somewhere foreign to me. but familiar to this shell. i’ve been here before. i blend in with these suburban white americans.
i am in a high school auditorium. immersed in the crowd, the noise. these people. i am not one of them. on the surface, this place is hosting a cheer competition. but I know that its hosting all kinds of things.
i slip away into the shadows of the walls.
i am waiting for Darb. an extension of myself. a big toe. something i need in order to move, function. keep balance. i can survive without her, but I can move around more efficiently when she’s with me.
focus. lost in distractions. diversions. i am wearing less clothing than i’d like to. i feel exposed. they’re all looking at me. i feel tainted. they see me for who i am. i am repulsed.
i’m trying to get a hold of him. i’m waiting for his call. i know he’ll be arriving soon. i must be prepared. bracing for the impact of the phone ringing. his voice on the other end. questioning if its really him. do i even remember what his voice sounds like?
stop thinking about him. stay on track. you’re supposed to be looking for Darb. round her up so you can move on. get out of this. place.
waiting on a bench. my two bags on the floor. one is sturdy and full of the things i value. the other is flimsy and plastic. who gives a shit what’s in that bag.
an old friend sits down next to me. captivated by my presence. why isn’t she disgusted by this raw, exposed body? i touch her. she melts. surprised by the impact of my touch. she wants more. but i am toxic. i refuse. for her own good. i have to stay on track.
watch my bags please.
looking for Darb, i enter the bathroom. the bathroom is a hallway. i have to get through. i hate this place.
looking for a window. an escape. i must get out. i must pass through this filthy place. i squeeze through an opening. climb up a rusty ladder.
i can breathe again. gulping the fresh crisp air. just a taste. i am on top of a tank and it is night. i see the vastness. I’m getting closer. the tank is collecting rainwater. i catch a glimpse of Darb. she is loading up the tank with buckets of water she has been collecting.
something diverts my attention. interception. a bump in the road. my road. the kind of bump that naggingly says you’re not a real vegetarian cause you eat food thats cooked in the same oven as meat. get out of my road. they want to minimize you. they want to feel bigger. they speak more than the wise folks. false credibility earned simply by the sheer volume of words it puts out. and then, it speaks.
“just so you know, you’ve contaminated the whole water supply so now i can’t water my organic garden.”
fuck off. i am frustrated. you’re blocking my view of Darb. i am still learning how to block out these entities and not let them eat away at me.
i give a half ass grunt of a response. shooing the pest away. i must continue my quest. i just saw her. where did she go?
i have to go back into this place. down the ladder. through the window and into the bathroom. the only way back in. the only portal. the bathroom is so filthy. i walk through. holding my breath. trying not to let it become part of me. too bad. it has penetrated by shield. I’m breathing in the dust. parasitic filthy dust. born from soggy toilet paper and cold tile floors. i feel dirty and even more tainted than before.
i sit back down on to the bench. she is staring at me. i forgot about her. she is expecting me to intoxicate her. she wants to melt and forget who she is. i’d rather not.
did he call? where is my phone? why am i still here?
i’m frantically shuffling through my bags.
i pause. i think.
what am i even looking for?