Mirror mirror on the wall

A-S —

The night started when I took a long hot shower in the grimy, poorly lit bathroom. I savored those moments of quiet warmth. I tried to follow a single drop of water with my eyes, but it would, without fail, get lost in the stream of other droplets before I could finish tracking its journey. When I finished scrubbing the day off my skin, I creaked up the stairs to my room. In those days I often had the itchy feeling that the neighbors could see into my window so I closed the curtain and didn’t leave any cracks. I hung up my towel and examined myself in the streaky old mirror that I had dragged up from the cellar. I noticed thin markings on the tops of my thighs that I’d never seen before. Purplish. I grabbed the wet towel and rubbed and rubbed but they stood strong, marking their territory.

Anything permanent is terrifying. I used to sit and stare and tremble as I watched my glaring red alarm clock methodically count away what I would never get back. 

I turned around and saw them staking their claim on my butt and I started breathing bigger and bigger and my head began pounding and my wrists became numb so I stumbled, naked, to my first drawer and put on my dad’s old shirt and then the third drawer and found the half-smoked joint I had saved and opened the curtain and the window. Then all the ink in my core drained out of me, spilled onto the carpet, and evaporated. My scalp tingled more and more with each breath. Gravity became pleasantly heavy, so I lay down and let it pull me deeper into the floor as I stared, amused at the squirming wallpapered ceiling. I let my eyes go in and out of focus. I turned on Sufjan Stevens and my mind jumped from note to note while I felt the sound pass through me like campfire heat when you stand too close. I momentarily ceased obsessing over the unknown future that we all beg to be known. I became a drop of water. Time was irrelevant to me and, like the particles that spilled from my showerhead, I was too elusive to track even for a second. I kept smoking until the fire alarm above my bed went off and scared me so much I thought something had gone wrong inside me. But everything is fine, everything is fine, so I creaked into my bony bed and let myself feel whatever I wanted to feel and think whatever I wanted to think.

And my body rested that night.

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