Once Upon A Tree

Like a lot of people, I wake up every morning. I’m sure this is true because I’m alive. Again. I’m not yet dead. I’m in a living room, on a sofa. Staring at my hands, hands that still move and do things like hold a fork and bring food to my mouth. Spaghetti is delicious.

My mind is a storm. I can’t stop the hurricanes. Happy, sad, embarrassed, confused, disappointed, scared, disparate. I never remember why I experience these emotions. Sometimes I scream them. Sometimes I dream them.

My phone tells me that it’s Saturday. I recognize that I am at Jake and Gina’s house. I wonder if we had sex. I will forget them later. I don’t remember where I live. I have two roommates, both of whom I like. One of whom is my son. Every morning I wake up and think of him and he’s going off to kindergarten. He’s eleven. And I am thirty-six, about. It is 2022.

Where I wake up, this house—not familiar or comfortable. Nothing is. Every morning I wake up, filled with confusion. It’s a storm, my brain is a hurricane, throwing thrash at my skull. The trash are my memories. Some of them belong in the trash, and some are there by mistake.

Moving hurts. Hips and calves and spine—screeching pain—but the muscles don’t remember the pain from yesterday. I either feel like my ribs are stabbing my lungs or so sad I just cry. Every day.

I live with Louise, my best friend, and I have done so for over a year. I know it’s been this frame of time because she has told me this and I have written it down. I don’t remember where I wrote it down. Lost notes.

I do feel at home in my home. I think everything becomes distant when I’m away from it. I think a lot. It occurs to me that I haven’t left my house in days. People tell me to leave my house, and I want to. People tell me to do a lot of things, and the telling me makes them feel good. I want to. 

I remember that I got my clit pierced, and I remember spreading my legs on a sterile bed so he could stick the needle through my clit. The piercing hurt more than childbirth. A few weeks later that barbell fell out of my clit, and into the playa’s dusty ground.

A sidewalk. I have a destination. Lately most of my destinations are a handle of vodka. I’m glad that I remembered to wear shoes because the cement is hot. I know it is because earlier I watched the news and the person on Jake’s television told me it was going to be over 95 today. That person was a woman, and she smiled in a way that brought up the entire left side of her mouth in a straight line. I only watched her because I wanted to see if her mouth would touch her nose. She had a small waist. I imagined her driving a Saturn, with two doors. Just two doors for Ms. Sunshine. 

My legs feel like drumsticks and I keep dropping them. Clink click clicking clap. The cement, the concrete, the sound of gravel under my drumsticks, is a grimy rhythm. Like my memories, rolling in dirt and being trampled by objects. Words hurt.

Words are crevices in mountains, and must be waded and climbed through. My drumstick legs are walking in the crumbling dirty crevices of other peoples’ stares. My heart hates thinking, figuring, remembering. I gave my life away and now he has my son and I have no ability to hear that voice of the person—that person who will always sound like my son. It’s another sound I made and I wish I could hear it every day. 

But. I don’t have a phone and I live somewhere far away, and my drumstick legs can’t make a beat as we clank up the rocky mountains. I can’t walk home. I can’t walk into the ether–even it’s my ether. This I know.