Fiction.

At a recent writing workshop, the author suggested that if you don’t want to write about yourself then you simply write about yourself and call it fiction. Apparently it’s a common practice of many authors.

There once was a girl who discovered at a young age that she was chronically ill. Of course, the idea of chronic illness didn’t make any sense at the age of 16, but she knew she didn’t feel well. She never knew where to walk because sickness could be lurking around any corner.

She didn’t love to travel because she had so much to do to prepare. Medications, steroids, fish oil, vitamins, contact solutions and eye drops for every eye condition, prescription toothpaste and fluoride trays, gloves, socks, lotion, chap stick, water and more water. Her purse was always jam-packed with random things that people always asked, “Why do you have that?” She liked to remind them that you never know what you may need. Trivial things to some but crucial to others.

Going to the grocery store, in and out of the freezers, involved lots of staring when her blood was washed from her fingers. She tried to write while sitting outside, but the wind swept across her fingers and soon her bloodless hands couldn’t grip her pen.

She thought about staying out late since, well, that’s what people her age did. But she needed her rest. And the life of a retiree sounded more and more desirable, especially when she was old enough to understand the meaning of “chronic.”

It was finally time for her to leave her pediatrician, who knew her on a first name, personal cell phone basis. She needed to call to get her 5-inch thick records transferred to a new doctor who would never make it through the years of notes. She avoided the call and feared the idea of ending a relationship of nearly 22 years.

Her mom suggested that she write a letter to thank her pediatrician. She couldn’t make herself do it. She didn’t even know where to start.

Jolly.

A jolly old man jogged past me on Friday morning. “Jolly old man” seems like such an overused expression, but there is just no better way to describe him. His elbows were out wide and he waddled from side-to-side as his stark white hair curled over his stark white sweat headband. And, yes, his stark white T-shirt was in perfect coordination with the jolly-jogger look.

He waddled my way and stopped cold in his tracks. “Smile, young lady, it’s Friday!” He grinned from ear-to-ear. He certainly wasn’t out jogging in preparation for a marathon, as he was more concerned with interacting with his surroundings than pushing for a record time.

I think the outfit was just a nice attempt to be in the jogging spirit.

I chuckled back and put my head down to stare at the sidewalk. I really didn’t even know I wasn’t smiling. Fridays are pretty exciting. But Fridays are also exhausting.

Fridays are when my body screams that it can’t take anymore—no more early mornings, days of stress, and late nights. No more pretending to be normal.

Sleep.