HJ picks me up from work and we walk somewhere, very far, to the place we’re going to. It’s sunny, very sunny, though I don’t look up; it’s more the ground is a blinding yellow-white, everywhere. It’s Sunday, and I’m supposed to meet YM for thrift shopping 10am-12pm, but I mess around until 12 before I respond to her, and we have to reschedule; I’m annoyed at her. HJ drives me to her neighborhood, which is full of small winding streets and SF-style beat-down, whimsical apartments, but the lighting is shadowed and dark. HJ is upset for a little that I scheduled something with YM. We’re walking around and hanging out with two unknown pale, nondescript white boys and MC. We go to a grocery store, which is very far away and requires an escalator with a wall on the left side to get to. We check out with at least veggie sticks, starting with one bag but somehow we end up with three, and in the checkout line there are square-shaped baskets and MC opens the bags and sorts the veggie sticks by color without us realizing it, and the green pile is huge, the yellow pile is medium, and the orange pile is tiny. The clerk is clearly frustrated. On the way out, I need to use the bathroom, and so I run back to use it and end up walking around doing something for a long time. HJ and MC come to find me. We walk out.
we’re on vacation in the state of my university; it’s my mom, my mom’s friend (no identity), and me. we’re eating at a restaurant with a chinese owner, but it’s not chinese food. my mom and her friend hit it off with the owner and chat a lot, and at the end instead of a fortune cookie she bring a tennis racket, two tennis balls, two disposable cameras, and some other stuff. my mom talks a lot about how this is what good business looks like, all personal and whatnot.
I think about going swimming in the ocean, and suddenly somehow I’m transported via mind to the ocean (but not really, but it doesn’t even matter), and I’m watching all these people sell the ocean to me, dancing around in it and posing.
I’m with HJ and S, studying in the library at our school. I scroll through Facebook and notice a series of posts by AM, racking up, as always, hundreds of likes. They are a series of poems, each a horrifying portrait of me: my insecurities, ugliness, inconsistencies and secrets laid bare through AM’s eyes, which have looked at me long and hard and deep, which I let in willingly as though there is no key, there is a security guard, finicky, picky, jaded from birth and secretly scared.
“X, with a slightly liberal slant”
“X, with a slightly conservative slant”
“X, victimizing herself through her relationship with her parents”
It doesn’t matter that it was wrong to do: the poems are not mean so much as they are mocking. It is all true. It is all real.
I’m in a helicopter or some sort of flying device with my brother next to me and my father and some other man across from me. We’re strapped in with seatbelts, hunched with the bad posture of awkwardness. We’re chatting uncomfortably. It becomes clear that Dad had been gone a while and we hadn’t known what he was up to, and on his latest job, he’d been in the area of (I suppose New York) and thought he’d visit.
He explains that he’s been in the business of going to the government and learning about how it works, and then bringing that information back to his clients. This brain-heavy work makes sense — if it’s one thing my dad is always good at, it’s having quick brains.
We find out that he goes to get the information from the Statue of Liberty, which for some reason completely normally is situated in an idyllic garden, with a large swimming pool and a small flowered island, as well as granite steps on one wide overflowing with greenery. The other man’s kids are here as well; they’re SoCal kids, cross-country kids: girls with long blonde hair and guys with tanned skin and skinny wired muscles.
My dad goes about learning or whatever, and it’s going fine until the SOL wakes up. For a bit, we’re not sure what she’s feeling. It almost seems fine. Then, she begins slinging slow, huge, blimp-like donuts, which we easily avoid. It’s a slow game to jog to the other side of the pool and dodge her donut. Someone yells about how it’s appropriative of Italians, which is nonsensical.
But the donuts come faster and faster and it spirals pretty quickly into something terrifying. She’s sprinting around the pool, as are us kids, and we’re hiding desperately in the shrubbery but she’s finding us there, and suddenly there’s another giant: a dude in an orange shirt, and he’s extremely fast and terrifying, running hard and fast around and squishing us. They squish one of the girls: I’m not there, I’m hiding, but someone yells that her blood is yellow. I try to hide in plain sight, in a groove of the stairs, but I’m too big; my mother is there, screaming, and the boy has set his sights on squishing me and I’m so tired I can’t run anymore and so I shoot straight out and fly out of the garden and push through a small bubble, it seems, and it logically seems I’m safe but somehow I don’t feel so because I keep flying without looking back — I wake up with my heart pounding.
I somehow plop into a world of animated animals
a pelican with a beautifully psychedelic beak
about to make friends with a hyper-friendly kangaroo horse? had taught it the mirror stage of recognizing itself. I had two cuts on my face that I had done for myself (something symbolic? to do with directions? the directions towards the home of a rhino that was the father of whoever I was with) and the horse made sure that that wasn’t what the rhino had done to me
the rhino invited me to his home, and I had to look it up in google maps. it was called “bad street”, but it ended up being in spanish, so it was “mal street”, which I didn’t realize until after he’d spelled it out for me. as he turned away and walked up the stairs, I said, “bad street?” and he said “that’s the way I like it” and strolled away
I just remembered I had a dream last night that I cheated on HJ with JKm — and was horrified, of course —
there is of course more to it, but this is what I remember:
— we are in line, we are in school. I feel something of air on my ass, which I don’t think to me of. then I feel a shuffling of my skirt — I whip around to find a man — a boy — lifting my skirt to stare at my ass, which is cased in shorts. he’s sneering at me, and I feel disgusted, terrified; no one does anything. he comes closer to me and I am kicking, punching, but none of my blows are landing and as I struggle I grow weaker, weaker, until my arms are too tired to lift and my kick does nothing but extend my bared leg out to him, an involuntary offering that he takes, rips from me; he holds my leg, and I am helpless, so helpless —