I Am So Alone
When I walk, my feet squeak between the balloons that form the surface of this earth: blue and pink and milky yellow. Squeak. Sometimes I fear I’ll fall right through, and feel the slime-coated grit of the stone in the middle, the cherry pit to which the balloons are tethered. I work my tongue around inside my mouth, trying to make myself a map. What else can I do, when beyond each step lies a bog—cleavage squeaking—a bog that longs to absorb what’s left of my career? Squeak.
Toothpaste. Sometimes I find it clinging to the ground, dulling the colored mounds as I stumble my way toward the club. I wonder if I forgot to rinse. My gums taste dry: some blood, maybe, a speck of cocaine. But no sign of mint. I work my tongue around some more. I run my fingers—squeak—along the chalky gunk on the ground. Tastes like melted ice cream. Wait. That’s not the club I’m headed toward—it’s the soda shop. And who’s that outside smoking? Fuck, it’s Drea de Matteo.
BAM! She puts out her smoke on a pink balloon, right at its apex, where all its color gathers in a nipple. It shrivels and gasses down a crevasse, and the whole front corner of the soda shop—which was built on this pink balloon—the whole front corner crashes, fizzes, crumbles in a pile. I wait for her to say Come at me, bitch—this is what she always says when she sees me. Instead, she sneers and tells me the power’s out. I watch the empty calories—sorbets, goo ripples, sickly speckled mint—flow out from the rubble in rivulets, pastels veining out across the blistery land.
The thing is, I think I’ve almost got it. My tongue learns from its mistakes, working nonstop, cartographing a path of minimal humiliation. Come at me, bitch, Drea finally says, and to stall for more time, I tell her I’ve been approached by JC Penney to create a fashion line. What the fuck did you just say? She’s so quick to judge. Just like every other person on this earth, she’s planted herself between my happiness and me. In a flash, I envision the pulp, the place between the pit and the skin, the mantle made up of thousands of tautly white strings. This is where the vitamins are. I place my lips in my palm, pucker them so as to birth a map. As Drea claws at my hair, I hold out my hand with a look of triumph. Lying in my palm, cradled by the graceful swoop of my lifeline: a cherry stem in a perfect knot.