Another Thursday night, I thought as I unlocked the door to my apartment and felt my place hostage by the summer heat. The dishes in the sink were a crawling creature with ceramic discs for tentacles making its way across the kitchen counter and soon unto the floor. Flies buzzed somewhere in the dining room and I almost walked back out.
Back out to where?
A gentle lapping wave of anxiety hit me from the left and I leaned against the quietly-gurgling refrigerator. A bug was crawling on the back of my neck before I reached for it and brought it to my eyes. It was about one-third of an inch in size. Dark brown with a hint of cobalt blue. Its little legs waving hello.
Maybe his parents are waiting eagerly for him at home? I wondered.
He will not be arriving today…or any other day, I thought as I dropped him and stepped on him slowly. His crunch reminded me of loose gravel.
Sometimes I get stepped on.
Other times I do the stepping.
Most people don’t really want to think independently or make decisions; they’re herd animals with herd instincts to keep to the middle of the group where it’s safest, don’t stand out too much, don’t move too far away from convention, etc. They want to be led and dictated to. But they’re stubborn, mulish animals and they like to think they’re independent and free.
She had relied on the beauty of the biological imperative to bolster her insecurities. Brooding vampire eyes from across a room, the way she slowly chewed on a pen at work behind her desk, the walk that never failed to summon many a hard-on–had all been motions that managed to manipulate the opposite, and the same (at times), sex. Her designer-hand mirror was now revealing the age in her countenance. Aching had begun at her knees at the end of every week. At lunch break, she developed a curious ritual, in which she would work on her last bite and study her hands in the midst of it. She studied the crack and folds in her fingers, the bedding of her nails, the beating of time and the scorching of the sun upon them. The laughter of children sounds like chirping birds, she thought, and was amazed at how it no longer bothered her…she liked it and admitted it to herself out loud. Their smiles filled her with a warmth she was unaware was lacking. Or perhaps, it was a recent development, she thought. The monkey bars across the street in the distance from where she sat eating her sushi outside her office, appeared…somber. It looked almost obscene without those terrible creatures crawling all over it. Tears began to form in her eyes and she would smile them away as she looked at her phone out of habit, searching for something, someone, anything…anything that would break the spell…this new found spell which invokes emotions once thought crippling.
“Friday today. Any plans, Glenn?”
“Christ, you scared me Jordan. Don’t do that.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.”
“No, it’s ok. I was just…in deep thought.”
“Oh? Do tell.”
“Oh, no, it was nothing.”
“C’mon, Glenn, you can tell me. Is it that guy your slapping bodies with?”
“Oh, goodness. I envy your life, I really do.”
“Geez, you’re sweet,” she said rubbing her hands and squeezing out a smile.
“Well, not all of us have perfect lives.”
“That is true. What are you doing this weekend?”
“Taking care of my little angels. I got three of them, as you know and Tom is away for work in Louisiana again.”
“I love them and all, but cheese and rice can they drive me up the wall.”
“Well, if you ever need a babysitter, just let me know. I don’t mind,” she said sitting up and drawing her knees together.
“Oh, no, I couldn’t put you out.”
“Well, you’re just so outgoing and men love you everywhere you go…and that body of yours…I’d kill for a body like that. But like I said, three crazy kids later, the body isn’t what it used to be.”
“I think your life–“
“Jesus, look at the time, I gotta pick up my kids early today. See Monday, Glenny Glen. And have a little fun for me, ok?”
“You know I will, girl,” she yelled out after her waving goodbye.
There are sounds I can’t describe, sounds that dwindle past the ceiling in my home…somewhere near the telephone wires, perhaps. It feels as if it should be snowing the closer I lean my ear in to determine it, except it doesn’t snow where I live. For a short moment, I think of my first crush–I was seven years old. I sat next to her in her backyard as we ate cereal from the box. We stared at each other and her dimples made me feel at ease. Her parents were at work.
of a cockroach
behind my kitchen trashcan
each other slowly
with all the time
in the world
Enjoying the absurdity of our world is painfully important. The pain in our world disguised itself as pleasure.
She had a boy’s name, my second crush. I can’t remember it now. She had very long blonde hair. Everyone would say so. Japanese eyes. She was the most popular girl in junior high. It started with a T, her name. Her and her girlfriends designed a ouija board from notebook paper and harsh penmanship one Monday during school. She turned around and stared at me on the gym bleachers.
“Want to join us?”
“No, the wall behind you. Yes, you, silly. Get over here,” she said with dimples.
I was too skinny
curly puffy hair
I want to live a life where a spinning, smiling California sun greets me. I want to wear shirts other colors besides the absence of it. I reach out and touch the leaves of trees and bushes while I walk, mostly to keep my anxiety disorder pacified. I remind myself to breathe gently: inhale through my nose…exhale slowly and quietly through mouth.
Cranberry juice is my
drink at midnight
to take a break from water
which is mostly all I drink
If I do it too fast, the room starts to spin
The ringing in my ears no longer surprises me
I want to go to sleep early like most people out there who are not on drugs
I sit on my black leather couch and ignore the fungus in my toenails and bite my lip while I type. I try to marry the moment. I want to deceive my brain that physical pain should take precedence over the existential l’appel du vide. I taste blood. The salty flavor is pleasant in the midst of my latent sugar addiction.
I am glad I do not know my father, so that I will never know if I have become him.
I am glad I do not know my mother, so that I can’t call her asking her what the weather is like
in her part of the planet.