Her name was Mary, her father called her caterpillar, her friends skinnybeans. She wore sweaters and socks and hats. She was normal in that sense, in the sense that she seemed to do what everybody did. She sang and yelled and picked her nose, just like anyone else. She jumped and searched for four-leaf clovers for hours and when she got tired, she yawned, and stretched and walked away.
Then Mary grew up. She gained weight, wrinkles and pessimism, but she was still just like anyone else. You could have taken her picture and posted it on walls and billboards and television, and no one would ever say there was something strange or wrong or different about her.
Yet, however average and ordinary and conventional a human she was, Mary felt freakish and queer and wrong. She, just like you and me and our friends, felt out of place and disconnected and confused.
Mary thought that her life was a mistake, meaningless, one of God’s random errors. She felt uninvited and bored and stupid. Stupid for once thinking she mattered, thinking flowers mattered, love mattered. Older, and sadder and more alone, her acquired experience only served to make her notice how empty and meaningless and tragic everything in life really was.
So she sighed and hid and ate more, falling deeper into her couch and tv and self. Until one day she tripped and crushed her nose, and instead of getting up she remained still, laying on her lawn, hoping it would all just end forever, finally, immediately. But it didn’t, and when she opened her eyes, she saw a clover with not one, not two, not three leaves… but four.