My scalp itches, with the two-centimeter grease, clumping my hair in awkward positions. I try to adjust it, but if I do not bathe, it will not align itself correctly. As my analytical eyes examine the brutalities of my face, I keep on getting distracted by the grease on my scalp, it becomes an elaborate metaphor of a quick-fix flaw. When I hop in the shower, my face will not gain symmetry, my skin will not become vibrant, my mouth wont curl into a welcoming smile, the bags under my eyes won’t disintegrate, but my hair will become clean.
It’s so simple, yet I turn around, away from the shower, and exit my bathroom. I fall on my floor, intentionally, and I welcome the muck, because, I need to recognize my internal grime. My eyes get heavy, I have no will to keep them alert, I have no will to experience today, I lose sight of reality, and the only consciousness I have left laughs and tells me, I never had reality in the first place.
If no one thinks of you—
If you are not alive or present in anyone’s life
If no one loves you
Are you even real?
That’s the riddle. As soon as I wake up from my nap, before I can recall the phallus symbols, or recognize my body’s lethargy, or even remember that I’m still alive, I start questioning the riddle. I’m fanatical about this puzzle, because I know the answer, I know how easy it is to be absolute, but I don’t want to deal with the inevitable truth.
I’m still curled on the floor. I’m next to a pile of paperbacks. They were all impulse buys and I haven’t even read one of them. I think about donating them to the library, as there is no space in my life for the written word.
In truth I have a lot of space, but I feel full. I feel pregnant with a rapidly expanding child, who’s ripping open my ovary, and entering places it doesn’t belong. And I curl over in pain, panting like a dog. I need more space, get out of me, I scream at it. But it seems comedic when I thrash my head away from my own gut to take in my setting and am reminded that the walls around me are moving in, the ceiling is falling down, and I just wait to be smushed, wondering if the force of the attack will rip me into molecular pieces. And, will this molecular versions of me finally allow me to feel like I have all the space I ever needed? Or do I gain molecular vision with my molecular size; will all the other molecules be too much for me?
This fantasy gives me an attack. My heart whacks my chest, as if I really did have that child inside of me, as if it was playing catch with my heart, and kicking my ribs. I feel nausea and curl up more and as I wipe the sweat from my eyebrows I can feel the Lord take my throat into his fists.
But as it subsides I do not think about space. I think about fullness. I think about the riddle, and how I want to exist, I want to be alive. I want to be a human being. And in order to do that, I need to take steps to the shower, even if all I can handle are small steps, even if the steps feel like Wonderland is inside of me, and Alice won’t stop drinking the potion.
And as I get into the shower, and the steam goes up my nose, and my hair gets heavy with dampness, and I feel the warm water, my only loving embrace, I think about the riddle.
And I think about time.
And I go back to my reflection and I even crack a smile, thinking: progress.