January 11 2020
The apartment kind of moved like a wave, several, in fact, like a very small ocean grew from the carpet and each wave lifted me higher to the ceiling. Stuck on crest, I was anchored in the vibration right before the crash, high, the depth, the shock of being carried like that. I began to shake, ponder imminence, posture motionless, posture God, and then enact policy about it. I began to talk to me like this. You began to hear noises; check to see if it was the cat making them. You began to see slaughtered pigs at your bookshelf and the oven timer goes off in the middle of the night. You began to feel lethargic, take naps and wake up to apparitions in your doorway that kind of resemble Alex but also kind of resemble a human alligator. You hugged a small child at two am in your living room with no recognition of waking up or walking there. You began to chant his name. An upswing of movement takes over your legs; an endless urge to pace, to walk far. You began to wrap your body in layers and move things around; build shrines, hang postcards you had written to yourself like a map. The mother in you moves objects out of pathways for safety or tosses things over the bridge for luck: the coconut, the pearl necklace, the limpia leftovers. Your mouth keeps spilling his name and I love you and the euphoric laughter is the dead giveaway but life goes on. Fiddling, you shake. A nervousness begins.
You used to run around without a thought, numb, flask high. Once you ran to catch a plane but now you have responsibilities, an on time-Uber, a packed suitcase and passport. You began the slow climb to the emperor, responsibility, flossing daily and making lists. The euphoric laughter should have been the dead giveaway. The endless spinning and baths or the way you told him I can’t stop telling your friend I’m in love with him. You wore a red flag costume to the party but you maintained some composure anyway. Took some time off and a pay cut. Hugged yourself a lot. People really didn’t notice the muttering, the way you had to check things so often. You began to guess with 95% accuracy but hedged things to show effort. You were improving in your devolution. The night time became thick and mossy but during the day, you willed results; showed up early with coffee, felt responsible for your own volition. You showed up to the airport four hours early but ended up in Moscow anyway. These things really happened to you. Let go. These things all really happened.
Half has been burned the day your altar caught on fire for the third and last time but you still have the fortune from the cookie the flight attendant handed you:
I was awoken by Russian.
“Would you like a meal?” she repeated in English.
I had not planned to be on this Aeroflot flight on May 29th from Barcelona to JFK so I had not ordered a vegan meal. My meal had been eaten the day before by the famished traveler or curious Spanish tourist. Listless, probably actually starving, I decided to eat around the meat. I was only three hours in and trying not to count the full sixteen on my hand. I ate some spinach thing and a little cheese and a biscuit with butter, cheating. Who cares? I ate the fortune cookie last. I didn’t know Russians were so preternaturally oriented to include a chinese superstition but then again, I was melting into the seams of my seat so maybe I was reading everyone wrong. It read
He who stands at the place, goes back.
You begin again without pettishness. You say thank you to everyone anyway, honestly, being raised that way. You begin again with a prescription and the same chant.
“These things really happened to me,” is the first thing you plan to tell him.
I hear a knock on the door. It is probably ten am and I am under ten blankets, clutching my journal, remembering the way edges begin to rip, slowly at first and then all at once. The way they crack with heat or freeze; either fizzle red and spark, burst then settle away or break apart so clean and sharp to frosted fissure. The way you weather yourself like this: tense, under blankets, ignoring the pleading and loud “Hello” at your door.
“I don’t think anyone is home,” a man says.
“Ok, let’s try Dave,” the man says.
You pull two pillows over your head. You let the cat nest in your neck and close your eyes to a very steady purr that neither ceases nor slows in winter. You’re warm enough. You’re back in the trough and coughing. You’re anchored in crisis, looking up. You’re breathing. You’re almost luxuriating in it.