Somewhere in the city, I was walking. And whistling. I guess it was more like a hum but quiet. Slightly tense, I moved my hands in a gestural manner: an old habit of mine. I have a nervous disposition. My fingers stretched against my tights so I could feel the nylon. It was more dense than nylon but my shins were lined in goosebumps. My legs were wrapped in a thicker fabric like leggings but sheer so the wind cut through. I don’t remember carrying anything like a book-bag or purse. Room floated around me and it was just past dusk, slightly dark. It was night when I arrived. I had marched a long time through the city to get to this party; this specific party. I was dressed appropriately although I did not look at my face in a mirror so I cannot tell you what I looked like only what I felt like: airy, like vapor rising past an edge.
The last thing I remember before turning the corner to get on your block was that I had no idea if I had driven or not. I had the sensation of getting out of a car earlier but truly I didn’t have any recollection of it. My body was tired but I didn’t feel tired. I had walked for miles. When I opened the door to your place, it felt familiar; not the place but the way I entered. It was as if I always open the door on my own. There was a gathering in the center and you turned to greet me with a chilling passivity and I smiled back with every tooth. I embraced you which was out of my character for me. Not warmth I lack but ownership. You said:
You look taller.
I looked down to see myself in boots and my knees shaking. I felt the sweater on my shoulders as you turned to put your arm around my waist. I held it there. Not you, I held the feeling of becoming my body, fully clothed and it felt sudden. This is what I am wearing. Even though you delivered a verbal tepid reception, you grabbed me like I was yours. You brought me closer to the kitchen but a dark swarm entered. I looked sideways to follow it. My friend Reagan approached me from the other side. I’m being flanked. I was distracted long enough to ignore the person sneaking out the back door.
“Hi!” she embraced me like we were friends and pulled me to the couch.
Funny how recollection tricks you. There was someone else in the kitchen who slipped out the back door as I sat down but I would tell you then on the couch, with her, that never happened. I would embrace Reagan like an old confidante even though I barely knew her. I would tell you it was comfortable even though I felt set up. I looked down at my dress. A dress. I’m wearing a dress.
“How are you?” she smiled brightly in my face.
There was nothing memorable about her except her green eyes. They were beautiful and I panicked. I swallowed big like I was swallowing an apple core and I held her hand like we knew each other forever. Turning to look for him, she squeezed it.
“Let’s catch up, hon.”
I kept turning my head to understand the new layout. There were candles lining the floor to the stairs but the staircase was on the opposite side. When I turned back it also appeared that the stairs were in the right place even though there were none near the front door. It was like the room was cut with mirrors. It felt like a stage. I don’t think there is an upstairs.
“ I want to see my reflection,” I suddenly said.
“Hahaha omg,” she patted my leg. “Listen, I don’t know why you would trust him. He’s an alcoholic and manipulative.”
I swallowed again and stood up. I should confront him. Where did he go? I walked away from her and realized the entire party had cleared. It was just the three of us. He greeted me without his shirt and I saw a tattoo. There were two. I couldn’t read the bigger one.
“Are you staying or leaving?” he said.
His eyes were blue, bright and opulent but closed like a fresh paved walk of ice.
Felt like I was diving.
I headed towards the door that was on the right side even though the kitchen and stairs were misplaced. I stepped out before I could change my mind, before I could stop and pause and demand my reflection. Let me use the bathroom. There were no cars anymore. No streetlights or streets. I held the hem of my dress, once feeling thick like a sweater felt thinner, lighter, more spring but still black. I had come to the party in an all black spring dress and now I was shivering. It had dropped a few degrees in the forest. I was staring at a forest. I was staring at a row of trees and yellow eyes were popping out of them. They were slow, methodical and walking towards me. My hands were gripping the handles of a bicycle. I can’t bike through this. Turning around to plead with him, he was already closing the door.
“Can I just stay here awhile until the wolves go away?”
He shut the door without a word. I turned to face the forest I had just somehow safely walked through and pretended it was a street. The entire pack settled at the entrance and watched me. Gripping the bike, I turned back to make sure, yes, he shut the door. A giant red oak square with a brass knocker stared me in my face. I looked down.
I become so enlightened at the turn of it
I start writing with a desperation.
That’s what the note on my arm said.
And what did the note on his ribs say?
I interrupt myself. I am scrambling to remember the whole thing before it fades. It is 5:30 in the morning and I am in pain; not from separation but from untended rhythm. Maybe I never noticed my dreams had cadence. I have pages full of them. I begin again. I stopped myself from compulsively flipping through last year’s journal. Sitting is my weakness. The morning overcomes me and dawn is nice. I am too tired to move so I stay. It was a tattoo on his chest, not his ribs. He had two and I could only read one. They were connected over his body like a map.
I tapped my head with my pen and sat. Sometimes the morning is foggy and I just need a second to breathe. Coffee is too stimulating and I just need a quiet moment to breathe. One was so giant I couldn’t read it like it cascaded across his whole body, I reread my note from earlier and I put the pen back on the paper. Mania is a curse of the unrested but dutiful investigator. Jaw clenched already, my migraine set in. So I got up, beginning the walk for the day. It was 5:47 am and I was already almost out the door.