Gladdis grew up believing that things were exactly as they seemed.
Her eyes were bright, her posture spectacular, her features not unattractive. She hoped to lose a little weight but never complained openly either about her physical appearance or the difficulty involved in keeping in shape or the social pressure to do so. She especially enjoyed gardening and singing in the middle of the day. Her slippers were gorgon green.
To deal with pain and loss, Gladdis wrote in her journal and talked to her friends about how the peculiarities of life made her feel. She often thought that if only she could die in the arms of a friend who knew all of her secrets, then she would finally be happy. Secret, actually. She only had the one. But no one else in the world knew it. Sometimes she wondered if it was really true or if she’d made it up years ago just to have a secret.
At night the god of deep sleep and erythemic sexuality enslaved her soul to the whims of a clan of tri-horned wapiti on a moonworld thousands of light years away.
She could stand to have more friends, Gladdis thought. She cared about people and tried to help them with their problems and basically just be there if they needed her really for anything at all. She refused to talk to people who were bitter and cruel. People like the boy next door. She didn’t need that kind of energy in her life. Gladdis believed in clean living and positive relationships and focusing on gratitude and beauty.
She wished she had a more interesting life so she would have more to talk about. One thing she didn’t know was that some of the men she dated were really just projections on the wall generated by a hidden light source manned by someone who was just doing his job. It would have made an excellent new secret, but it wasn’t something she was cognitively equipped to realize.
No one understood why Gladdis cried during meteor showers. “It’s just so beautiful,” she’d say.
The full story of Gladdis is featured in the collection Nothing in Mind.