top of page

Breath & Shadow

Fall 2015 - Vol. 12, Issue 4

"Of Pokémon and Poe"

written by

MC Augstkalns

I'm in the throes of a nasty mixed episode, possibly my worst yet, and I'm talking online, via Facebook, to my friend who is also bipolar.


I've been wildly manic before, and I've been depressed, and I've been mixed, but I can't remember right now if I've ever been this mixed, and it's nice to have someone to talk to who understands. My mother was bipolar the exact same way I am, but she died when I was ten.


Earlier we were talking about how last week I was feeling suicidal, but because I am totally incapable of sticking to a topic for more than a few minutes at a time, our conversation has shifted, after many twists and turns, to Pokémon. Gotta catch 'em all! (We are grown women, twenty-six and thirty-four, respectively--but who cares?).


Out of nowhere, my mind seizes on something new, again, and I message, "Ah distinctly I remember / It was in the bleak December!" I cackle madly, my skin, my whole body electric. She can't hear me of course, given that she is three time zones away, so slamming the keyboard, my hands spit out a hasty, "HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" Then, because this is the greatest joke ever told in all of history, and I want to make sure she knows, I send, "Get it?"


She replies, "????"


What?! How can she not understand?! "No, because it's December and it's bleak," I say. Obviously, I don't say, because c'mon, she's smart enough to get it, I know she is, she's super smart! And now I'm sobbing, great wracking sobs of pure despair, oh, why is everything so bleak, why can't it get better? So many years, it's been so many years. What if the rest of my life is going to be like this, full of terrible things? That's too long, I can't take it!


My friend, of course, has no idea this has happened. She only knows my mood rocketed up; I've given no indication it's plummeted right back down. She messages back, "Yeah, I get it! That's funny!"


I don't want to bother her. I don't want to bother anybody. I'm enough of a burden already. It wouldn't be fair to tell her. Just by talking to me tonight she's being wonderful. I've been bugging my friends with my horribleness so much lately.


So I go back to Pokémon just as abruptly as I shifted to Poe, babbling on at top speed about the best way to trade them. I can tell she hasn't more than the faintest idea of what I'm saying even though I'm trying my best to give her good advice. I'm just not making sense. But she listens, and even though I'm not telling her anything real, I can't tell anybody anything real, that's enough for tonight.

MC Augstkalns has a French degree from Ohio University. She lives in West Virginia with her father and two cats. Her hobbies include reading and not finishing video games. She is currently at work on a novel and an essay collection. She has won several writing awards and in high school was almost voted "most unique."

bottom of page