There were times before, and after, but I barely remember the ones in between. There weren’t enough of them.
There was the time we walked home from the store and saw a striped grey kitten in an abandoned lot. It followed us home and my mother didn’t want to keep it. But I kept it anyways. It ate smelly food and I named it Skittles. I never asked how she felt when I insisted on taking it for a walk to the line of stores we called downtown. That was before, when my mother still had her adventures.
When I wake up in the morning, I can’t see the roof of my apartment. I close my eyes again. Immediately, I remember what I forgot to finish yesterday. I rub my eyes open, they’re sore and puffy, but the roof seems to be obscured still. It’s covered in something, something green in the grey light, but I need my glasses before I can figure out what it is. I bury my face into the warm pillow but it’s too late: I’m already awake and I know there won’t be anymore sleep until after midnight.
There are things down there that you would never expect. There are things down there that you would never believe existed. Long-forgotten treasures, diamonds and gems, covered with a thick layer of grime and something else. Memory. A shipful of greasy shapes and fluid memories lounge comfortably on the bottom of some far away place.
Warning: The following is a vivid description of anxiety and panic attacks. Some readers may be triggered by the depictions. [What’s a writing drill? Read this.]
It starts with a bite. A little prick somewhere in the middle. Your thoughts, like your heartbeat, run a little faster, hot blood running the poison around your system quicker than you can think “ouch”. Then another bite, and another, as thought after thought clouds your vision, blurring out the sharp edges. The worry sets in, and you left the antidote next to your unopened Guide to Meditation at home.
They don’t tell you just how vast and expansive it all really is. They can’t tell you how open and rocky and beautiful and serene these seas really are. They can’t. You get to figure that out on your own. They can only take you by the water wings and drop you off the edge of the pier, hope you float. Better yet, you start to swim. Continue reading
Looking down, people moved in groups like chess pieces. The courtyard was a board of white and black, the shadows from the circling trees sank unendingly into the earth. Benches and signposts glowed white in the moonlight but reflected nothing. People moved quickly across, zigzag, groups unravelling, gone. Continue reading