I’ve been awake for over
twelve twenty four hours (wow time?!), it’s raining in Los Angeles, and I’m sitting on my bed in my underwear and a sweatshirt waiting for the gates of hell to open up and swallow me into the pit of the earth.
Haha, just kidding. Dramatize! There’s nothing wrong, I’m as pleased as can be, the world is my oyster and I’m downing it with a shot of vodka and tabasco sauce.
The other day, I was working an event for one of my jobs and it ran into the night. I left earlier than my co-workers and, not wanting to walk twenty blocks alone in the dark back home, hailed a cab.
“Do you take card?” The driver turned to me and told me that there was a $10 minimum. Okay, well, I didn’t have enough cash, but I was going down near the university, was that going to hit 10? I slid into the backseat because I couldn’t hear what the man was saying, but when I finally wrapped my ear around the muted motions of his mouth, all I heard was
I stumbled out of the cab and stared at its tail lights as it peeled away. Jesus, the way he’d looked at me, I might as well have barfed all over the interior. Whatever man! I could make my own way home! See what I care!
I stood outside of the Staples Center and watched the traffic on Figueroa pass me in a flurry of machine screams, and fought the urge to unclench my jaw and add my own harmony to the noise.
The 81 could take me down Fig and I could walk home from there. But the 81 meant people, and well, we couldn’t have any of that now, could we, so I turned away from the street and started making my way home.
Somewhere between Venice and Washington, I pass a man on a bench. As I slouch past him, he calls out to me, “Hey beautiful, can I talk to you? Hey. Hey!” Damn, how his coy praise so quickly turns into anger, oh boy, I’ve really done it now, I’m quivering in my boots as I stomp my way home. One 81 passes me. Then another. Then I’m coming up to Adams, and I realize how badly my feet ache, and how stupid I was to think I could walk twenty blocks in tights and remain unscathed.
I’ve been on and off sick for over a month now. My friends keep telling me to see a doctor, but I know that there’s only one cure for whatever’s hit me, and no, it’s not cowbell. Haha, look, I made a joke. In all seriousness though, the only thing that’s going to cure me is rest and if there’s anything I’m lacking, guess what it is!!!
I’m stuck in this recursive loop of fatigue, wherein I’ll sleep in one day and miss class and feel fine for the next couple of days but then something happens, there’s a game day or I stay up late working on the homework I’ve missed because of all the class I’ve slept through, or I can’t fall asleep or I lose myself in an Internet spiral and then it’s back, the tickle in my throat and the weight within my body. And my alarm will go off, and I will, like Yates’s primordial beast, drag my stunted limbs along the side of my bed and ooze myself out of its comfort. It’s not a bad life, if you don’t mind waking up every morning in a state of panic.
It only gets better though, because then I go into the bathroom and stare back at the dead-eyed, blue-haired freak in the mirror. Sup lady. What could’ve possibly been running through your mind when you dyed your hair blue during the football season. As the saying goes, you reap what you sow, and well, I’ve sown wildly and with reckless abandon. So now I reap, and I reap, and I reap.
We had in-class presentations tonight, and one of the presenters’ topics was about making bruises and lacerations using cinema makeup. Okay, cool, that’s cool, damn, she’s included a lot of photos of actual injuries in her slideshow,
and then out of nowhere, there’s a picture of Rihanna’s battered face, and I actually have to hold myself to stem the wave of nausea that’s climbing out of my throat and threatening to overflow into and out of my mouth.
Can you do that? That’s the first thing I think, and it’s totally absurd because anyone can do anything, this is America and freedom and all those other buzzwords that I’ve had burned into my red white and blue brain since the time I learned to lose my native Chinese and pick up this other weird mess of a language. Yeah, you can do whatever you want, but freedom of speech doesn’t spare you from the freedom to respond.
But I don’t respond. I hold my tongue and nothing happens, and now I feel the nausea building again, this time from within, from the fire whiskey and guacamole I’ve shoved into my stomach, and this is so stupid, there’s nothing I could’ve done, there’s nothing I could’ve said, and besides, what does it matter anyway,
when I hold my head between my hands and imagine patterns of bruises etching their way into unbroken skin,
and I need to, have to, sleep, but what does it mean when I slip into dreams in the waking day, only to find myself staring through the darkness when I lay myself down to sleep,
and on top of all of this body mis-synchronization bullshit, why, why why why why
I look into straw-colored sun and see gears on fire and the future in a flat plane
and then I open my eyes and nope, I’m still here.