There are long spaces between my thoughts and my eyes stay half open behind the shade of my sunglasses. Faceless people move around me, someone takes a picture. My steps are light and distant, and a wind blows my jacket out behind me. Some part of me wants to stay here, safely anchored, but I let myself smudge, bleeding across the page, until I was the orchestra of the city street, the arid blue sky, and the nameless, whispering breeze drifting down the sidewalk.
The night before, I had spent hours awake in the dark, shifting onto my back, my sides, trying to decide whether I should try to pull myself free of these blankets or just try to push down what kept me up. Lately, if I had crossed my legs for too long, or had left myself in a bad posture, I felt an aching sensation in my bones, a feeling that there was something pulsing in them, expanding outwards. I pushed this thought into the undercurrents of my mind, but where I wasn’t pushing it down hard enough, it sprung up into new corners. The pain had been with me for months, but lately, it had become constant, stronger, and impossible to suppress. Even though I told myself it must have something to do with my bad posture, I couldn’t stop thinking of my grandmother, the new malignancies we found, the one whose last words were “I’m not ready to die.” A memory. New leaks sprung up and the water lapped at my ankles.
My mind was at war with itself and I could not stop it. If I just patched up the holes fast enough, I would have air. That thing at work inside me was feral, and it had no words to describe how much it feared the water. It screamed a language that I could not understand but only feel.
At some point I got up because I knew sleeping wouldn’t work. My mind was flickering, and when I pulled of the heavy blankets, the morning air was like stepping into an icy river. I found a heavy sweater, drifted into my studio kitchen, and turned on my stove to boil water for tea.
And then—my mind still strains and reaches when I try to grasp at it, because it was something so distant, and alien, that I feel like I was not meant to see it. I can only the trace the contours of it, see a shadow, and try to speak to what was there. But as the water began to boil, I felt the weight and gravity of some new planet, near the earth but hidden behind its shadow so that it was invisible. That planet was only endless ocean. It was entirely cloaked in the darkness of night, and I, from my kitchen, watched the roil and crash of the mountainous waves. They were countless stories high, and I now watched from the valley of the wave as they rose precipitously above me.
But as I was under the wave, I could hear nothing. The storm around me was quiet, invisible. There was just the sound of my breath and the bubbling of the kettle. I found now that something was freed, something that I could let drift. I let myself smudge, bleeding across the page, and I disappeared into the waves.