Today was a bad day. It was the first day of change; the transition. I always make transitions in winter in baths, in rest, enshrined in heat lamps and needles and the guidance of ghosts lining my corridor. I’m encouraged by darkness, not stalled by it. Cold forces rest. Dreams become the torch the sun had provided.
“I’m going to kill myself,” I said.
I was writing a list of foods I can no longer have and activities that I felt were harmful. That list contained everything I liked and craved and maybe loved in isolation, secrecy. Jump off the bridge, Catarina. I was not going to kill myself. I was going to do the thing that I hear others do in Ted Talks–how they change their life, lose no weight but find God or some twist or some other roadblock becomes their wife, but more whimsical and narrated.
“I have a tumor and a growing mucus that is choking me,” I state calmly.
My fits of emotion are from my diet which is causing me anguish which is causing my mood swings. I am rational. Every day, I remind myself why we are doing this.
“I have a tumor. My mother had a tumor that grew to be so obstructive she couldn’t swallow and had trouble breathing. When she arrived at the hospital, the nurses were astonished at how large it was. She was 37. I am 34.”
I examine my list of no’s and begin the yeses, feigning enthusiasm for the chore. I liked making lists, being organized, having things clean to the point of being immaculate, and being right. If it were up to me, I’d do nothing but clean my house all day until you could eat every meal off the floor, you’d be assured of its sanitation. However, life demanded more of me than that.
I no longer derive pleasure from consumption.
2. I will not kill myself.
3. There is a tumor growing in my body that I felt a year and a half ago when it was born.
4. I no longer derive pleasure from being right.
5. I no longer derive pleasure from food.
And I waited but I added it and erased it, but I added it first..
- I will kill myself.
I changed it.
- I will jump off the bridge.
It was like that. Three years ago, it started the same way. In bed by nine or ten, and up earlier and earlier as winter went on until we got to dawn. We etched our visions down. We dreamed lucidly, visited, invited guests. We had a plan then for now. I spit into a rag then as I do now. I complained of my stomach slightly changing but can’t explain it then as I do now. I felt my throat strangled by a ghost then but I don’t now. I don’t have time for that story. Today I am paranoid. I don’t want to think about the man’s voice, the fingers, my father’s voice, the things that I felt in that house that led me to fleeing, twice.
“How do I know that it’s haunted?” I push the asparagus around with my fork.
Retrospect is a cruel gift of the able, cognitively superior and of sound mind. I always thought my photographic memory was like cheating and now I pray it comes back. I’m unpretty now, exposed, this dirty secret; my venus in the 12th house full of affairs and hoarding, mostly things and food. So full in fact, our heroine, Veruca Salt, is spitting her dishes and lover’s hearts back up. I am wet like tides like ocean like flood. It comes pouring. Unpretty.
“How do we ditch them?” I asked Leana.
Become unpretty. Disgust them. Eat in front of them. Spit in front of them. Gain weight. I wanted an accident to leave a giant scar across my face. Wear dirt on your hands and knees. Dare him to watch you eat an entire chocolate cake with your hands while he touches his balls. It’s never over. They want more and you’re insatiable. I wanted something to ruin my face. Become unpretty. Swear at him. Poison your teeth with candy. Seethe. Hiss like the squirrel you cornered. Eat and hoard trash. Pick up straws. Become glued to your reflection. Have only affairs. Become mired in self elation, grasp at endings.
Spit up your food.
I’m laughing as the clock changes digits again. Mania is a one way street. Ground. Eat slowly, I repeat. Breathe. And I am fighting rhythym, cycles, no one has ever paid attention and that’s what I wanted. To be unseen, yet, privately adored. Every two years I have a giant episode of body fighting trauma.
I always meet them in winter.
I am reading old lines to remember.
When the only light is moon.
I am bathing in salt and taking activated charcoal.
Spit up your food.
You can attempt progress. I hate the old adage that people never change.
It’s the only thing they do.
I have added color to my bath: red tablets and the emptying of womb. I know the man is gone. His name was Dana.
“If we knew the bitch was going back for her sister, we would have started with the larynx,” I say out loud.
There is no one but me in the house. Three years ago my nerves caught fire and trampled this city with desire. I put a spell on this town.
What have you learned since then Catarina?
The fear of drowning propelled me, I spit into the tub. They feel the same.
“That I love gaaaaammmmeeeessss.”
I lean back in the water without fear of repercussion, palms out to show I’m serious.