There was a lot she wanted to do. There was always a lot she wanted to do. But she didn’t always want to actually do any of it. Rebecca looked around her living room – she had a jigsaw puzzle on the coffee table that she hadn’t yet started. To the right of the couch was her bag of knitting with a sweater that had a front and a piece crafted but was missing the rest of it. She looked across the couch into the kitchen, there was a stack of old mail, receipts, and books waiting to be filed, sorted, and read. She knew further into the kitchen there were a handful of dishes leftover from making cookies. Rebecca had done most of the cleanup, but had left the large mixing bowl covered with caked on dough in the sink – it had been sitting there since Saturday, it was now Monday night.

Rebecca avoided looking at the back corner of her couch. She could feel the mixture of disapproving and encouraging glares and stares coming from them. David already voiced his opinion on what Rebecca should do with the rest of her evening. He tried to always be supportive, which was amazing and lovely and would be so much better if she wasn’t always one mood past where he last checked in on her. It was her own fault for not following the standard brain patterns as everyone else, and it wasn’t like she didn’t try. She did try, there was just a lot of turn over up there. One minute she could be hyper-focusing on the two pounds she gained over the weekend, go into her room to throw on something comfortable, cozy, and over-sized to then remember where she got that sweatshirt or the last time she wore it and be filled with calming. Her train of thoughts usually dictated the rest of her emotions, or at least could derail them in an instant. It was hard for her to keep up with them, let alone for anyone not locked in her mind.

Shaking her head Rebecca tried to refocus her attention on the show she was watching. She hadn’t had a chance to relax – her weekend was spent working, baking, a rushed dinner, date night, a tutoring session on one of David’s many hobbies, the party – the one she baked the cookies for, passing out, getting up and going right to work. While she had had an incredible weekend, she didn’t want to do anything else. She just wanted to sit. To sit, and enjoy just sitting. Something that usually ended up disastrous for her, but that she kept trying to be good at. David, trying to prevent her from getting overwhelmed by her own brain suggested an action plan: do some dishes, then start one of the new shows from her list while working on her puzzle or knitting. She just wanted to sit.

They knew that – some of them did. Some of them watched her, silently encouraging her to sit, sit and shut down. Not sit and be mindfully relaxed. They wanted her to sit and remove herself from the world. The others wanted her to be active – get the things she loved doing done. Relaxing was unnecessary. There was time to relax when she was old, decrepit, and basically dead. The rest, the small population hiding through and behind the others wanted her to cease to exist. Rebecca knew it. She could feel it weaving through the stares of the others. All of them moving silently through the air, tangled together, weighted down and unwilling to move from their corner.

Rebecca hated them. Some of them. But she always loved all of them. They had been with her for a month now. They had come home with her on her birthday. The group on the whole was divided by the three camps: do something, do nothing, be nothing. The group that urged Rebecca to do something, everything and anything, was lead by a large, silvery, shiny “R” filled with helium. It followed her, always watching, judging when she took inaction or the wrong action over productivity. The “R” was raised the highest in the grouping. The smaller, round balloons with little fish and the words “Happy Birthday” all followed the “R” in her movements and her beliefs.

The do nothing group was lead by a large fish, with one eye always on Rebecca. Watching, judging, luring her into inefficiency and nothingness. Always with his one eye just watching her. The fish was large and colorful, mostly blues and greens with bursts of silver and purple. Sitting just under the “R” he too watched and followed Rebecca. There were a few that had followed his lead and he followed Rebecca’s movements, but as everyone else shrank with depleting Helium, the fish stayed the same. As if he were sucking the life force from his followers.

The ones who wanted Rebecca to be nothing, to just cease across the board were made of the regular plain balloons. All filled with Helium, nondescript, outside of the ones they were grouped with – almost all of the plain balloons had begun in this camp or ended up there, shriveled and withered hovering inches about the floor. They were the easiest to ignore for Rebecca. A lot could be said for the out of sight, out of mind concept. Rebecca, for the sake of superstition and worry, willed herself to leave them out of sight range.

On nights like this she thought about taking them out to the garbage or deflating the lot of them. Who were they to watch her, judge her, dictate what she did and didn’t do – of why or how, or anything! But she couldn’t, it was the one thing they agreed upon. They were all here to stay, for as long as they could muster, influencing Rebecca’s life choices. She sank into the couch, pushing together a makeshift wall with her legs from the extra pillows and blankets in hopes of limiting her sight of them. Rebecca pulled out her phone and texted David, “going to watch an hour of food competitions before bed. Show got too scary, and I’m already tired. I’ll figure out everything else tomorrow. Call you from bed, XO”

Rebecca would figure out everything tomorrow – the dishes, her schedule, her activities, what to do with the onlookers, and whatever else was there. For right now, she was going to focus on relaxing like everybody else – even if she really wasn’t.

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