The roots of my hair fuzz up like lint. Late morning, unbrushed teeth, tacky banana breath, I log onto a Teams meeting. Sale reps still paint their faces for the camera but mostly everyone looks like a creeping pile of laundry.
It’s impossible to keep up with a body. My legs are frosted with pizza dough powder and all my underwear has blood stains.
“This book has good numbers at B&N. They love it, it’s super fun,” one of the reps says. Recently a friend pointed out how I’d adopted this abominable phrase. Super fun.
Here’s another one: happy to do it!
And: sure thing! Because sure is too casual but thing makes it spunky and white as hell.
During the meeting, I am waterboarded by emails.
I start to feel sick so I take a walk. Crying is a lot like barfing. You can walk around all day on the brink of it, but if you let it go in public you’ll make a lot of people uncomfortable.
On Steinway, an ambulance speeds the wrong direction down a one-way street. In the process, it makes a patient out of a pedestrian. That’s manifesting.
There’s this spot a couple blocks down from my apartment. A curb on the sidewalk just shaded by trees. It’s the type of spot you say I’m coming back all the time, for, and then return just once and think, What did I see in this place?
Home can’t be forced.
I’m awaiting a COVID test at City MD. The City MD is a conveyer belt of patients asking the same questions, receiving the same answers. The paperwork offsets the panic.
My eyes are glazed on this Lifetime movie. Romance plot. Single mom. On vacation.
The man at the front desk isn’t sure if he has insurance for an exam on a possibly fractured foot bone. He contacted his employer this morning but still hasn’t heard back.
“Without insurance it will be $200 upfront for the visit. Not including blood work, medication, and scans.”
“Would the ER cost less?”
“I have no idea,” the receptionist says.
I wonder if a serial killer ever caught COVID from a victim. Would he come to City MD like a normal person to get tested? Why not, right? No way the doctors would be able to tell.
When I was a girl I often proclaimed I’d rather die than be raped. When I was a woman I learned the two weren’t mutually exclusive.
On my way home I learn I don’t have COVID, I’m just depressed from staring at a screen all day. That can have adverse effects on one’s health, for sure.
Never pay more than four dollars for a bagel with butter. Jesus, what is New York coming to?
The fire escape has spotty Wifi but at least I get to be outside. My downstairs neighbor swings from her backyard hammock. Swings hard, like a bored little kid. Like she didn’t pay for the thing that quivers, threatens to break.
She looks so cool. I crush on her hopelessly. With her ripped jeans and Odd Future sweatshirt and bandana tied around her neck. Old hippie rock echoing from her Macbook. Staring at the fence, I bet her mind is bubbling.
I like the rough girls, the funny girls. The uncaring and kind girls. Girls with obsessions that push them over the edges of themselves.
I’m tired of uptight girls, perfect girls, abiding and agreeable girls. I want blessed disagreement. Rocket fueled, bounding up the stairs by twos, tripping over conversation girls. Ones whose revelations are loud and laughing, who don’t dare to hide these moments that make it all worth it.
Looks like I made a few typos in my imprint-wide memo. It’s like a contest for who can point them out first.
Everyone thinks I’m bad at my job, but if they would only let me write past reports, continue over the page to a description of a Nor’easter, the fat rains as I lay in the grass, teeter on the brink of drowning. If only they knew what I could say past the corporate Gregorian Chants.
Five o’clock, you know what that means? Depersonalization time!
I was washing dishes, wavy. Feeling like an orphan to my fading parents. In the rush of cold water new eyes clicked into place, my older self looking out from her perch.
My lines deepened, face drooped, joints tensed. The old crone possessed me for a moment, warping time—fuck the linear model. It’s deja vu. She’s been here before. I’ve been here before.
She’s just as scared as I am now. Just as lonely. Loneliness doesn’t always look like sadness. It can look like desperation. Panic.
On stage, “Holding out for a Hero” plays as the main character pulls the chord Flash-Dance style and dowses herself in benzodiazepines.
i need a hero
a liquid hero
a pharmaceutical hero
an herbal hero
a surgeon hero
a cave diver hero.
my best friend waits to hangout with me.
my partner offers to come over.
my mother says she feels okay, don’t worry.
my father says bcenncjimiqmeudiend
my mentor offers wisdom through text.
my grandmother is sweet as crying rain.
I have to remember the good. The people are the good.