Christiana Langenberg
PROSE
 
Maura Takes the Multiple Choice Test of her Life So Far


Read the questions carefully. Twice if necessary. Avoid jumping to conclusions.


1. When the therapist asked, "What do you mean when you use the word visit?" what was your response?

a) “Visit?”
b) I pointed to the lettering on my t-shirt, “Out of Body. Back in 5 Minutes.”
c) I figured that based on her hourly rate it cost me $3.00 for her to ask me that question.
d) I looked out the window and noticed one tree had a lot more leaves on it than the rest.
e) “How we doing on time?”


2. Which of the following is true of people who seek therapy? Circle all that apply.

a) They have money to burn.
b) Something is bothering them.
c) What have they got to lose?
d) They have a family history.
e) It's all the rage.


3. How did you get here today?

a) I hitched a ride.
b) I took the bus.
c) I got born.
d) A friend dropped me.
e) You have all the answers, you tell me.


4. What are you looking at?

a) Nothing.
b) That tree.
c) My breath leaving my body.
d) My breath going back in.
e) All of the above.


5.  What do you feel like doing right now?

a) Nothing.
b) Falling backwards into something soft.
c) Kneading dough.
d) Crystallizing violets.
e) Being anywhere other than here.
 

6. Your greatest fear is

a) I’ll never get over why I’m here.
b) I will.
c) I’ll make it to the end of my life and find out everyone was lying.
d) there is no overall scheme of things.
e) there is.


7. What did you like about driving?

a) I don’t remember.
b) I don’t know.  Speed and control, I suppose.
c) Getting where I wanted to go.
d) How unconscious it all was.
e) The music loud, the windows open, a box of biscuits in my lap.


8. The year of your birth is

a) 2002
b) 1984
c) which birth?
d) same as my sister’s.
e) 30 years to the day after my mother's.


9. As a child you spelled your name like this:

a) MAURA JANE
b) maura
c) Maura
d) More A
e) Mojo


10. The age at which you started helping in the restaurant -

a) since before I was born.
b) 4
c) 5
d) 10 as the sous-chef.
e) 14 as a server.


11. Matching

Connect the family member with the job:

Mother                                                                Menu-planning

Father                                                                 Head Cook
                       
Sister                                                                  Book-keeping/Reservations

Self                                                                     Kitchen Staff/Clean up

Rotating Strangers                                               Confidant

Pretty brown boy from the Halfway House              Maitre’ d


12. At home, after closing, after the prostheses came off, your father looked like

a) my father.
b) a man who’d walked a mile in his shoes.
c) the man most likely to succeed.
d) the person who read me Horton Hears a Who one thousand times.
e) the Eiffel Tower with its sleeves pinned back.


13. What your mother taught you about how to cook crab:

a) Their connective tissue is fragile.
b) Always pick the lively ones who wave their claws at you.
c) Use fresh laurel and plenty of flat beer.
d) Look at what the body is trying to tell you.
e) When it’s bright red, it’s done.


14. Which of the following are things your parents believe?  Circle all that apply:

a) A good, hearty breakfast will get you through the day.
b) What goes around, comes around.
c) Immunizations are not worth the risk.
d) Nobody notices my father’s accent.
e) No good can come from telling people your problems.


15. The small article in the local paper on the back of page 10 revealed

a) the dead woman’s name was Christi Anderson, 38.
b) her 2 month old babies [sic] name was Chance Anderson.
c) several witnesses reported seeing a woman dangling her legs over the edge of the overpass.
d) she had a history of depression, suicide abuse [sic] and prior substance attempts [sic].
e) I don’t read the local paper, because the articles are full of people’s mistakes.


16. Does it help to use the word visit?

a) Yes.
b) No.
c) Help whom?
d) Define visit.
e) Yes.


17. What do you remember most about the day of your First Communion?

a) Nothing.
b) Thinking I was going to marry Jesus.
c) The sunlight through the crown of thorns staining my shoes pink.
d) My sister at home with the measles, murmuring, “Mojo makes me sick” into her pillow.
e) Saying "Amen" and feeling extremely warm after swallowing the body of Christ.


18. The best way to prepare potatoes is

a) boil them in their jackets.
b) fry them up and serve them with coins of black pudding.
c) rice them into a mountain and mash them into marrow peas.
d) dress them up in doll clothes and stuff their legless bodies into a Barbie convertible.
e) have a coke and a packet of crisps instead.


19Examples of things that makes sense.  Circle all that apply.

a) Nothing.
b) Precious little.
c) A sunset the color of bruises.
d) The way unleavened bread rises in your stomach.
e) The way you can speed at love until they pull you over.


20.  Your current relationship with your family is like shopping for a used car because

a) I can’t afford a new one.
b) I need something reliable that’ll cost me less.
c) they look at me like they’ve sold me a lemon before.
d) I’m pretty sure it could break down at any time.
e) they have a way of looking at me, an expression that seems to say “I know you love the car. I can see it plain as day. What’s it going to take to get you back into this car?”


21. The thing most likely to go wrong with caramelizing sugar is

a) the lack of confidence.
b) a sudden change in temperature just before everything seizes.
c) using turbinado instead of cane.
d) when everything depends on it.
e) too much heat, not enough sugar.


22. Your worst dream to date is

a) whatever is coming next.
b) the Stuck in the Tunnel Dream
c) the Brakes Fail Dream where my foot goes through the floor board like butter.
d) the Decapitation Dream, where my head talks to my body.
e) the Dream I’m Dreaming Dream, where everything that’s happened hasn’t, but I don’t know that yet.


23. Define visit.

a) To have a casual conversation.
b) An act of affection or friendship.
c) To inflict punishment or vengeance on somebody.
d) An extended temporary stay.
e) A cameo in a dream.


24. True/False  - Circle one.

T/F     I knew the baby was dead.
T/F     Misery loves company.
T/F     The woman on the overpass picked my car at random.
T/F     Upon the advice of her doctor, my grandmother took thalidomide to
          control her morning sickness.
T/F     She took it once in her first trimester.
T/F     The maitre d’ is long gone.
T/F     When I look at my reflection in a storefront window, I see a stranger.
T/F     Today is the first day of the rest of my life.
T/F     My mother is deaf.
T/F     My father was born without a right arm and half of a left.
T/F     My twin sister is blind.
T/F     Everything I am wearing matches.


25. You are drawn to people who

a) need me.
b) need nothing from me.
c) need saving.
d) are drawn to themselves.
e) can draw.


26. Fill in the Blank

a) Today’s date____________________.
b) Date of the procedure______________.
c) Number of weeks into the second trimester____________________.
d) Date of your measles booster______________________.
e) Date you last felt anything ____________________.


27. Define avulsion.

a) Something that deceives the senses or mind, appearing to exist when it does not.
b) The act of making an indirect reference to somebody or something.
c) The flow or wash of the sea or other body against a shore.
d) The acknowledgement that something is true.
e) The tearing away or detachment of part of the body, resulting from an accident or performed during surgery.


28. What do you remember about the day you left the clinic?

a) Nothing.
b) Nobody knew where I was.
c) I felt light-headed.
d) Daylight Savings Time made it dark.
e) It was going to be okay.


29. The speed you were traveling at the moment of impact –

a) slow.
b) fast.
c) 35 mph.
d) 35 mph.
e) the speed of light.


30. The height of the pedestrian overpass above the freeway –

a) too close for comfort.
b) too low.
c) too high.
d) 40 feet
e) three stories.


31. The number of times you looked up while driving under and thought about how easy it would be to jump from there

a) 10.
b) 50.
c) 100.
d) nobody’s business.
e) all of the above.


32.  What you saw before it happened –

a) nothing.
b) the windscreen wipers struggling to keep up.
c) a brief interruption in the black expanse before me.
d) the dial on the radio flickering as the jazz station went out of range.
e) a doll falling from the overpass.


33.  Which of the following statements is the least true?

a) Life’s a bitch and then you die.
b) Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.
c) Into each life a little rain must fall.
d) She who hesitates is lost.
e) There but for the grace of God go I.


34.  Which of the following statements is the most false?

a) This test is hard for me.
b) Inner peace.
c) When the sky falls, catch larks.
d) What the eye doesn’t see the heart doesn’t grieve.
e) Have a nice day.


35. How many times have you asked yourself these questions?

a) Who knows?
b) 10.
c) 100.
d) 1000.
e) Does it matter?


36.  Examples of things that don’t make sense.  Circle all that apply.

a) The wrong place at the right time.
b) Jesus as a pretty white boy.
c) The dormancy of yeast.
d) That you don’t see what I do.
e) How we accomplish breathing. 


37.  Whose body came through the windscreen first?

a) Body?
b) Nobody.
c) The baby’s.
d) The mother’s.
e) The body of Christ.


38.  What you saw after it happened –

a) nothing.
b) the windscreen wipers applauding.
c) red cellophane and silence.
d) a hole in the windscreen, on the passenger side, like a still-life tornado.
e) glass, light, rain, air.

 


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