I cannot escape the house fast enough.
The smell of a breakfast that’s lasted for years,
You could be born
and still not sit through the entirety of that breakfast.
I am through the door
down the steps
I’m walking that heavy sticky dream walk
never fast enough.
Something inside you urges you on
warning you of a mysterious danger behind you
but you just can’t move any faster.
My gait is jerky, anxious.
I see girls with their long legs and casual stride, walking in comfortable ease, the ground below meeting their delicate feet without any hesitation.
They make walking look easy, because it should be, I know that it should be. There are many things that I know should be easy, natural, instinctual even. I never received the instructional booklet.
I see the same people every day on this street and I have never felt the slightest compulsion to either greet them or push them into traffic.
I can’t avoid it
it is there
like a rotting beached whale
no matter how much the smell warns you
you are curiously compelled to touch it
maybe even poke it with a stick
and watch it explode.
It is a warm morning in May and under my layers of clothing I feel droplets of sweat making their way down my chest and between my breasts.
My armpits are sticky and
my thighs rub together ever so slightly ruining my life with each moist point of contact.
I look at everyone else and they are radiant and fresh like a fucking shampoo commercial while I am frantic and sweaty.
Up the steps of Parker High.
That institutional smell already greeting me,
floor wax and disinfectant, mold and green beans.
I make my way towards the bathroom, my sanctuary.
The mint green walls comfort me and the white porcelain cools me.
I am alone and I stand perfectly still with my eyes closed
desperately trying to gain composure
I can feel my face cooling and my heart slowing to a somewhat normal pace.
I open my eyes upon my reflection
startled and then dissatisfied as usual.
My face a splotchy mess of pale white and humiliation red.
My hair an indecisive brownish hue of waves, falls in front of my face and down past my shoulders, clumped and matted with sweat at the nape of my neck.
My petite nose I look past, no complaints.
My mouth looks tired, a mouth that twists uneasily with unsaid words and struggles to remain closed against screams that fight day and night to get out.
I do not look at my eyes.
I run hot water and wash my hands several times, use too many paper towels and hold the warm damp paper to my face, inhaling the sweet woody smell and feeling almost ready.
Louise, who the fuck are you? I am sick of you and I don’t think I can be a part of this relationship anymore. I try and try to get inside your head and all you do is laugh. Or shut down, comatose, you might as well be dead. I can kill you, you know that don’t you? I might light you on fire and watch you burn, edges curling, blackening, the crinkling pages glowing red, embers fluttering into the night air. Will that wake you up? Make you pay attention for a goddamn second and follow me the way I have been following you for all these years. Following you down empty streets, never-ending hallways, cattle call cafeteria lines, endless rows of bathroom stalls and through mirrored images, inside out and multiplied.
Have you learned anything? Did you ever really open your eyes? Was it I who looked away? Did you tell me to fuck off a long time ago and I didn’t hear you?
Late last night I decided to write something different, as a distraction. I wrote a fucking sitcom, seriously. I created about 10 different characters and stupid scenarios for about 3 different episodes. So, take that Louise, I might just say, “fuck you” for real, move to Hollywood, write terrible sitcoms and campy commercials for tampons and hairspray. Yes Louise, I might give it all up for hairspray.
I have been writing for 8 hours, my back aches and my head is pounding. A pot and a half of coffee has kept the kid active all day. I feel like he is keeping me company, his kicks almost as rhythmic as my typing. I look back on what I have accomplished. Only 10 fucking pages. Seriously? I have been writing my entire life but I never really sat down and took it this seriously with a goal in mind.
I am committed to finishing my novel before I give birth because I certainly won’t have the time to write for 8 hours straight once he pops out and demands every ounce of energy from me. My days will be consumed with breast-feeding and changing diapers and not much else. Any writing I do will most likely be a sleep deprived mess of words, lacking much sense or creativity. Or maybe I will be so inspired by my new role in life that I will start writing fuzzy childrens books with mice that wear purple underwear and ride bicycles while knitting hats for friendly whales.
Speaking of whales, I am going to have to face my all time biggest fear; motherfucking orca whales. Yep, Shamu is the absolute scariest thing in the entire world. I can’t even look at them on television without screaming and throwing my hands over my face. Those damn Sea World commercials get me every time. They show the fucking things flying, literally flying through the sky and I am supposed to act normal?
Well, I am going to have to start acting normal because I don’t want the kid to be afraid of something as stupid as a whale. I mean, in what situation am I ever going to find myself alone in the open water surrounded by killer whales? Which actually is not my real fear. I have dreams where killer whales are no longer confined to the sea or swimming pools at theme parks. They slither up and down city streets and make their way into my home, their giant black and white slimy bodies hovering above my bed, that giant eyeball staring right at me. Oh god, they are so fucking disgusting. But, I have to get over it. I cannot react to a Sea World commercial with a hysterical yelp once the kid is here, only encouraging other such irrational fears in him.
I’m not saying that I ever intend on going to Sea World with the kid. His Father can take him and they will have a lovely time while I stay home, far away from that big eye pressed up against the glass. If he brings home a giant stuffed Shamu I must smile pleasantly even if I am screaming on the inside. So, I guess this is just one more sacrifice I am going to have to make for the sake of a healthy, happy child. Pretending to like Shamu, I can handle that one.
It is decided, I am going to finish this fucking thing. I began a novel of sorts about 6 years ago, working on it off and on, in short bursts of forceful prose without hesitation and in long drawn out sessions, over thinking each vowel and consonant, squeezing the life from every comma.
The problem I have had in finishing the novel is that it is written long hand throughout many journals and tattered notebooks. Entire pages are scrawled so sloppily that I can’t make heads or tails of the goddamn thing. I am not entirely sure where one story ends and another begins, where one character exists and another is created, where fiction lives nestled in the safety of paper and ink and my own life creeps in like a mold, slowly polluting the safe world that exists between the pages.
I might disappear for a while. I might lose myself. I might fall into a hole of words and lives that are not mine. But, I will finish this fucking thing.