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Hillsboro, OR


I couldn’t help it, I just had to push it. Something about the symbol seemed so enticing, even though it’s something we see all the time and take for granted. I’m not taking it for granted right now though. In fact I kind of want to take it back. I’ve yelled in the faces of so many people in the past day, or week, I can’t tell how long it’s been anymore, but it’s been enough to drive me to the crazy giggles that my sister used to talk about when I really got going on one of my nutty benders.

My name is Ricky Nunez, and I’ve paused the world. Sounds crazy, right? Well crazy has been my middle name since I was thirteen years old. I was diagnosed with schizophrenia but after looking over the symptoms I realized that wasn’t my problem. Try telling that to my mom and dad though. They dosed me up with so many medications over the years that I couldn’t think straight sometimes, and others I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin and go running down the street yelling like Daffy Duck.

My sister has always been there for me though, my little backup when things got rough. She even helped me out with my medications when my parents would let up, getting rid of the pills I palmed or tucked in my cheek until my mom caught on and put an end to it. Eventually she checked me every time to make sure I swallowed the pills and made a note of how I reacted when I took them and when I didn’t. Yeah, my mom meant well and all, but she only ever made the craziness worse since she wouldn’t let up. My dad just thought it was something I had to get over, that I was being a nut on purpose or something.

I wish I could show this to them now, I wish I could make them understand what’s happened. I paused the world, and I still don’t know how.

It had to be the symbol, but I don’t know what happened or how it works. I’ve checked all around the site that it was etched on, there’s no wires, no electronics, not even a hint of anything metal around the carved symbol. It’s just those two lines etched into one of the many walls that borders a nearby housing complex that my sister and I have passed hundreds if not thousands of time on our way to school and to the store nearby.

For the longest time I didn’t notice them except in passing, but I always wondered why no one had ever done anything about them. The neighborhoods around here take a lot of pride in their appearance, and even the smallest bit of graffiti is usually washed off within a day or two of being sprayed. These though, this pause sign, looked liked someone took a lot of effort to chisel them out and make them look perfect. It was the kind of vandalism that wasn’t really vandalism, but perhaps destruction of property or some stuff.

But once I touched it for the first time I didn’t think that anymore.

(to be continued)

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