• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 05
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Kafka to Canine

Sarah read Kafka years ago so she understood the idea of transformation. She'd gone through many of them herself. From precocious four-year-old to the smelly humiliation of having what her mother called "an accident" in the middle of Mrs. Buster's first grade class. After that, it was difficult for her to feel the confidence of being four. Six meant sitting in the back of the room, away from the windows, head on her desk, pretending she was invisible.

"Shy" lasted longer than she could ever have thought. Until she met Charlene. Charlene took her under her wing — Charlene's phrase — not Sarah's. It was what her mother liked to call "a red-letter day." 8:30 on the playground, Sarah hovering at the door of the fourth grade classroom in her new school, staring at her new patent leather Mary-Janes which she had begged for. Charlene stood in front of her, so close their shoes touched toe to toe — black patent meeting white tenny — and when Sarah startled, smacking against the door knob, Charlene said, "I need a best friend so I'm picking you."

What followed was three years of best-friendship and because Charlene attracted kids from everywhere, Sarah caught the overflow, becoming confident Sarah, laughing Sarah, spin-the-bottle Sarah.

Sarah's parents swept her away for a summer in Maine. It was a political thing — her dad cozying up to his boss. It didn't work for his career and it ruined Sarah's. By the time she returned home and started the seventh grade, she'd been dropped by Charlene who'd moved on to lipstick, marijuana, and heavy petting.


Kafka to Canine

Now friendless, Sarah spent her time in the middle school library.

It took two years for Bookworm Sarah to work her way through Alcott to Zola, then she started in on the high school library. She met new people sitting at the blond wood tables next to the reference books. These were smart teenagers, awkward, studious, but happy to allow Geek-Sarah to work her way into the middle circle. This newest Sarah-iteration pleased her mother immensely having become a self-proclaimed bra-burning feminist.

All these years, these formative years, Sarah had accepted her fate, gone along with her social ups and downs, but when she became UCLA-Sarah, she decided it was time to become the master of her fate. She moved into a studio apartment on Ophir, and became Independent-Sarah. She would construct her own life as she saw fit. No one would shape who she was. This attitude lasted a week.

She found that she had one basic need above all others, and that was to have people love her, admire her, stroke her ego. She couldn't let go of it. She pandered for praise, did everyone's bidding, and found there were ways to win approval. She'd read all the "K" authors in the library. She needed to metamorphose. She prayed to the god she didn't believe in to give her the transformation she most needed, this one final change. Of course it didn't happen, so she bought a dog instead.