The mountain of spaghetti sat on the table as a mountain would rest on the crust of the earth. Nora found it intriguing that the plate, which was situated between the table and the mass of spaghetti was so often ignored. For without the plate, the spaghetti surely would not be there, nor would a mountain appear out of nowhere. The human mind saw the mountain, noted the earth, but they seldom noticed or understood the tectonic plates that caused these mountains to form. Likewise, Nora noticed, we would not say that "There's some spaghetti on a plate on the table," but simply "There's some spaghetti on the table," ignoring the plate entirely. Why this was, why the human mind ignored some things, Nora couldn't begin to fathom.

"Honey, is there something wrong?"

"No mom, just thinking," Nora answered before sticking her fork into the spaghetti that seemed to erupt with red sauce. The question was tiring. Having had dissociative identity disorder, commonly known as multiple personality disorder, for several years, there were two questions Nora was quite sick of: One being "Is something wrong?" and the other being "What is your name?" The former bugged her the most. The latter was simply a way for others to discern who they were talking to, so she didn't truly have an issue with that question.

Nora's mother, Florence, looked down at the table. She was concerned for her daughter, who was continuing to create alters. The doctors told her about her daughter's condition five years ago, and at that time Nora only had three alters: Rita, Becka and Anna. Since then, her daughter had accumulated so many alters, Florence could no longer count them on her hands. She felt like a slight failure for not being able to memorize all of her daughter's many alters, but really it was an irrational feeling. No one could possibly hope to memorize the complex mind and habits of every single one of Nora's alters.

Florence didn't say anything more, knowing that if she badgered Nora about her disorder, the girl would either snap at her or Florence would soon see another person in Nora's eyes. Florence didn't know what was worse: Being unable to establish any real connection with her daughter or being unsure of how safe she and her son were at any one moment. Some of Nora's alters weren't exactly pacifists.

Florence's son, Nora's brother, sat at the side of the table, slurping his noodles obnoxiously. He had light brown hair and the same freckles his sister so proudly seemed to boast. He was a quiet child who didn't fully understand his sister's predicament. All he knew was that sometimes his sister wanted to play with him, and other times he had to keep far-- very far-- away from her. Nora was sixteen while her brother was twelve, but because of her alters and their varying ages, it was not strange for the young boy to find a playmate in Nora.

Florence's eyes scanned the pictures on the wall. She always kept pictures of her two children all over the house, just in case she ever wanted to see one but was unable to at the moment. There was a picture of Nora and Phillip, her son, riding bikes together at the park, a picture of Nora eating a five-scoop ice cream cone and a picture of Florence holding Nora up so she could reach the cupboard. Florence sighed, remembering those times before her daughter was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, or DID. Those times were so simple and pleasant and now she had to ask her own daughter who she was every day just so she knew how to speak with her.

DID usually manifests because of some sort of emotional trauma where the individual creates alters to deal with certain situations in place of their host. DID usually includes a certain degree of amnesia or time loss, and it's generally accepted that the separate alters take control of the body, working separately. In all three respects, the therapists had told Florence that Nora was different. Linda assured Florence that Nora had never had any emotional or psychological hardship, leaving the reason for her DID unknown. Nora can't necessarily recall what separate alters do or say, but she seemed to have the ability at times, according to Linda, to converse with her other alters and learn their doings that way. And lastly, Nora's mind was more of a compilation of different personalities rather than a fractured mind. She liked to refer to her alters as "factions." As for who "Nora" was, the doctors believe in the rule that "the sum of the parts equals th whole" in Nora's case. According to the doctors, it seemed as though when Nora was Nora, she was actually a blending of her alters rather than a different person entirely.

Florence sighed. The disorder was just so complicated by itself, but with the extra "Nora" rules, that seemed less applicable to the average multiple, as they liked to call themselves, the disorder was just so frustrating.

Nora was watching her mother through her intelligent dark eyes. After hearing her sigh, Nora placed her fork down, not bothering to finish the rest of her spaghetti. She knew her mother was thinking of times passed. She knew her mother was wishing that she was not a multiple. Nora felt stung a bit, after all, the alters were her, they were just different parts of her. Nora felt very defensive about her alters when people felt pity for her, or when people speculate about integration. Truth be told, there were times when Nora wished she was just one person, in fact, these times outweighed any others by four to five. But the alters were a part of her and if she had the right to live, so did they. Nora often wondered if she could survive without her alters.

Nora pushed away from the table and made her way to the back door, opened it and headed outside. She needed to take a walk. Walks always calmed her down after she noticed things like that. She didn't blame her mom for wanting the old times back, but neither could she forgive her mom for not loving her alters as much as herself. Nora looked at the world around her, and found it to be boring, dull and gray. Now it was Nora's turn to sigh. The sky could not empathize with her, it was too boring and gray. It was far too simple to comprehend or portray her mind.

Nora began to cross the road when she began coughing uncontrollably. She stopped in her tracks as she tried to control the coughing that would surely soon be the death of her. She was so focused on the coughing, that she didn't see the car coming.