By: Yukta Thirumalai

She took a deep breath and vaulted herself inside the barrier which was there as usual, and this time she reckoned she’d have to boost her mind's energy to get through. She concentrated hard and, after a few seconds, she could see the barrier behind her. She was inside now. It wasn’t how she’d imagined it to be.

There were scattered memories with ragged edges—this was obviously not a well-organized mind. When she tried touching one of the edges, it scraped her, making her finger bleed. The memories were huge in comparison to her, although some were smaller than others. She found a crossroads not far from where she had landed and decided to turn left. It was a bad choice. It was a small space with a bunch of memories, stacked away in the corner. Obviously, he didn’t want to be reminded of these. They had a ghostly quality, as though he had tried very hard to forget them. She hoped that in a few years, they would disappear entirely. The one in front started auto-playing, but she didn’t watch it. That was invading his privacy a bit too much. Not that she wasn’t doing that already by being in his mind. But then again, it was part of her job.

She walked back to the crossroads and turned right this time. She reached the end of the trail, a cliff. Just a cliff with a sharp drop to the bottom and nowhere to go but back. Or maybe… she walked toward it until she was standing at the very precipice. She looked down and saw some kind of ground a few feet below… it was worth a try. She jumped and landed on her knees. But, this wasn’t ground, it was more like…fuzz. Soft, fuzzy white. It felt good, although it did tickle her toes a little. She moved forward and found a small space with several memories scattered. They were all around, and she found it hard to focus on just one, but she didn’t need to. They were all very pleasant memories; she supposed these were the memories he liked replaying in his head. Sharp in focus, with vibrant colors, they bore every sign of having been lovely replayed over the years.

She climbed back up and went back the way she had come. Soon, she found a large area and stepped inside. This space was especially overwhelming. There were questions—in bold or very faded depending on how much he was thinking about them—and illustrations of all sorts, and even reminders. She noticed, out of the corner of her eye, a question; but, even as she turned to look at it, it had started fading away.  It became lighter and lighter and soon it was gone. She wondered what it was. Maybe it was one of those times when you have a word or a name on the tip of your tongue but then you forget no matter how hard you try to remember. Almost every 30 seconds a new idea or question would pop in and almost every minute an idea or question would leave because he found an answer or didn’t want to think about it anymore. “So chaotic!” she exclaimed out loud.

The space next door was a reasonably large area, although it kind of seemed like a waste since there was only one drawer in it. The place felt surprisingly warmer than the rest and she felt very eager to learn something. She opened the first drawer and realized why. This was an answer room. Any answer he got or anything he learned would be put in here. This was one of the only places in his mind which was completely organized. In fact, it felt like a library. Files were neatly arranged in the drawers according to the alphabet. She sighed. If only every other place in this mind was so neat. She felt very tempted to stay and read the files, but she knew she should head back now. He would probably be waiting for her where she had left him, impatiently drumming his hands on the table.

She retraced her steps. She could see the barrier now and got ready for the burst of energy that she knew she would need. She hoped she had saved some. She gave her mind a push and was vaulted through the barrier into her now conscious self.

“Well?” her teenage son asked.
She glared at him. “You really need to clean up your mind!”


Yukta Thirumalai is almost 12 and lives near Washington D.C. She loves art, writing, eating, anything soft and cuddly (pandas among them). She dislikes waking up early, hiking, and being told what to do! She dreams of becoming an author one day. In the meantime, she blogs at

Image by Gerd Altmann/