Dedicated to a great buddy of mine. Happy birthday, bro.
The air was thick with the color of a metropolis drowned in fog. She was standing near a vent, stale hot streams running through her hair and dancing with her clothes, hesitant shadows in the rich light. In the clouded city, beneath a makeshift overhang scaffold that screamed warning in neon from miles away, she stood there, everything around her a precisely placed cutout framing a figure in the distance, someone who fits but isn’t there. Her thoughts mirrored the outside of her head, a slow heavy enveloping blur of a colorful vapor blanket. What little attention she gave the surrounding world was all focused on warming up her cold-bitten red fingers.
The tremolo of nearby passing cars, speeding in and out of her view, fell in rhythm with the pulsating static sandstorms she felt around her head. She called it a pleasure hat. It was the hat mescaline covered her head in whenever she felt a little lost, a little out of place, when she had nothing better to do.
Her eyes were closed. Dizzying patterns of color and shape had been dancing on and on and over the insides of her lids like a scene on a loop, alive with their own freakish intensity, and as she was falling back-first through an array of rhombi that looked like ripples in space, immaterial rips and tears in the fabric of the universe, mind and body abuzz she stood still, waiting. Perhaps not waiting, perhaps having waited and not having gotten what she expected. Maybe just resting. Not even she knew.
All that mattered there and then was the hum. The sound everything makes, the involuntary collective field recording of things existing alongside one another, vibrations meeting and mixing, colliding and joining to live on as something new, pouring over her senses. And the worries, the hurt and fear and endless anxieties she had, those were but another noisy eroded high-pitched sine wave among million others. Safer. She felt safer this way. It dissolved feelings of being on her own to solve everything, the feelings that’d been scouring the back of her skull every now and then when she wasn’t busy.
She was rarely busy.
But she was often abuzz.
Often enough to make her feel ashamed. The mental equivalent of a bad alcohol hangover.
And the red light of incandescent tube lights above her cast a thick filter over her, turned purple in the crispy blue night. It was beautiful. Not her, not the streets nor the lights. The composite daguerreotype. It was phenomenal.
She stood there, indecisive, unsure where to go next. There were so many ways to go, options and possibilities abounding without a clue as to what direction to take the first step in. The warmth and safety she had now, she knew it’d have to be let go of and left behind soon. She would have to move on and go. The where of it was not important, it had to be this way, the way it’s always been.
Crude little lines of color, flashes, glimpses of what could be, encouraging and debilitating simultaneously, in front of her eyes. And she felt overwhelmed.
Her eyes swung open. She shouldered her way through, stopped, thinking she was headed the wrong way, already, shook her head in dismissal and kept forward. Didn't matter if it was the right way or not. She’d get somewhere, that’s what mattered.
The people around her barely noticed. Who’d give a girl who seems to know where she’s going a second thought. Obtrusively heavy music compressed the air in regular intervals of slow beats from far away, thumps that shook the dust off buildings, getting louder and sharper with every step, breaking words into unintelligible fragments as soon as they left the mouth. People headed the same way, figured they’d know where they’re going, what to expect. She followed them, eyes darting left and right to make sure she hadn’t lost track of anyone.
But despite her convincing herself, successfully, that she didn’t know, she knew exactly what to expect. Just had to try and see for herself. See and learn what not to expect.
Left goes there, right goes there, left goes here and right goes here. A reminder. It reminds me. If it reminds me, it must’ve had minded me before. Or did I remind it? And if I did, did I mind it before? Did I mind it into existence of my own accord or did it mind itself inside?
What was I thinking about.
The pleasure hat throbbed mildly around her ears, the hum lost for her in itself.
released December 12, 2016
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