when I took the first half tab, it was a beautiful winter day and I was so lucid, I was able to walk into the Apple store to buy new headphones. I was able to walk into Target to grab some juice. I was able to give my juice to a woman on the ground outside. I was able to smile, buoyantly carried across town, text a friend and laugh gaily. the second half tab was blustery. new year’s day. a week later but a storm in between and there was too much ice out. i was stuck indoors.

sometimes I pretend a man is asking me something and it forces it to be truthful, blunt, terse. I don’t lie when I am in my imagination in this way, but I do lie. or rather, I twist things to see them from all different sides and I can land on truths that are more beside me than in me. the term is distortion.

it was noon when it hit me. I was afraid to go outside. afraid I would slip on the bridge and fall into the frozen river below. some recurring vision. now, I looked around at my cartoon apartment; pasted, covered in bright postcards I had made to guide me through the year prior. like a map. suddenly a choir of men:

what do you all day, Ava?

they say the first hour is the hardest but I know it’s the third when it’s fully digested. they say it’s one man but I say it’s three. they say  I wanted options and to name them. they say what do you want, AVA? they say I’m gonna kill myself and
I say

I think about killing myself all day.

draw the third heart on my hand and exhale. focus on not crossing the bridge all day.

“the third hour”

sometimes I pretend a man is asking me something and it forces it to be truthful, blunt, terse. I don’t lie when I am in my imagination in this way, but I do lie. or rather, I twist things to see them from all different sides and I can land on truths that are more beside me than in me.

distorting things into options that are more malleable.  what motivates me? water. i’m always in the water and I always was. swimming. dancing.  I used to love doing twirls and flips in the water. I was a very graceful gymnast at the pool and in the ocean. even from a young age, I could keep up with my brother and Amanda, my friend, two years my senior. I was fast and reckless. I loved touching the bottom of wherever we were: lake, ocean, bay, deep end. I always had to prove I could my hold my breath. my tactic was tried several times like a video game. if you have a ledge grab hold and push. if not, find strength right there in diaphragm. then swan dive, feet first, quickly to the bottom, touch it with force, hard, hit it, really feel it and launch yourself back upwards to the top before any of the other kids.  I especially loved challenging boys.I was very fast. I pointed my toes and I only needed the impact of the top of my feet. I was used to that stance. my dad always pointed it out. that I was always on my tiptoes and prancing, sort of twirling and also flapping my hands a bit. 

I was messy too. like my dad. that’s where I get it from. spilling everything. 

“I am my father’s daughter.” 

I am in a bathtub in the middle of a pandemic but I am also being pulled slowly into the sea sometime in the nineties. there are three hearts on my hand and I am here in a cartoon apartment pasted with postcards like compasses
and I think about
killing myself
all day.

“the third hour”

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