Arriving in clean jeans and a tank top and coming home smeared in dust, war paint on my face, shit under my nails, ten hours and twelve minutes later. Casey and I sat on a ripped blue backseat from one of the junk cars that Lio picked up and plopped under a tree for us. Myna birds fought in the tops of the lychee trees and we talked about the universe and how to make money and near death experiences and bell curves and meditating into third person and motorcycles and I screamed when I pulled a dead rat out of the pile because I saw little gray hands sticking out of the pile and I thought it was another toy from our 1980s archeological survey along with spam cans cup o noodles and underwear and foot long cell phones with big gray buttons and rusted car parts that crumble in our hands and broken bottles.
I drove home and almost cried and didn’t know exactly why. Or didn’t want to admit it because the reasons seemed so small. Like I should keep them in my shirt and never name them.
Facts. Mr Surprise never called to go riding like he said he would. I’ve been given tuberose stems in the last week by two different people. Fact. It’s been a few hours short of four days since I’ve seen him.
I’m scared to let my book run into the world. Scared of the people it could offend. Scared it’s- oh shit I almost said boring. Amy is leaving in a few weeks, for a while, so I’ll be flying solo. The place will go on the market in the next week. I’m worried I’ll never get a chance to be a mother. I ate a fish taco taco today with four hot sauces on it. Texted a Spanish man named Henry that I’ve never met. Picked two papaya. Yelled at Lio for being late. Sat in the grass with my lesbian neighbors that don’t know that I know they’re gay. They’re both local and Japanese. Casey said something about going to King K and how its good for everyone to experience being the minority. And I thought, one thing to try on the experience, another to never be able to take it off. But I didn’t say it. And silence followed and we all sipped our cans and stared at the rocks in the dry riverbed.
Mom showed up unannounced, whistling and making that noise all the females in our family make as she walked down the near vertical driveway. I gave her headphones and kept working. Perched hugging my knees on boulders. Looked up the palm trees and the ridges of the valley rising up to the cloudless sky and huge rocks and hanging vines and thought, I fucking love this gulch. Casey said, do theses flowers really get you high? And snapped off a Datura and held it out.
I watered the new lawn in the moonlight with one beer in my hand. Realized I had to be back in this same spot in twelve hours and turned the hose off and went home. And now I’m wondering if there’s something chemically wrong with my brain, where all my hope and optimism leaked out, and it all leads back to the same place. Always. The center of the labyrinth. The space between atoms. Everything. Me. the star of my play. The ghost driving the machine that thinks it is someone. That matters.