The first 36 hours were to be expected. This is how travel works. Time shifts but I do not. Airports as limbo, zones of arbitrary absolutes. I’ll walk, breathe, wait in line, purchase two books for a friend’s birthday, check the local news in a language I don’t understand, wonder about food, drink coffee, listen to the same song on repeat, wrap myself in a sweatshirt I’ve dug out of a backpack, take a piss, miss smoking. I’ll wait until a certain set of depersonalized numbers match the ones on my ticket and queue and board and sit and think and read and dissociate.
In the new place, I’m interested in the way the light folds into trees, slides off buildings, melts on my face through the taxi window. The driver tells me the time, military always, and I accept it as truth. I’ll bend this way, think about food and happy hours and the music I play to mark sunset or when the lights from the castles illuminate the square and foreign voices angle off buildings older than my memories of other’s memories.
The drugs didn’t work. They never do. I watch the sun come up and light change as the needle scratches on pick-up. The album starts over.
The next few nights I’ll act as if I’m not lost. I’ll wash my face and brush my teeth. Get naked, alone, in unfamiliar sheets. I’ll lose three or four hours, but the rest I’ll remember as ceiling, window, tree, shadow.
On the morning of Day 7, I’ll wake up screaming. Shaking. Covered in slick sweat. I will remember dying and a woman with long hair asking me questions I can’t answer. I’ll remember someone from home telling me about a date they went on, a phone call, sending a contract. Did I live each one? Did my body bleed, did I laugh, did we share a secret, was I alive for you?
Another two planes, three cities, and I’m trying to untangle time.
These 48 hours are unexpected. I can’t tell what are dreams and what is otherwise, and as the shower wall melts when I lean into it, I think about being on the 11th floor and what my body will look like, naked and wet, falling among the morning haze of this city. Will they find me pristine and angelic and curled and sleeping, finally?
I can’t tell the time anymore, but the bliss of every failure - lived or imagined - is on equal footing. I am a carousel, I think, each animal a trope, or is it the canned music, heavy on xylophone, that is my signature? It doesn’t matter, I guess. I am metal lion, teeth bared, and I am sleek zebra, heavy lids, and I am the sweet, sickly smell of cotton candy and the ticket girl’s perfume. I am this entire swirling entity, nomenclature and form, a world rotating again and again. The needle scratches and picks itself up and the album replays.
And then I am home, and my mind is not the same, it never is. Loved ones try to untangle the truths from the half truths, and I nod with wide, glassy eyes. Why do they never tell you that our realities are not fixed, they never were?
We are equally in this world and the one we project, and I know now, maybe always did, that the thin, dirty film that sits between the two is readily broken.
Finally, there are robots robot boyfriends who wear each other’s clothes. (Clothes? Pieces?)
I’m sorry this one too so long, since most of you know I’ve been dealing with chained concussions on and off for over a year. Still, this was such a joy to do, because Zenyatta is my sweet boy - and now looks like General Grievous’ jedi cousin.
Genji looks a bit odd to me still, and don’t even get me started on how Zenyatta taught him to float… But I took a fair amount of artistic liberties with their designs since neither of them have full reference for the parts of their bodies that aren’t covered? It’s like they planned this.