I’m tired. Of feeling worthless. Finding out the meaning of words and actions. Realizing what. Measuring cups that are plastic. Seeing. Throw my brain and eyes in the ocean. Join a pack of dolphins. Realize dolphins eat shit too. Accept we bathe in our shit. Be alone. For a long potatoe. Inside. Lost. Find. Find nothing. So I create. My uncle told me to trust no one. He slapped my ass once. I am brilliant and not. I am beyond words. And your judgement and company. And my fear. I’m not afraid anymore. I’m not afraid anymore. I’m not afraid anymore. I’m not afraid anymore. I am brave. Brave. Brave. Brave. Brave. Brave. Solid and melting and transforming and weak and strong and everything and everything and yes and no yes’s. I love you Suzanna Tran. I would fuck you if I could. And you would bathe in cum instead of shit and you’d feel loved, truly loved, and feel safe. For once.
You ever sink in existentialism, frozen by a million indecisions, then fall into cracks of your childhood when someone asks you “How do you like your eggs?” at 5 in the morning? The waiter stood there, clicking her pen. “I’ll come back.” Another plate in Audrey’s spine shifted. She wilted forward as she sat without sitting. Audrey, a vegan hypochondriac, was to her Denny’s chair as a barnacle to a tree. Yet she found a body there. She found she carried a body there, drunkenly, at 5 in the morning.
She stared at her untouched water, swore if she moved a facial muscle her tears like sumo ballerinas will collapse over the restaurant floor. When, when, was the last time she loved until she was swollen? She perpetually reigned on the edge, touching ugliness, but at 5 in the morning she was immersed in it. No appetite, but starved for fullness, wanted to vomit lunch, last week’s dinners, last year, the year before, and before, but, above all, five hours ago.
When Audrey was 8, her aunt bought her a red balloon with a print of Hello Kitty’s face. It had a body and a name. She loved until she was swollen and lighter than it was. But as Aunt Linda birthed it for Audrey for a quarter—although Audrey cried and will never cry publicly again until 20 seconds from now—Aunt Linda killed it too. Popped it. Audrey lost her virginity 5 hours ago and at 5 in the morning she is staring at a milkshake, feeling loss, not the loss of blood, not bruising, but her, Free. Legs spread, skipping short skirt, 8-years-old.
I miss rice. I miss the grains, miniature pillows, rolling on the tongue. I miss how perfectly it lays on a spoon. I miss the sweetness that visits when you’re keen on its arrival. I miss the chewing, the tickling down the esophagus. I miss the cinematic steam that feels like propaganda. I miss the hand submerged in grey water, straight to the deep, swampy, pulling out with beastly carelessness, a mucus glomp from the drain. “Every grain of rice you waste is a piece of shit you eat in heaven”, she said. I miss my mom. I miss her, reader. I miss her chiding “ăn them” eat more and calling me fat after. I miss the horror of her eyes, the constant crinkle between, the grabbing, fingernails, “I’m sorry … I love you, con” and I remember the pupil, arterial contractions like high school photos—and think, I was beautiful. Weakness is retroactively beautiful. If a sky pile of rice graced my plate, I don’t know if I’ll ever stop eating, because she’s comatose, what a funny sounding word, and rice kisses me inside. Happy Mother’s Day, mommy. Though I may not love you with its Jupiter meaning, thanks for the rice.
I left the morning musk, the birds, the dung by fate that is no more random than an itch inside your nose. I am a fly behind the window blinds. In .16 seconds I’ll be 19 hours and celebrating with dust. Quarantined. My thoughts reverberate like the common cold. I’m asthmatic. I should’ve let him impregnate me. I miss him, my male, and even the pigeons that ate my parents. I thud the glass, the glass, and the glass again. I see Pamela mate in the sun and my bulbous eyes, smashed. I did this to myself. I thud the blinds. Through a slit, I see an oriental girl. I cry but screech ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZ, scraping against her metal fillings. Then, she … stares at me. With the most. Curious sadness? “Baby, can you kill this housefly?” but I don’t live here. Why are you afraid of me? Because I’m a floating owl pellet and I don’t match your room? No, no, no, no— THUD! THUD! THUD. Thud, thud …. thuh——— d.
- MOM: Why u call me Ms. Tran on the phone?
- ANNA: Because I am unable to call you that word. That word, despite serving meaning to an otherwise random human pair, that word is boring. I am different.
- MOM: Stop talking like that.
- ANNA: Like what?
- MOM: Why u call me Ms. Tran!
- ANNA: I was being polite! Cheeky! If not, respectful. What would you like to be called?
- MOM: Mommy.
- ANNA: You want me to continue suckling your teat, reattach our umbilical cord, trap me into infancy, which neither my virginity or body dysmorphic disorder will ever escape? You want my dead skin cells, don't you?, so you can keep your job as obsessive vacuum cleaner. But I will call you mommy because I respect your autonomy and that is the name you've chosen. Anna is the name you and white colonizers have forced down my throat, from now on, call me Om. The first sound of the universe.
all is not well and fair / mice freeload her despair / they bite the crumbs, rewards not won / my shrinking spine, my shoes undone // hide in mommy, in her rolls / laboratory, bought her soul / on the table they dig her fat / a woman screamed, she found a rat
Do you ever contemplate happiness? No, of course not. I can crush you with my thumb. You can’t even realize your own death. Do you know what death is? How ‘bout pain? You fucking beautiful ignorant insect. The queen will lay up to 30,000 eggs a day. Most will be workers, some leaf cutters, few guardians, but not one philosopher or one with an eating disorder. I don’t think I’m going to talk for a while.
She wished she could disintegrate into billions of pixels that could swarm away and recombine in another universe. Drugs couldn’t appease the torment of her boring life, nor sex, nor food, nor the afternoon she spent with her perfect nail-polished friends. Maybe if one of them admitted to masturbation, she would look forward to their next lunch. Lisa wondered if she was sad like the neighbor whose catch-phrase was “My cousin is a cop”.
I’m probably not depressed, she thought. She threw herself on her futon. It molded into her, accepting her when she felt fat or, without losing weight, small. It was her refuge when days were ugly, like the second day of her period. She planted her face in her pillow and murmured, “I love you.” If only she can lie indefinitely on her bed uninterrupted. Her phone vibrated.
A text. It was either A) Verizon notifying a phone bill, B) Michael, or C) … She wanted an option C.
She met Michael the conventional way. She was drunk, he was attractive, she was lonely, he was drunk, they kissed, and so on. Their relationship void of romance was based on orgasms for him and almost orgasms for her. She ignored her phone. She looked at her textured ceiling that looked like cottage cheese or maybe Russia from space. Michael had a cottage cheese ceiling, too, which she eyed while he was on top of her. She feared his ceiling someday cracking and chippings falling in her eyes. She wanted to tell him, but he would call her ‘cute’ or ‘silly’, euphemisms for ‘stupid’. He was a polite asshole. But he satiated her need for someone’s touch, a fleeting sense of identity and worth.
Birds tweeted outside. It was 12:09 a.m. She amused herself wondering whether the birds were fucking or making love. A pang of loneliness struck. She checked her text, “come over.” She pushed her phone off the bed. It vibrated on the carpet.