Kill something.

“This Won’t Hurt A Bit: Memoirs From A Post Medical World” is a satirical health column created & written by Maggie Taylor. If you enjoy what you’ve read here, maybe donate to my SquareCash, so I can continue doing this for you guys. It’s much appreciated!

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This Won’t Hurt A Bit: “Don’t Fear The Reaper”

this won't hurt a bit(2)¬†We’ve done it, we’ve cured death. Did you see the infomercial last night? We cured death. Our species, long since plagued by the finality of life, no longer has to fear that forever burdensome habit of dying. Now you, your children, your children’s children and any children they might have (which you’ll be around to meet now, thanks to this breakthrough), never have to worry about funeral costs, life insurance, last wills and testaments and all that other petty crap we used to dump on our families after we died. For far too long, the funeral industry profited off of peoples grief. Selling something to someone when they’re in a clearly emotional state for the loss of their loved one? Disgusting, and now a thing of the past.

See, what happened was this. The richest people in the world were tired of dying. Realizing they couldn’t take their financial savings with them, and perturbed at the thoughts of either having the will them to someone else they didn’t think do enough to deserve it or being given away to CHARITY, they decided to finally, once and for all, defeat the concept of mortality. This way, they could live forever and be even richer. Unfortunately, this meant that they would be curing death for everyone, including poor people, which would just not do, so, they came up with the next best thing. They not only cured death, but then profited off of it by selling it only to those who could afford it. Capitalism at it’s finest, if you ask me! This weeds out the “worst offenders” and ensures that population control continues ever onward.

When the news broke, stocks in the mortuary, funeral and medical industry sunk to new lows. No more headstones, graveyards, coffins, embalming costs, medical bills, you name it, so long as you can afford it. Health care? Forget health care. It’s now life care. As a newly minted nurse at [redacted], I cannot tell you how many grown men I saw (doctors, mostly) sobbing to themselves simply because they would no longer profit off of illness, because we all know, there’s no reason to pretend at this point; it’s more cost effective in a monetary driven society to treat something and keep people ill than to cure them and lose profits. Even the surgeon general released a statement:

Does everyone know what a Utopia is? A Utopia is the concept of a perfect society, in which everyone is treated fairly and equally, there is no crime and now, thanks to the ‘miracle’ that is modern science, no more death. In essence, Utopia is the eugenics of the world. It’s the idea that everything should be one way; perfection. Unfortunately, this is not how things were designed to be. Human beings are meant to die. We’re meant to cease life. We’re here for a short amount of time, and then we move on. Look at all the damage we’ve done, for god sakes, just in the short span of time we’ve been here. Now think about that damage multiplied because we can’t die. It’s lunacy. No. I cannot, and will not, condone this.

The hilarious, ironic twist here is, with death basically obsolete now, you have to fight for your right to die. That’s right. It’s always been a fight for your right to die if you’re terminally ill or of some sort like that, but now they’re trying to take away your right to death. I mean, let’s be honest, the concept of suicide being illegal has always been hilarious, has it not? What are they going to do if you succeed? Arrest your corpse? Posthumously execute you? Get fucking real. If people have the right to live, then people have the right to die. It works both ways, but what do I know, I’m just a nurse.

Frankly, I don’t want to live forever. It’s tedious enough as it is, and I’m only 35, but god damn, 185 more years of this? No thank you. And it’s not like you naturally stay youthful. You just don’t die. There’s steps to be taken to staying fit if you want to stay alive forever, but hey, that’s more money lining the pockets of the people who started this whole mess in the first place. Death was the only thing I was guaranteed in life, and now they’re trying to take THAT away from me! Be proud of your inevitable expiration date. I know I am.

“This Won’t Hurt A Bit” is a weekly satirical column I’m trying out. If you like this, or any other content you read here, perhaps you’d like to donate to my Kofi via PayPal? Just a few bucks helps my girlfriend and me buy groceries, pay rent and more. Please don’t make me get a real job.

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They Were Just Like Us

“Did you cry again last night?” she asked, her eyes peering at her from behind those oval glasses. She was sitting on the other side of the table, in her nice, grey business suit, calmly writing down anything Sara would say.

“I cried more than just last night,” Sara said, sounding ashamed, looking down at her hands, cuffs around her wrists, “I cry multiple times a day now it seems. Not even just, like, what I used to do, but full on sobbing now. It’s awful. I feel so disgusted everytime.”

“It’s understandable,” she said, “It’s a natural feeling most have in your situation when faced with feelings they’d rather not be faced with. Any other feelings you’ve been having lately that you think I should know about?”

“…anger. I’ve been so angry at myself for being this way,” Sara mumbled, her brow furrowing, her nails digging into her pant leg, “If I hadn’t been this way, things would’ve been different. I would be out there and not in here. I would have a life. I’ve been feeling jealous too, jealous of the people who can control this so easily. How do they do it? Why don’t they have these problems?”

“Again, all understandable emotions to be feeling,” she said, before putting her pen down on the table with the clipboard and sitting up straighter, cupping her hands on the table and smiling at Sara, “Miss Meakes…you’ve been in here now for…I think it’s been almost 4 and 1/2 months now, yes? Do you want to be out there? Do you want to be like us?”

“I…don’t know, and that’s the worst part, I…I feel like I don’t because feeling these things makes me so unique…I’m different. Of course, being different is what’s got me locked away from everyone, but…haven’t you ever wanted to feel this way?” Sara asked, forcing a confused look scamper across the womans face for a moment.

“What?”

“Haven’t you ever wanted to feel this way?” Sara repeated herself.

“God no, not at all. No, it’s so much easier being the way I am, the way we all are. I admit that sometimes when I read about the past, about how you need to be able to feel a certain thing to comprehend a piece of classic art, literature, what have you, that I do on occasion wish I could feel that way for a brief moment, if only to understand the piece better…but in the end, it isn’t worth it. These things, they’re what made our world so bad. They’re what caused all the pain and suffering. No, things…things are better now, believe me.”

“…I think the worst is feeling love. I love my parents, but I know full well they don’t love me,” Sara said, “Because they can’t, not because they wouldn’t if they could. I understand the difference. It still hurts though. I wish they could.”

A timer on the womans watch beeped, and she looked at it, then collected her things and stood up, Sara doing the same. She reached over the table and shook Sara’s hand and smiled.

“Thank you Miss Meakes. I will see you again in a month, and we’ll pick up from there, and I do hope things change for you,” she said, before turning and heading out of the white room, leaving Sara alone again. As she exited, she found a man standing by the exit, waiting for her, eating an apple. He was dressed just as she was, same casual business attire, same boring expression on his face.

“So?” he asked.

“She’s not going anywhere for a while. If anything, it’s getting worse,” she said, “I wish I could feel bad for her. I wish I could, so I could really understand how much she’s hurting, but I just don’t.”

“It’s better you don’t,” the man said, and she nodded.

“I know that, but still…sometimes I think about what it’d be like to feel these things. To feel love, anger, sadness. To have emotions. These poor people, kept away from the rest of the cold, emotionless world, all because they feel what we once considered basic human emotions. What they have was once considered normal. Human. Now they’re different. ‘Unique’. But I know it’s better this way, I do know that.”

“Come on,” the man said, finishing the apple and tossing it into a garbage can, “Let’s go file this, we have other cases to get to.”

As they left, the woman glanced over her shoulder and saw Miss Meakes being taken from the room by her handler, presumably back to her cell. When their eyes connected, Sara smiled at her, and for one fleeting second, the woman swore she felt good inside.

Like what you’ve read? I have other fiction on this blog. Just check out the “fiction” tab! Or, if you wanna see more content from me, maybe help me out by donating to me here? Be greatly appreciated!

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She Is An Apocalypse

There is a hurricane swirling inside of her. Twisting and turning, ripping her apart, emotions scattered to and fro. It rages, it never quiets, it barrels through her thoughts and through her feelings, destructive and dangerous, destroying her from the inside out.

There is a fire roaring inside of her. Burning and raging, filling her every inch with embers of pain. It roars and flares up, burning anything in its path to ashes. It’s gearing up to turn her mind to cinders and toast her every hope and dream.

There is an earthquake rolling inside of her. It is thunderous and loud, rocking her beliefs and shaking her trust. Her morals quake and quiver, giving way to self destructive decision after self destructive decision. It is dismantling her inner establishment of confidence, turning it into rubble at her feet, burying it deep beneath.

She is an apocalypse, tearing down her walls and gearing up for a final burst, charging up her sun spots to eradicate every molecule that makes her. She’s a walking nuclear war, bombs falling endlessly, blowing every bit of her to smithereens. She is a viral outbreak, sickening herself worse and worse until there’s nothing left except a corpse that looks nothing like the girl they once knew.

She will burn brightly, she will fade fast, and she will be remembered fondly, not as someone who mattered, but someone who was fascinating to watch flare out.

She is extinguished.

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I Want To See The End

I want to see the world end.

I want to be sitting in my bedroom when they run the sirens and I can see the flames raining down outside. I want to hear the screams, the worry, the terror. I want to know for certainty that we caused our own demise, that we were the reasons for our own downfall. Our greed, our gluttony, our materialism, our egotism. I want to know we did this to ourselves. I want to see it end. I want to see the world burn, and the fires blaze and the people cry. I want to be there afterwards, to see what kind of better future may possibly come from this, knowing full well there’s no such thing as a ‘better future’ so long as we’re involved in it.

I want to see the end. I want to wander the world afterwards and tell the leftovers that they’re responsible for this. That this is their fault. That their small minded put us here. That this could’ve been avoided, had they not been so simple, so narrow, in their beliefs. Willing to just, once in a while, listen to someone else. A differing opinion, an alternate viewpoint, isn’t admitting you’re wrong, but that you’re reasonable enough to listen because you don’t know everything, and that there’s nothing wrong with that. But here we are, it’s the end, and it’s all. your. fault. I want people to feel the isolation I have felt, the hopelessness, the terror and the madness and the utter burning sensation of loneliness that comes with being the one person the world doesn’t want. Now it’s over. Now the world doesn’t want everyone, so how’s it feel to be just like me?

I don’t want the world to end because I hate it. I don’t want the world to end because it deserves to. I want the world to end so that finally, maybe finally, people can understand for once how I’ve felt for my entire life, because I don’t belong in this world, so maybe we can all belong in this new one. I have to literally wait for the world to end, for everyone to feel lost and forgotten, before I feel like I can connect with my own species. That’s a real statement on society.

I want to see the world end. I want to see the ruin and destruction and ugliness because maybe for once I could see a world that has something in common with myself.

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Let’s Be Sorry For Everything

Sandy and Derek were sitting in their bedroom on the bed, legs crossed, a bottle of vodka on the table behind Derek and each with a shot glass in their hands. Sandy had her hair pulled back in a ponytail, while Derek was pouring a little bit of vodka in their respective glasses.

“So, the idea of this is to forgive ourselves, eachother or someone else for something with each shot,” Derek said, “That way we can stop being so damn angry about every little thing in our lives.”

“Okay,” Sandy said, holding her glass to eye level, looking through the clear liquid, “And if someone starts to veer things into a direction the other doesn’t want to go, then they can just veto that.”

“Sure, that sounds fair,” Derek said. Sandy threw her head back and took her shot, then wiped her mouth on her arm and exhaled, shaking her head a little. She finally looked at Derek and grimaced.

“Ugh, I forgot how sick Vodka makes me,” she said softly, “I’m really sorry that I made things hard when we were first getting together. I’m sorry if I made you so uncertain about me, yourself or anything else. You don’t deserve that.”

Derek smiled and took his shot, then gave a gross look on his face, nearly gagging, “Oh jesus, you weren’t kidding, that shit is tough. Ugh. Alright, well, I’m sorry if I ever get on you for complaining. You have every right to be upset, because shit sucks for us. I’m sorry if I ever made you feel like you can’t speak your mind.”

Sandy nearly blushed, feeling so lucky to have him, as he poured them another set of shots. Sandy pushed her bangs from her eyes and stretched her legs out, resting her feet in his lap, looking around their bedroom.

“I think I wanna redecorate,” Sandy said, “This place is lacking any sort of personality lately. I think we need to do something about it.”

“I’m good with that idea,” Derek said, as he finished pouring and started massaging Sandy’s feet while she took her next shot. She hissed through her teeth and shook her head a little.

“Well,” she began, “I guess I’m sorry for Reggie. When I was in college, I took this class about feminine representation in literature, specifically when written by straight guys, and how they’re rarely heroines and when they are heroines they’re overly sexualized because that’s the only way they can see us. Anyway, there was this girl named Regina, or Reggie, who sat in the class a few seats down from me. We started talking, we became friends and went to parties and stuff together since we didn’t wanna go alone, even though once there we usually just made fun of the people there. I guess she wanted to get to know me cause she was gay and one night she suggested we make out, just for something to do.”

“And?” Derek asked.

“…well, we did. We did…more…than just make out. Point is, the next day she completely blacked me out, like it’d never happened. So, for someone to make the claim that only men can see women as objects is an unfair subjection, because let me tell you, some women are just as predatory. Made me feel sick with myself, and so I just went and hooked up with multiple girls that year, so I guess I apologize to myself too for putting myself through that,” Sandy said, sighing and looking at her empty glass, “…I’m glad you never do that to me.”

“Of course not,” Derek said, “Bottoms up.”

He threw his head back and took his drink, exhaling afterwards, and then squinting. He finally opened his eyes, looked at Sandy and felt tears swell up in his eyes.

“I’m sorry for…” Derek started, but he couldn’t figure out the words he wanted to use. After a few moments of pause and reflect, he finally managed to say, “I’m just sorry. I’m sorry to everyone who’s ever had to put up with me. My parents, any friends…you, most of all.”

“Ditto,” Sandy said, “We’ve been kind of bad for eachother, but at least we recognize that, and we know it’s wrong, yet inevitably a part of being in a relationship, and we try to fix it, unlike other people our age who simply say if someone treats you bad once or disagrees with anything you say then you should dump them immediately. Ridiculous. That isn’t a relationship. That’s narcissism. There’s a difference between straight up abuse and disagreement.”

“Right, right,” Derek said, chewing on his bottom lip, “I’m going to get another bottle from the corner store, this one barely had any left in it. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

As he got off the bed, he leaned down and stroked her cheek with his fingers, then grabbed his jacket, pulled on his shoes and headed out the door. Sandy laid on the bed, looking up at the ceiling. Eventually, she got off the bed, got her laptop out and started doing some research. She eventually wound up with a phone number, which she plopped into her cell and dialed.

One ring. Two rings. Three rings. Four-

“Hello?” a voice asked, “Carter residence.”

“…Reggie Carter?” Sandy asked, wondering if this was a bad idea.

“Yes? Who wants to know?” Reggie asked.

“I, uh, I’m…Sandy Price, we…we went to college together and-”

“Sandy?” Reggie asked, her voice staying the same deadpan it had been since she’d answered, “Good lordy, what’re you doing calling me this late, or, at all?”

“My…boyfriend, guyfriend, whatever, we’re sitting around and just talking about things we’re sorry for and…and I thought about you. I thought about, like, the time we spent in school together and shit and how like, I don’t know, how we hung out and hooked up and I felt-”

“I am really sorry if I made you feel bad,” Reggie said, interrupting her, “I…I don’t like stopping people from speaking but I need you to know that, I feel really bad about it. You have to understand, my family was really close minded and conservative and I could never discuss anything about how I felt to anyone, so to find someone who…who I guess was kind of like me, it felt freeing in a way, you know? But I know I essentially came off as predatory and like I used you to figure myself out and I apologize if that’s messed with you over the years because that was not my overall intention one bit. I was just really focused on figuring me out after all those closed off years living at home.”

“I understand,” Sandy said, “I really do, like, god, living with my mother…she still doesn’t even understand who I am and why I’m not just like her, ya know. It’s so goddamned frustrating.”

Reggie giggled and sighed, “Sandy, I’ve thought about calling you, I really have. I just figured you didn’t want anyone drudging up shit from that point in time, like maybe you were just trying to black it all out or whatever, but I’m really glad that that isn’t the case.”

“What’re you doing up so late anyway?”

“Well it’s not like it’s a school night or anything,” Reggie replied, laughing, “No, my wife works nights so I sleep alone most of the time. I was just reading when you called.”

“Anything interesting?”

“Not really, symptoms of illnesses.”

“Are you a doctor?” Sandy asked.

“I’m sick,” Reggie said, stopping Sandy in her tracks, “I…uh…I guess about a year ago I had headaches and my hair started to come out a little, and I felt really nauseous, and I found out I have leukemia. It’s not life threatening just yet, so don’t worry, but it is…it’s scary, but we’re dealing with it.”

“I…I’m so sorry,” Sandy whispered, “I had no idea, obviously. I hope you’ll be okay.”

“Listen, why don’t we meet for lunch or something next week, and we can catch up more? I’m really tired these days, as you can imagine. I will call you tomorrow and we can set up a date or something,” Reggie said, and Sandy told her that would be fine. As they said their goodbyes and hung up both ends, Derek came back into the room with a bag. He dumped it on the bed, and out spilled another vodka bottle, a baby ruth and a horse racing magazine. Sandy held the phone to her chest, pacing back and forth at the end of the bed.

“…if I ever get sick, leave me, ok?” Sandy asked, “Don’t…don’t try and be all noble or whatever, just go. I don’t want to put you through that and have yet something else I’d need to apologize for in hell.”

“I like that you recognize you’re likely not going to heaven,” Derek said, smiling as he opened the bottle, “That’s nice, modesty is important in a friend.”

“There’s too damn much to apologize for,” Sandy said, sitting at the end of the bed, “I…we can have an entire drinking game dedicated to saying ‘I’m sorry’ but in the end, I’m going to just keep adding onto that list, having more things to be sorry for, and there’s no way in hell I’m ever going to get through them all by the time I die, that’s for sure. So, don’t become one of those people. If something happens to me, just leave and go about your life, because the last thing I need in addition to dying is also to hurt you.”

“That sounds fair enough,” Derek said, “…and you’re right, there’s too much to apologize for. That’s the problem with mistakes, it’s not something you do once or twice in your life. It’s something you continue to do forever. You will always make mistakes. They might not even be big mistakes, like hurting someone you shouldn’t have or whatever, but just little things, like parking in a handicapped spot and then someone else comes along who needs it. Mistakes make up the majority of our time here on earth. Memories are often just the things we’ve deemed good because they’re the things we didn’t make mistakes in. That’s why we remember them. We filter out the bad stuff so we can have nice things to look back on. But…when it gets down to it, the thing we do most in life is fuck up, and I guess that’s okay, because at least we know we’re not the only ones doing it. Everyone does it. That’s some level of solidarity, I suppose.”

Sandy reached for the bottle and took a long drink from it before handing it back to him. Derek unwrapped his candy bar and broke it in half, handing one half to her and then eating the other himself. Sandy filled her shot glass again and drank it.

“I’m sorry we decided to play this,” she said.

“Yeah, me too.”

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So She Made Planets

She can create planets on a whim.

She’s had this ability for as long as she can remember. She can recall the first time she made a star, while playing outside one soft summer afternoon, at her daycare, waiting for her mother to come and pick her up. Everyone acts like it’s something special, but it isn’t, not once you’ve done a hundred thousand times, it becomes just as mundane as any other talent or skill. She can remember sitting with some other kids during lunchtime in elementary school, wowing them with her abilities to be able to create meteors from thin air. She became a magic trick; something kids asked for at their birthday parties, something adults used when out of town family members dropped in and wanted an experience. But she didn’t mind, she liked the attention, and she liked showing off her abilities.

There’s no life on her planets. They’re barren and cold, desolate, uninhabitable. All of these things are small, no bigger than a softball, but still, they’re hers, and she loves them. She spent a lot of her teenage girls in her bedroom, record player on repeat, laying on her back on the floor, just reaching up into the air above her face and creating entire galaxies. A black hole here, a milky way there, a star system, an asteroid field, you name it and she’d make it. She could entertain herself for hours with this. As with all novelties though, it faded with time. Life overtakes hobbies. The things that make you happiest fall by the wayside, even if they’re magical and not mundane in the slightest. She had to study. She had to date. She had to graduate, get into college and get a job. Not because she wanted any of this, but because everyone told her to.

“Making stars isn’t going to guarantee you a future,” they’d tell her, “People want real work skills.”

Resume after resume, essay after essay, lecture after lecture…spending countless, sleepless nights in the school library, trying to finish that paper due the following morning and instead finding herself blipping whole new worlds into creation in the palm of her hand, with the flip of her wrist. It got to the point where it didn’t bring her happiness, because it wasn’t what was “supposed” to bring her happiness. Marriage. A family. A career. Those were what happiness was to be reserved for. Not making stars. Not making planets. After a while, she’d spend all day long at work, come home and go to sleep. Go out with friends. Go out on dates. Soon she never made stars at all.

And then one day, she found she just didn’t want to, and this upset her even more. How could something so special, something so many people had, at one point in time, fawned over her for and told her was unique, was a gift, become so…so boring and unwanted? Even to the person who controlled said gift? Nothing lasted. People came and went. Jobs began and ended. Now she just sits on her bedside, in the dark, in her pajamas, repeatedly making planets and stars and meteors for the sake of doing something, anything at all, and not feeling totally and completely useless.

And then one night, she made a planet, and it was inhabited. This had never happened before. The people on it, they appreciated their existence, they thanked her graciously, they’d needed her to be. She was useful. Important. They enjoyed what she’d given them. They enjoyed her. She was loved. She created another and another and another, filling her bedroom over the following weeks with tiny, inhabited planets, and finally accepting this was who she was. She wasn’t like all the other people. She could do things they couldn’t do. She could make planets.

So she made planets.

And she was fine with that.