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Stress I

white and black line illustration

(November 2021-22 Schoolyear)


“What’s the problem Sarah?” Mephi sighs leaning over my shoulder, looking at my empty screen. 

“Query letters. Reading my own writing. Freaking out. Phone. Things I should have asked J— after he read my stuff. Do you want me to continue?”

“And you told your mom that your day was going well.”

“Well it was productive on the things I wanted to get done. It was just stressful as well. Choir auditions for the solo parts of our songs and peer pressure.”

“Yes, I saw that bit. You were literally wrapped up like a pretzel and stabbing yourself with your pencil and you knew you weren’t even the one having to sing.”

“What can I say?” I sigh. “I’m too empathetic. I feel their nerves and that makes me nervous.”

“Well, focus on something nice instead. I can feel you getting all twisted up inside.”

“Like what?”

“Well you just received an email. Check it out.”

“IT’S FROM P—! She has feedback on the short story I sent her!” I exclaim, glancing at the notification.

“Perhaps not the best thing to focus on because you’re going to get even more nervous right before you open it.” Mephi mutters, but doesn’t stop me as I pull up a new tab to check my school email. After obsessively reading through her remarks and quickly composing an email back I switch back to what I’ve come to think of as our tab and begin typing up the scene.

“Well you’re smiling.” Mephi says “You liked it then?” 

“She seemed really enthusiastic about the piece!” I proclaim. “Her notes were mainly positive, and although I feel like she may have been holding back on criticism, she did have a few helpful notes. I liked that she liked it and so asked if I could send more such works her way.”

“You’ve done a bunch of sharing today.”

“Yep! Totally should have asked J—1 what I could improve upon though. Now I’m ticked that I forgot it. Not to mention I should have asked Frau B about dual citizenship. She -of everyone in the school- would be the best resource.”

“You know you could just look it up instead of asking everyone.”

“True.” I open a new tab and do a quick google search. Clicking on the first link I scroll downwards and begin laughing.

“What? What’s so funny?” Mephi asks, leaning over my shoulder. 

“It’s a mis-translation. They say you can be an ancestor of a Nazi victim and gain dual citizenship. All those people are dead! They meant descendants! But it’s funny because they’re supposed to be this uber professional legal firm and they failed miserably in the title of an article.”

“I know you like your translations, but isn’t this a bit much?”

“It’s funny! Just accept it.” I wave a hand at him, and then stop suddenly as mom walks into the room. 

“Time to read your latest chapter?” Mephi asks.

“Possibly.” I reply. “Anyway I’ve cheered up now. Thanks.”

1  Not brother J, friend J—.

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