By six am, I was up, showered and dressed. Since no one was up, I dawdled in front of the mirror. I didn’t know where my chapstick was–hadn’t used it since I got here. My bottom lip was cracked and sore. It looked like I had developed a fat lip in the night, possibly biting it during my frenetic sleep. I ripped a loose piece of skin off of it and watched it turn from a grayish-pink to bright red. Touching it to feel the moisture, then tasting it to confirm, as if the mirror weren’t enough. My lip is bleeding.  Having slept for almost 15 hours, I was antsy to get outside. I wiped the blood on a tissue and threw it in the trash. The bed was wet from sweat, urine and smelled but I ignored. I didn’t tell anyone before I left the house and no one heard me. Quiet, stealth, I put my shoes on last. They were sneakers, not platforms, not heels like Camille wears. I never tell anyone anything. Though, I realized looking back it would have been better if I did. Then they would have known where I was. My phone was dead. I just needed to walk.I told myself not to go far. I told myself just to walk a mile. I told myself I fainted yesterday. I told myself the address twice just in case.
By 6:30, I guessed I was three miles away but f e e ling better. This is usual. I wasn’t hungry but I wasn’t passing out and the headache was gone. Stopped in front of another rancher, a blue one, I first noticed the awning: white, cracking, then the screen door with a giant hole in it.
“So many issues,” I murmured.
Then I was gliding, tiptoeing up the driveway like I didn’t want to get caught. As if I was going to break in. I don’t know what came over me. I was  being carried. There was a voice in my head that said go and I did. It wasn’t my voice. Snickering. There was snickering in my head. I was halfway up the walk when I felt my abdomen turn in on itself, like a mouth eating itself, or trying to swallow its tongue, then a rush of fluid up my chest. With less than a second and half of a blink, I keeled over and began vomiting.
“Hey, hey!” someone was yelling behind me.
I felt dizzy. Not just dizzy, but pressed to the ground like something was pushing me down.
“Hey!” a man was only five feet behind me. “Girl, are you ok?”
Whipping my head around, something flicked onto the edge of his pants. Streaks of yellow bile coated my chin. He backed up.
“Girl,” I laughed. “That’s so southern.”
Beaming up at him, I could feel the wetness of my chin. Snickering in my head.
“What?” he retreated another step.  “You ok? You live here?”
“No,” I pressed my palms down on the driveway to stand.
“Easy, easy, now.”
I could hear his steps without seeing him then felt him cup my arm.
“I need a phone.”
“ I got one.”
“I mean, I need a ride back.”
“I don’t have a car,” he said.
We made eyes when we stood together. Same height flat footed. His face was sunken, like he had lost weight unexpectedly or the way you look when you’re starving but he wasn’t that thin. Scrawny though, but strong. Had no issue helping me up. He had large brown eyes and a little gray on his beard. He was on a blue Schwinn wearing a blue t-shirt and jeans. He looked to be in his fifties. Smelling of cigarettes, maybe some whiskey, he reminded me of everyone.
“Can you call me a taxi?”
“Do you have any money?” he said.“I have a debit card.”
“Ok, ok,” he placed his hand in his pocket.
Watch out,  a voice in my head said.
“What?” I responded.
“What?” he looked at me, phone in hand, eyebrow lifted, closer to me then before.
Restive, in stillness feeling more disoriented, I began to walk. Took only one step towards and him and put my arms out. I’ll always remember the expression on his face: paused, confused but emollient. A grace took over him and he turned towards me as if we were going to dance. His hands were coarse and rough around my wrist, but his touch was easing, conciliatory. His lips were chapped like mine but not bleeding. Same height as me so our foreheads lined up. Bowing, I could see his Nikes were all black like mine, then spotted with yellow like mine as I let the last of my stomach empty onto them

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