A Brain on Fire
I finally realized how to stop turning my grief into anger. But not before I threw a woman through a window.
Illustrations by Wenjia Tang | Edited by Lilly Dancyger
We sit in neat rows in a cathedral-like space full of echoes and crown molding, as a woman calls us each by name to the front of the room. The town courthouse is an architectural masterpiece, all carved white marble and exquisite tile work. I’m always acutely aware of its impressive construction. I’ve literally stared at the floor thinking, How could my life possibly get this fucked up, and God, this is just exquisite tile work, at the exact same time.
The prisoners come in last and go first. They get marched in by a prison guard, feet shackled, hands shackled, the musical clink of chains and the squeak of cheap plastic prison sandals filling the room as they shuffle toward their seats in the front.
I wait in what I call “the bad guy section” for my name to get called. I’m the only woman here. I try to dress nicely to stand out even more than I already do. Gray wool dress. Fancy shoes. Black leather bag. If the men around me bother …