The post posttruth journal
All your favourite distortions from here, there, everywhere and nowhere.
Once upon a time Sigrid went to school. She didn’t really like it very much, mostly because it seemed like all everyone wanted to do was talk at her, and she found this tiresome.
Sometimes, when she sat in class, especially after she’d claimed her spot in the back row, she would close her eyes, hold her breath and pretend she was diving. She once did this for so long that her ears nearly popped and she gasped out loud. Those strange students looked at her strangely, like she was the strange one. Hans even took his finger out of his nose, which almost never happened. This was one of her fondest memories from that time.
Once upon a time Sigrid went to school, but she didn’t know why she did that, and spent a lot of that time wandering through the hallways feeling like an alien lived in her stomach. Not an actual alien. Just the sensation of an alien pressing its frog-like hands against her intestines like they were a remote control. She was obedient to it.
She was obedient to a lot of things, really. Not so much the teachers. They mystified her. But the chalkboard squeaks that made her go diving. The sound of too many children’s footsteps trailing her that had her turning corners she hadn’t planned on turning. The look of shame on her sister’s face. The alluring smell of paint in the janitor’s closet. The birr at the tug of her uncle’s old chainsaw. All of this had its hold on her from time to time, prompting those imaginary diving expeditions whose only downside was if she went through them too often what was real would start to feel imaginary, and the imaginary real. And this didn’t seem right at all. Once upon a time Sigrid watched her sister through the small window on the door of the music room. She thought she might stop to say hi, but the alien told her to keep walking.
Once upon a time there was a Sigrid before the Sigrid we are hearing about now. She lived in the same town as Sigrid does now, however this Sigrid lived a couple of generations before our Sigrid. The older Sigrid had no chalkboards to avoid or paint fumes to inhale, in fact she had none of these luxuries to squander at all. We do not know much about this Sigrid at all, just that she is said to have gone through four husbands and was very bad. She had more babies by more men than anyone was supposed to know about. In her photograph, she wears a dark corset and high collar. Her hair is pinned up high on her head, pulling tightly at her forehead. She stares straight into the camera, her hand rests on her sister’s shoulder. If she had her own alien, it was also invisible.
Once upon a time Sigrid went to school but failed all her exams and didn’t feel like going back anyway. The alien made her write down all the wrong answers. Looking back, there were only two things she would miss. The way the janitor would leave clementines for her by the tins of paint he knew she was tucking into, and the sound of her sister’s arpeggios spilling into those echoing hallways whenever that soundproof door opened and let the outside world in. Like Sigrid, Jo had discovered diving routes of her own. Lucky for her, her method of transport was one that met widespread approval.