Depression by John Sparacio

There once was a girl who froze to death.

Nobody expected it to happen. She was always warm, cheeks flushed with the tint of rose that drew others near. But, one day, she caught the Cold. Like so many others, she let it get the best of her. She let it convince her she was worthless.

Doctors and nurses gave her little white pills every week. They told her that taking them wouldn’t cure her, but would help with the symptoms. What did they know? They still had warmth in their fingertips, light in their eyes. Their eyebrows creased with worry when they examined her unresponsive features. They still laughed at the silliest things.

It seemed a millennium ago since she had heard her own laughter. She had forgotten how to laugh.

These doctors and nurses were still familiar with joy. She was adamant that, because they still felt, they did not know what it was like to be Cold. They were pretend do-gooders in a pretend do-good world. She was never certain whether their worried looks or laughter were real. It was so easy to pretend – she knew that from experience. She didn’t trust them. She began to lose trust for everyone around her. They said this would happen, that this was the first stage of the Cold. But she had also heard many things about those little caplets that were supposed to help. She knew they’d drain her out completely. If she took them, she wouldn’t feel the Cold; she wouldn’t feel anything. Being a Cold corpse was more appealing than becoming a numb zombie.

And so, slowly but surely, the Cold prevailed. Her cheeks no longer flushed with the tint of rose that drew others near. She became porcelain, like all the others plagued with this disease. It was only then that she realized why the Common Cold was so common – its symptoms were so negligible that they were often overlooked, or forgotten.

Would things have been different if those she drew near looked closer?

She could only wonder.