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One Day, I Will Evict Them

February 17, 2017

In fourth grade, I sat on the toilet in the girls’ bathroom

and kicked my shoes idly against the green and grey tile floor.


“She sat patiently,”

stated the narrator in my head.

“The time ticked by,”

he continued.


Other narrators, middle-aged, brown-haired men with thoughtful foreheads,

nodded and jotted down notes.

These narrators lived in my brain,

and, for some unknown reason,

carefully catalogued and commented upon my daily activity.


I wondered to myself at the epic nature of my life,

so worthy of attention and careful record-keeping.

By the grace of these narrators,

many who would one day wish to know of my deeds

would one day know of them.


My gentle narrators

allowed me to step out

onto the stage

and sing a gorgeous solo

in the fourth grade production of “It’s Music!”

“She bowed, and the audience roared,”

they murmured, taking it all down on yellow legal pads.

One added, with a quick smile,

“She was the best of all the soloists.”


These kind narrators

chuckled encouragingly

as I sat on the wooden cabin floor at fifth grade summer camp,


“with a remarkable one-liner,

she reduced her fellow campers to howls of laughter.”


Senior year,

my narrators applauded vigorously

as I accepted the awards of

Impeccable Scholar,

Star Athlete,

and Class Clown.

“She’s really unstoppable,”

they all agreed.


But one day,

my narrators turned.

Without warning.

Without cause.

One day, their faces became solemn.

They no longer laughed at my jokes.


They are still with me,

these relentless critics.

They dog me.

“She looked nice in the mirror this morning,”

they observe.

“But at this point in the day,

her pants have loosened

beyond the point of being socially acceptable.”

The shake their heads sympathetically.

“Her look,”

they conclude,

“is now merely ridiculous.”


In my classroom, they murmur softly

to one another,

“Her students are tired.

They want to leave.

If only she could think of the right thing to say.

If only she were good at thinking up games.

That has never been her strength,

and students like games.”


These narrators pat

one another


on the shoulders.

“Most of them probably hate her.

It’s not her fault

because her intentions are very good.

But she has a hard time

stopping her students

from hating her.”


I don’t know why they turned on me,

these narrators,

with their calm, all-knowing, literary tones.

I always wondered at their presence.


In fourth grade,

I thought

their existence meant

that I was going to be a writer.

I wanted to be

an author.

I thought

they were there to foretell

my future greatness.


Now I know different.

From the beginning,

they were there to trick me

into believing

that I only matter

from the outside in.

They were the gaze,

and they never stopped gazing.


First they lulled me,

took me under their wing,

made me trust them.

And then they agreed

that it was time

to hold up a mirror to my face,

a false mirror,

an ugly mirror.

That is not my soul in the mirror,

but they want me to think

that it is.


I am on to them.

I want them out.

I want them gone.

I don’t want narrators anymore.

I don’t want an audience

gazing at me while I sleep.


But they are in there tight.

They have dug in

for decades.

They have real estate in there,

condos, nice ones.

Why would they want to leave?


One day, I will evict them.

I will banish them.

And I will move in there myself.

I will lie back in a quiet easy chair

and scribble notes to myself.


I will be the narrator,

the author,


  1. jtall permalink

    Well, they better stop narrating falsehoods! That is unacceptable.

  2. Jane Tallant permalink

    I like to think of it as the committee that lives in my head, and I get to pick which ones to hear!

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