Still Knocking

This is a crane fly.


There have been so many crane flies in the house. I hear them knocking into the walls relentlessly through the night with their long, ugly, gangly legs. Everyone seems to agree that they look like monstrous versions of mosquitos except harmless. Somehow their sheer size and unwanted gaze is enough to make me writhe. When they fly they fly erratically and grossly, with their clumsy legs dragging behind them as if their entire body structure is nature’s mistake. They whirl around my exposed lamp and bump and smack right back into the walls. I’ve been trying to figure out if, like moths, they are looking for the moon.

Crane flies keep spinning against the ceiling now. They’re like spiders that can fly, fear and confusion on wings. I hate this sound.

There are four or five shriveled crane fly corpses on the windowsill in the kitchen, their legs tucked in like fingers into a fist, artifacts of a quest for freedom. Last night one of them managed to perch awkwardly on the side of the structure right underneath the naked bulb of my lamp and I thought, “What are you going to do now?” I don’t think it knew either, and it flew away someplace else of its own accord.

Once a crane fly suddenly crashed into the glowing screen of my laptop, looking for a way out of the darkness.

It’s hot. The crane flies are almost worse than my self-doubting. I feel itchy in my own skin. I want to peel it all off so my exposed flesh throbs and glistens and takes in everyone else’s light. Every small, disgusting thunk of the ugly crane flies is the same answer to uncomfortable questions.

Did I change my major before I even knew what I was getting into? Yes.

Did my lips say “yes” when everything else said “no”? Yes.

Did I fake an emotion again? Yes.

Did I blow exorbitant amounts of money on temporary hits of happiness? Yes.

Did I spend another 45 minutes stewing in envy for the features I’ll never have? Yes.

Am I longing for human connection? Am I tired of being invisible? Yes.

Did I lie about the progress I was making? Yes, yes, and yes.

Is this a self-whipping of sorts? Yes.

Crane flies are knocking against the walls again, so I opened my window to let the hum of my neighbor’s AC overtake the sounds of confused legs against hardness over and over and over again.

Things are jumbled up and backwards. I spend my waking hours thinking about how nice it’d be to return to sleep. I experience anger much more readily than I ever have. I love my aunt now more than ever, and I resent my mom. My brother gives me better, much more succinct advice than I have to offer these days. I’m without a plan. 

My academic adviser told me, you can’t dive into everything all at once.

I can’t lean against the headboard of my bed without sliding the mattress along over and ending up on my back. I’m already sick of this city, where it stinks and where months ago a teenager stood on the edge of the overpass nearby–that was the highest point he knew–with sirens all around him trying to convince him to live.

All my life I’ve held on to that tantalizing thought, “it will get better” and “there’s something good waiting behind all this” and it’s happening again. As soon as I make a decision to withdraw from a situation I don’t agree with, I’m confronted with a quiet thought that says “Isn’t this what you wanted?” “No” “Then what do you want?”

I don’t know, but it’s not this.

I’m not as daring or reckless or brave as people seem to think I am. I’m also still knocking around hoping for a different answer. No one seems to know what I mean when I say I want to go home, or when I say I am homesick. 

I can’t sleep. I regularly stay up past 2 so I can guarantee I will knock out as soon as I close my eyes, because otherwise I will rearrange limbs and what-ifs a hundred times before I lose consciousness. That’s how I know it’s summer.




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