A series of thoughts on self and illusions

Some thoughts. Some memories. Some things that are in between, but not quite there.

Save Face

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I can’t see her face when it’s above the sky. She is tall and looking up at her is like staring at a cliff face while waves crash at her from below. But when she looks at my eyes, she is as young and small as me. I can see her, but she’s drowning. And she smiles back.

~

Yes and No

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Yes, yes, yes, yes.

Why cant you say no? I don’t know. I don’t know, I don’t know. No. No. No. I can’t do anything. But you can do something. No, I can’t. If you could say it now, why not then? Stop. Go on! Stop. Stop. I don’t understand why you can’t.

I don’t understand either.

~

Black

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Don’t wear black, they said. Don’t wear black.

I didn’t. But I saw a lady standing tall with a black dress, and I thought I should try to be like her.

I didn’t try.

~

Honey and Wax

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My hands rest on the desk, tapping an empty rhythm. I don’t fit here. This desk and its cave and its people don’t fit me. I’m inside myself and outside myself with a hive of bees for a head. Someday it’s going to drop. And the bees are going to fly out, and all that’s left will be a husk of honey and wax. Sweet, sweet honey.

~

Warm Lights and Sweet Smells

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It’s a thunderstorm. But not like the ones you see in movies with people running for cover and pedestrians, soaked and drooping and dried out. It’s quiet and rumbly. Warm and brown and orange light that seems like it’s carrying the bread to me. Orange is a good color because it’s warm and fuzzy and feels like a hug. It has a soft glow to it, like the battered oven in our kitchen. It dampens out the musty blue and gray outside and the white teardrops on the window. The brown smell fades into black and I can feel curses a room over, where smoke slithers out of the doorway. Like always.

~

Oceans and Cement

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If you look closely, you can see the cement plains. Sometimes there are red lights blinking to a silent rhythm. It’s as if someone accidentally hit the “clear” button on a video game’s models, and all that’s left is the single plane of gray, gray, gray. Even the sky seems a little less saturated, a dark sheet where you can’t tell if it’s clouds and clouds or just the void. There’s a girl up ahead that I’ve known forever, and I don’t know when I met her or where we’re going, but I’m coming with her. There’s no time here. The only thing that anchors us here is the single display on my watch, glowing “5:45 am”. Blinking. Like the red lights.

Lately I look back and wonder if that was all a dream. It’s like the fog over a river. It passes by and you see a blue sky, chatting people, cars for forever, the ocean where the cement plains once were, and everything you saw was never there. But if it was a dream that wouldn’t explain how my feet got me here, what happened between there and here. Then and now.

~

A Face on the Edge of My Sight

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Grace is her name. It’s plastered everywhere, and you can’t walk across the street without seeing her face staring from a wall behind a field of blurred heads. Blank, blank, blank, but her eyes. I know her eyes a million times over, but I don’t know where she lives. She liked to go to the ice cream shop every Sunday. That’s where people last saw her. Do you know her? No, but my cousin was friends with her. Do you know her? No, but I’ve seen her name on the newspaper sometimes. Do you know her? No. No, no, no.

I know her. I don’t know where she lives or what kinds of clothes she wears, except for the blue cardigan she wore in her picture. But I know her, and I think she would know me if she saw me through the gray, worn paper her name is printed on.

They took the papers down last Friday. There is a white, empty spot on the wall and in my vision where I can see her presence.

I hope Grace remembers me.

~

Inhuman

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We have interest in others because they have something to offer: friendship, a story. Money or social status if you’re that kind of person.

Chattering teeth, a tightly worn raincoat, and a ball in his gut twice the size of Mars.

We promise things because we don’t have them now, but we mean to give them later, we promise, we promise.

Light steps, heavy splashes.

Because that’s human nature. We want and we want and we want. But we never give.

A heavier heart.

But I met a woman who wasn’t human. She laughed and smiled like there was nothing weighing her head down. Gave hugs that felt like the sun, gave kisses and words that tasted like chocolate.

A rush up the stairs, to the front door, past the coat rack, past the worries and whims. No time to put the shoes up, but they wouldn’t have heels to join them anyway.

She gave.

The door had been left unlocked when he came in, the rug hastily thrown aside. If he had looked closer, he might’ve felt the remains of a warm presence on the sofa where she sat, or the silent whir of the coffee machine. But it was cold inside the house now.

She promised, too. And maybe a human would break their promises, but she wouldn’t.

Her room was open. It was bare. Bleak. The window curtains were closed and the light was turned off. And he only realized the mud from his boots was soaking into the carpet when he looked down at all the piles and piles of clothes that weren’t there. The bed was neatly made and smelled like lavender soap. But not like her.

I know she wouldn’t.

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