Not Crazy

If you let it go, it will fly away.

Payton Torres, Special Contributor

Who else sat here? What did they talk about? 


What was so screwed up about them, that they too had to sit here for over an hour? 


Ugh…how much longer is this?

I started to fade out of my gaze, while staring into that blinding light hooked to the ceiling, as Ms. Clark continuously called my name. 

I finally answered her. 


“Your time is almost up, is there anything you want to talk about this session?”

I could hear the annoyance in her voice, and I knew why—I mean we were three sessions in and I hadn’t said a word. I wanted to, but I was scared she’d think I was crazy, just like everyone else I knew. 

“No, Ms. Clark! Maybe next week.” 

I stood up smiling at her, almost feeling bad as I made my way to the door. I knew she was getting paid either way so I knew it’d be ok. Plus, she wouldn’t even believe me if I did try and tell her what was going on. I couldn’t even understand it myself and I’m starting to believe that I’m going crazy too. I guess I should probably give you a little recap…it all started a few weeks ago with those stupid dreams. 


They never feel like dreams though, they always feel so real, like I’m actually there. I could always hear the faint beeping of a machine and the smell of bleach anxiously trying to cover up the smell of illness. I could smell it, feel it and practically sense it in every way. Except every time when I’d awake I’d forget what it looked like and where I had been. It was like the picture of what I had seen was wiped away, but everything else still remained. 

A few nights after this started happening, I started remembering one thing that I had seen in the place I was visiting every night. A strange object that kept growing in number each night. Now not only is it the one thing I remember seeing in my dreams, but it’s transformed into something I see all the time; it follows me around everywhere I go, always there hovering above me. Each morning another one appears to accompany me and the others on my travels. I didn’t know why or how they were there, but they were and I was the only one who could see them. 


I got in the car with my mom, heading home from another session of therapy. 

“So how was it?” My mom asked curiously. 

“It was good,” I said back.

“What’d you talk about?” she asked, longing to be involved. 

“Mom, I can’t tell you, that’s the whole point of having a therapist,” I snapped at her. I calmed my voice, not meaning to sound that way. 

 “I mean, it’s just that I have a therapist to talk to for a reason; if I talked to you about it then I wouldn’t even need one…right?” 

“Yea, I guess,” she groaned, I could tell she was upset that I wouldn’t talk to her. 

We drove the rest of the way home in silence, as I stared out the window, looking up at the things that were making me go crazy, hundreds of black balloons. I locked myself away in my room the rest of the night with my shadows, dreading school the next day. 


Gym class, the worst way to start off a day. Being drenched in sweat and going into the rest of the school day, is not a very appealing thing. Lately I have been feeling drained really fast in gym, not being able to run the full mile or falling over in nauseousness in the middle of a volleyball game. 

Today was no different. 

Halfway through class I left to sit in the locker room. I chugged water to try and wash down a pukey feeling and hydrate myself to ensure I don’t pass out again. I felt disgusting and could barely hold my eyes open.

I decided to take a shower to see if I could wake myself up and wash off. I turned the water on and stepped in. The water ran down my face, slowly steaming up the gloomy room. I could still feel the presence of my shadows floating around me, trying to block them out by tightening my eyes shut. Allowing the water to run down my back and soak my hair, while I stood there zoning out of the pain I was in. As the water increased in heat and the steam started slowing my breaths, a feeling of strain started to appear in my neck, and a gasp for air, propped my eyes open.

I stared into the black rubber gaining ground around me and the ribbon connected to them slowly wrapping around my neck. 

My shadows were suffocating me and my body was allowing them to do so. I started to fight back, flailing and falling to the ground, ripping at the ribbon around my neck, punching the balloons away. Fighting for my life, when I heard the noise of laughter from above me. 

I opened my eyes, still jabbing at the balloons floating away, escaping my angered strikes. I moved my gaze to the basketball team pointing and cackling at me. I felt the flush of heat go to my body and the bright red started to take over my face. 

I stood up and pushed through them, running to my locker. Gathering my stuff, getting dressed and making a run for my car. 


I flopped down on my bed, staring up at the balloons that just tried to kill me. 

Is that even possible? Could my hallucinations of balloons really be trying to kill me? 

I knew it sounded crazy, but it felt so real. They were attacking me, cutting off my air. Yet they weren’t even really there. 

What was happening to me? 

That night I couldn’t sleep. I laid awake all night not allowing myself to drift off into that unknown place. I didn’t want to be there, I didn’t want to feel crazy anymore. 

I kept staring at those stupid balloons that just seemed to be staring right back at me, mocking me. When a single balloon started to grow in size, pushing away the ones touching it, I just stared at it as it grew, hypnotized at what I might be seeing. A huge pop! filled my room, my ears ringing as I jumped up in my bed. My mind ran all over the place, confused about what just happened. I felt the nausea hit me again and I ran to the bathroom, falling onto the newly tiled floor. 

I covered my mouth to hold back what was coming up. Preparing to feel the disturbing taste of puke in my mouth, but a different taste appeared. I pulled my hand away from my mouth, studying the red goo that covered it. It was like a horror scene, a room full of black balloons and blood that I had just coughed up starting to drip down my arm, while I just sat there feeling myself slowly fade out. 



I awoke to that familiar sound that I knew so well. Breathing in that smell that has lived in my nose for months now. My mom’s faint voice lingering in the corner of the room and another unfamiliar one accompanied hers. 

Wait!—was I not dreaming this time?

I gradually peeled my eyes open, my mom rushing over to me asking if I was okay and if I was in pain. I said I was all right, hoping to see a relieved look on her face. 

She looked almost disappointed. I stared at her and then up at the doctor, clueless of what was really going on. 


Adenocarcinoma. The fancy name for it, but to me it was just Lung Cancer, and it was spreading to my brain. It was the cause of my fatigue, extreme nausea and my fading color. It was the answer to all my problems, the reason why I had been hallucinating and coughing up blood. 

But it wasn’t the answer I wanted. In fact, it was the worst possible answer I could have thought of. But it was the one I got. 

My body and brain had been trying to warn me for months, showing me the amount of spread through my shadows and even showing me the source in the locker room. But I was to stupid to listen, and now it may cost me much more. 

I’m not crazy, I’m just really sick. Although now knowing what I know,

I’d much rather be Crazy.