By Taylor Rogers ’24
Parasitic limbs curiously crawl into my brain, their furry legs hitting the organ ruthlessly, not caring about the potential dents and damage they could cause. Gradually, they begin their descent, digging a hole into my precious prefrontal cortex, not reacting as my mood shifts from confused to irritated. These annoying bugs work on creating one of many entrances, sliding down the moist caravan they call an entryway, strategically planning to infect my innocent cells with their toxic virus.
Unaware of the infection that is soon to attack my immune system, I sit outside, admiring the hyamith flowers gifted to me this past weekend from my grandmother, the baby blue color our favorite, as it reminds us of the bright sky on a sun-filled day. These buds are just growing, slowly increasing in size the same way the parasites overflow my cranial cavity. Like me, these buds urge to be out in the sun and observing the weather, so I break out a smile and take the precious flowers outside with me. My flowers and I sit on the swing my grandfather crafted for my grandmother, the white wood digging into my exposed legs, which are barely covered in a pair of jean shorts nearing their last tear. Wind blows in my hair, the sun smirks down at me, and my flowers peacefully sit on my lap. Boredly, I glance around the peaceful neighborhood, making eye contact with someone who currently trims their overgrown hedges.
Suddenly, a gunshot goes off in my brain, jarring pain attacking my head as the parasites within begin to cheer victoriously, watching as my hyacinth flowers drop to the ground like a grenade. They watch as a mysterious figure strides down the street confidently, bending down to collect the flowers as an explosion goes off in their host’s brain. In seconds, a hand clasps my own, pressing the flowers back into my outstretched fingers with a grin.
“Think you dropped these, it’s a shame. They’re stunning flowers.”
Curiously, the parasites watch my interaction with the stranger, a few pausing their digging while others grin, knowing this is the perfect chance to wreak their havoc. Quickly, they invade this cortex, twirling strands of brain that are slender like spaghetti and manipulating them to their will, creating a Prince Charming out of a being who is simply human.
Stunned, I reel back at my sudden romanticization of the simple action, confused where this feeling has come from. While I am no stranger to attraction, the hyacinth flowers that have been tainted by another are strange to me now, the bare minimum morphing into something completely foreign to me. The hyacinth has shifted, the stems gingerly reaching out to the stranger and invoking me to ask this human a question.
“Would you like one? I have plenty more inside, my grandmother brings them to me often.”
Apparently, the parasites quite like this reaction, as the pain in my head temporarily halts, as if allowing me to explore the feelings suddenly forced on my previously pure brain. Matching smiles rapidly form on the stranger’s face as well as my own, and our hands briefly collide as I hand them a sky blue bud. Above, the parasites continue to observe, deciding to gingerly adjust my nerves so my conversation with the new person can continue while they conjure unknown sensations and feelings.
“You know, you’re really pretty.”
Small gasps escape my lips as something bangs against my temporal lobe, the parasites above just as shocked as I am concerning the compliment. Instinctively, I put a hand up to my head and rub the infected area, the stranger kneeling on the dewy grass in concern.
“If I knew complimenting you would result in such an adverse way, I wouldn’t have told you the truth.”
While I would roll my eyes at most for saying this, the stranger’s words make me laugh, an off-pitched melody escaping my chapstick-stained lips as the parasites continue to harshly attack me. Gritting my teeth, I mold my face into a grin, my hands fiddling with the hyacinth that drew this new character to me.
“Sorry about that, I just get migraines sometimes. Especially, oddly enough,when I see attractive people.”
Unlike the person standing before me, the parasites fail to appreciate my joke, savagely continuing to fumble my nerves as emotions come and go, my face failing to reveal the war that wreaks havoc on my anxious body. My newly found lover laughs, the sound causing the birds around us to giggle, the sun to shine a little brighter, and the parasites within to halt their attack. Despite their pause, my feelings still rebelliously combust, passion’s painful flames engulfing any doubts or confusion that I might be confusing love with lust, as attraction to me has only been sexual and short-lived.
“Don’t worry about it, really. I’ll see you around, hopefully your migraine disappears the next time our paths collide.”
Before I can protest and force the stranger to stay, they have left with a permanent reminder of me, the hyacinth flower swinging between his fingers as I resume the similar motion on my own wooden seat. The parasites within my brain finally hatch their eggs, evoking strange sensations throughout my body and turning this insignificant encounter to one equated with a myth I had never believed: love at first sight.