I was staring at the professor and as he lectured his beard started to grow and grow until it was flowing over the table and onto the floor and didn’t stop until it reached where I sat at the back of class. Then I noticed that the ceiling was about to fall—I wasn’t worried because I knew when it did it would just pass through us. And it did. And now I am here: in a different reality that’s identical to the previous. One reality ends and another picks up where it left off, just like that. We keep going, just like that.
I saw two boys on the train who were the same person and I was the only one who knew it. One was gross and the other was evil. I had been reading Frank O’hara before boarding—though I did not have my glasses—and by that point my eyes had swam back into my head so I did not get a good look at either. Not that I wanted to. You should never make eye contact with boys on the train.
One was on the upper level, the other I saw as I was getting off. They never saw each other. Somehow, they were connected. Partners in crime. Possibly in another dimension. I also saw a ghost on the train, in the seat across from me. I thought it was my future husband, time travelling. Then he took my brain and I fell asleep. He’d meant to erase my memory of him—a non-human, I mean—but either changed his mind or did a sloppy job.
Never start your day without coffee.
My arm is weaker than usual. It keeps slipping off the laptop keyboard. Have I been drugged? Quick. Think. What did I consume last? Media. Of course. Social media.
I seem to have a talent for being poisoned. First my sister. Now the media? Who— what, can I trust?
The owner of a convenience store once let me off the hook for ten cents. I can trust him.
The sky is black. So black it is almost dark.
Signing off for now.
My sister poisoned me. I had some bad food and now I’m going to die.
My professor said starting stories and not finishing them was the fastest way to the grave. He made us promise to give every story an ending, no matter how much we wanted to step on the brakes and toss the entire thing in the trash.
The last story I wrote ended with:
“Do you think you’re Margaret Atwood? Fuck this story! THE END.”
But I guess he was right, because now I’m dying from food poisoning. I’m only nineteen. I’ve never been to Italy. I won’t ever get to take a picture where I pretend to be holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Shit. It’s such an original idea as well.
I was going to get so many Instagram likes.
I know what to say but I don’t know how to say it. Does it scare you? How many words were meant for you but never said to you?
And it’s not hard. Not all words are meant to be pretty. Yet we never cease our pacing. This pacing behind a mental wall. This wall, shimmering in the light so slightly. This wall of dust and air. This wall that is not there.
I’m sitting alone with an elbow propped against the table and my head in my hand, writing this instead of writing what needs to be written and it is so loud. I am in a library and it is so loud.
I was in such a hurry to leave I forgot my glasses so my eyes are stinging and my coffee is slowly cooling in my mug back home and my handwriting is so shaky. So shaky.
And the man beside me is wiping down the table with some kind of cloth and he’s wiping and wiping and I never knew cloth could be so loud and I want to ask if they’re paying him, if he’s the fucking Table Wiper of this library because if he is then God bless your services sir will you wipe my table next?
I know I’m pacing again I’m always pacing
He’s wiping every corner like he’s wiping fingerprints from a crime scene but the only crime I can
see hear is this noise he’s making in what’s supposed to be a QUIET SPACE and why the HELL is there a baby crying? What’s a baby doing in the library BABIES CAN’T EVEN READ. Sitting there in the backseat of the car I had a whole goddamn speech prepared for you and now all I have left is sorry.
Sorry: the only word that ever makes it to the other side of the wall with me. Sorry.
Except I don’t know if I’m sorry for me or for you or for all the pacing we do all the fucking pacing.
And if the Table Wiper isn’t sorry for wiping then the Writer isn’t sorry for swearing.
Some old guy snatched every Lord of the Rings novel off the shelf before I could. He looks like he’s had about 60 years to borrow those books. Why now? Now that I’ve decided to give them a try? I headed straight for the science-fiction aisle and scooped up their entire collection of Philip K. Dick novels. Just in case the old guy wanted to borrow them too. Now he can’t.
(I’m kidding. I didn’t take them all… I left three!)
That’s what I’ve been up to. Seeing some friends and reading some books. Eye in the Sky is a fun ride. Dr. Futurity is fantastic. Neither are as trippy as Flow My Tears the Policeman Said, or the classic, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. A Scanner Darkly doesn’t come close.
I’m reading as much as I can before I start work. Yeah. Work. Someone actually hired me. I’d tell you what store but I’m a paranoid. My manager will somehow, despite all odds, stumble across my blog and fire me for being such a dork.
She’s probably reading this right now. I gotta go.
(My mind is a junkyard. I roam beneath dark clouds, late at night, kicking aside scrap metal. It’s going to be a tough mess to clean. Start small.)
My phone is always on silent. I hate the way the entire continent shakes when it vibrates. Scares the hell out of me. My ringtone is a quacking duck, I don’t know why. It went off in the middle of lecture once, during a screening, when the entire auditorium was silent. I ran out before anyone could call animal control.
I’ve probably missed out on a hundred job interviews for not picking up my phone. I’ve definitely missed out on a thousand potential friendships. I’m not very good at keeping close friends. I need alone time, all the time.
When I do check my phone and see I’ve got a text, my heart drops—what now. I love my friends, I do, I’m just stupid. All I do is tag people in cat videos on Instagram. Share dumb memes through Twitter. Sometimes I say yes to lunch dates and it’s always a good time—why don’t I do that more? (Stupid)
A social life is never in the equation when school’s in session. Not because I have a lot to do—I write all my essays the night before they’re due. I watch House M.D. on Netflix and find that I relate to Dr. House more than I should. I guess I’m just not very good at the whole human relationships thing.
My friends text me, “So excited to see you!” and I can’t share that excitement. They say, “I miss you!” and I feel nothing. That makes me sound like a terrible person. I’m trying to be better. I’m under constant construction. Kind of like summers in Canada.
Speaking of stupid, there’s another exam I should be studying for. I love English and I enjoy writing a good essay, but I’m really not in the mood to compare five texts and how they critique gender as a social construct. I really, really don’t care.
(I sound like a balding alcoholic who’s lost all his friends and family and spends all his nights at a dingy little downtown bar. I’ll be back to my usual self after this exam, I’ll talk to you then, my dear constant reader from India. BTW, how’s your wifi signal there?)