Issue #80

Fall 2021

All the Women in My Family Were Mad

by Deborah Happ

I spend my days dodging beggars downtown. Can you spare a coin, miss? Please, miss! On the worse days they pull me by my clothes, grab my arms. I don't, sir, sorry, I don't have anything. Mad, all of them. Poor things, they're all mad.

My grandmother was mad, I heard. She would take off her clothes in the middle of the street, I heard. She saw things, I heard, she was always on edge. You're just like your grandmother, I hear all the time. The same hands, the same nose, the same personality. If she lived in more liberal times, she would be just like you, I hear all the time.

How long will it take for me to go mad?

I wanted to be one of these people whose biggest fear isn't going crazy. Going so deep within myself no one else could reach me. Turning into an alligator whose belly is so full of its own ideas it would almost explode. Almost. The only thing keeping it from exploding would be the asylum workers who watch from afar, touching its head and saying everything will be alright, she's inside her head all the time, saying things no one really understands.

After all, what are the limits of the mind?

I dreamed of you last night. It wasn't a dream, really. It was a hallucination caused by the forest xaman's tea. It's a sacred drink, I heard. It opens you up to new worlds, I heard, new understanding of yourself.

And now I am convinced I can see the future.

I saw you clearly last night. We were fucking like there wasn't anything else in the world. The voice in my mind told me that you would come find me.

I am waiting.

I see the future.

The forest xaman's tea also told me that I would go mad. This is just the first step, the voice in my heard told me. You will live in complete isolation and no one will recognize you, lost in your own mind.

I am waiting.

I see the future.

Author Bio


Deborah Happ is a queer Brazilian living in Cologne. She's still getting used to people not wincing when they hear about her wife.