Part II: My Heart is Bursting

You know when you feel like you’re about to burst with pain. Your eyes tear up as you’re exiting the subway. In acting class you don’t have to try to think of sad things to cry, you just do.

Every time you sit down to do your homework you can’t help but check Facebook. You know what you’re about to see but click the links anyway until it becomes a stabbing blur and you’re numb from the damage. And you wonder how much damage it will take for it to stop. You think it never will stop. How could it, when pain runs so deep. You suddenly dread procrastination.

And you’re not even there, but you feel it. You walk through the crowded New York streets and have to check yourself that you’re not walking into traffic because you’re too busy scrolling through your newsfeed. You’re usually better about putting away your phone. Your battery has never run lower at midday than it has this last week. You were too foolishly optimistic to bring your charger.

It’s the least and the worst of your worries. You want to escape it, you want it to go away, but your heart tugs toward it because you know that it’s not. That it can’t, it won’t. Not like this.

But the worst of your worries is nothing in reality; you’re not checking over your shoulder that someone might have you at knifepoint, that someone is charging at you screaming wielding a knife. If a car hits you, you’ll assume it was an accident. Not a brainwashed dark-skinned would-be-attractive without the beam of death in his eyes 23-year-old male who truly believes he will go to heaven for hitting you, that the moment your life ends is the moment his begins, because death for him is paradise, so why not let hell loose on these streets. Why not gun down and stab old men and little girls because there’s nothing to lose, no, the more blood they lose the bigger reception he gains, even if he’s not alive to appreciate it. He’ll be wrapped in red black green and white love at his grave.

Low battery, 20%, you tap it away. You’re sitting on the front stoop of your apartment building by now and want to yell at the man at the hutch 10-feet-away singing in surprisingly good falsetto, “I can’t feel my face when I’m with you,” to shut up. Normally you’d be amused by his outburst but your head is about to burst and no matter what you do to distract yourself you can’t because you see their faces, can’t see their faces, you feel them, even though you’re not with them.

You are with them, you catch yourself–I am with you. I wish your biggest problems were facing an annoying vocalist on the street.

I imagine the piercing vocals of terrorists are more alarming. Why is the world not alarmed?

Of course, it’s Israel whom they aim to disarm. Why are they numb to our pain?

We’re bursting; can’t they see it? Do they enjoy the sounds of balloons popping as 13-year-old girls’ birthdays are stormed?

About the Author
Atara Vogelstein is a recent graduate of the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University, where she concentrated in Creative Writing, Drama, and Psychology. She is currently pursuing her Master's in Drama Therapy at NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
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