“I’ll jump in. I get it,” the man who offered me the beer can said. 

He was wearing a cat suit of all gold and looked like the man in the blue and silver. They kind of matched. They both shone. I didn’t even realize that someone had turned all the starlights off until then. I looked above him and saw the string there, with the translucent plastic, off so it was only the fire lighting our faces. They both looked like skin of shiny satin you could stroke, like big, manicured cats. When the man in all gold leaned forward, I saw he had the same headband as my old friend. Gold coughed, passed the joint to the Blue who stared at me and whispered,“We’re aliens.”

 

People have me all wrong. They have their projections about me but they don’t know me. I let a finger trail over his jeans as I moved past him at the crosswalk. They think, this person is abrasive, too Machiavellian, maybe a bit undiscerning. I pause in the middle of the street so two men split and walk around me. I just tell it like it is and swallow what I want. I was around 12th and Chestnut and walking back home after stopping at Capogiro, as was my normal routine at the time.

 

“I’ll take banana,” I said.

An unkempt young boy; blue eyed and pocked, was working today. His black hair was greasy and he leered. No time for games.  I had finished the sorbet long ago and needed to get home. I have drawing to do, I thought but truthfully, the weed had worn off and I was tiring of my playlist.

“I better get home,” I said out loud, standing abruptly and ignoring the group of men in the corner who had been staring at me. Blushed, I coughed, as if I hadn’t spoken the first time. Just a clearing of the throat. Just a narration in my ears to my mother on the phone I clutched tightly.

I love walking. I turn the headphones up. For miles. Someone bought me these noise cancelling headphones recently  and now I can block out all of the traffic. I can block out the passing screeches. The city titter. Horns. Groups. I can listen to The Gauntlet.  This is the part where you are about to start running. Your lungs build. Chest pounds the bones with inimitable force like  bong. If you could hear your pulse in your head, it would sound like tick tick tick. Rapid.  Mladic. 

 

I love this song, I thought, closing my eyes and  turning my noise cancelling headphones up.  I didn’t even feel the guy try to grab my bookbag as I stepped off the curb. I didn’t feel the breeze, just the hot, mid-day sun and one bead of sweat roll from the top of my throat to the bottom. And it’s accompanying electric guitar. My right knee pinched and the temper of the drum, flared, spurring into several taps at once. My pulse to match, I could feel  even though I couldn’t hear as I turn my headphones up.  The sound rising. Not the man yelling behind me. Not the screech of the tire on the pavement. Not the horn. Not the violent crescendo I wanted but (perhaps)the violent crescendo I deserved.

“The Woman Who Saw Her Own Death” or “The Woman Who Walked for Miles”

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