Last night a friend rushed me out of the house to catch the opening act at a local bar's music night. After a few drinks I realized my phone wasn't in my pocket. I checked the table we were sitting at, the bar, the bathrooms, and after no luck I used my friend's phone to call mine. After two rings someone answered, gave out a low raspy giggle and hung up. They didn't answer again. I eventually gave it up as a lost cause and headed home. I found my phone laying on my nightstand, right where I left it.
Little Emily vanished last year. Now they're pouring new sidewalks in my neighborhood, and I've found her name in the wet cement, written in remembrance. But it was written in reverse. And from below.
I can't tell you how happy I was as I entered that last stretch of numbers. I joyfully counted them aloud at each platform: 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 44. I stopped and looked back down the stairs. I must have miscounted, so I continued up. 44. One more flight. 44. And then down ten flights. 44. Fifteen flights. 44. And so it's been for as long as I can remember. So really, insanity isn't doing something repeatedly and expecting different results. It's knowing that the results will never ever change; that each door leads to the same staircase, to the same number. It's realizing you no longer fall asleep. It's not knowing whether you've been running for days or weeks or years. It's when the sobbing slowly turns into laughter.
We bought an old house, my boyfriend and I. He's in charge of the "new" construction — converting the kitchen into the master bedroom for instance, while I'm on wallpaper removal duty. The previous owner papered EVERY wall and CEILING! Removing it is brutal, but oddly satisfying. The best feeling is getting a long peel, similar to your skin when you're peeling from a sunburn. I don't know about you, but I kind of make a game of peeling, on the hunt for the longest piece before it rips. Under a corner section of paper in every room is a person's name and a date. Curiosity got the best of me one night when I Googled one of the names and discovered the person was actually a missing person, the missing date matching the date under the wallpaper!
The next day, I made a list of all the names and dates. Sure enough each name was for a missing person with dates to match. We notified the police who naturally sent out the crime scene team. I overhead one tech say, "Yup, it's human." Human? What's human?" Ma'am, where is the material you removed from the walls already? This isn't wallpaper you were removing."
Have you ever walked into a room and found a vampire? No, not the sexy kind, but a foul creature with bony limbs and ashen skin? The kind that snarls as you enter, like a beast about to pounce? The kind that roots you to the spot with its sunken, hypnotic eyes, rendering you unable to flee as you watch the hideous thing uncoil from the shadows? Has your heart started racing though your legs refuse to? Have you felt time slow as the creature crosses the room in the darkness of a blink? Have you shuddered with fear when it places one clawed hand atop your head and another under your chin so it can tilt you, exposing your neck?
Have you squirmed as its rough, dry tongue slides down your cheek, over your jaw, to your throat, in a slithering search that's seeking your artery? Have you felt its hot breath release in a hiss against your skin when it probes your pulse — the flow that leads to your brain? Has its tongue rested there, throbbing slightly as if savoring the moment? Have you then experienced a sinking, sucking blackness as you discover that not all vampires feed on blood — some feed on memories? Well, have you? Maybe not. But let me rephrase the question: Have you ever walked into a room and suddenly forgotten why you came in?
I've been having vivid dreams lately. Not the ones that felt like I'm flying or being chased by a monster or anything. It felt like I was living someone's life. At first, it lasted only a few seconds. Then it progressed into hours, days. Soon enough it turned into years. There were times I woke up screaming, confusing people around me because I thought I was the person in the dream. Each one was different than the last — one time I'm a regular old dad with two kids, another I was a drunk living in a dump of an apartment. I talked to a therapist about it, he thought it was short-term memory loss or me reliving a past life or that kind of shit. But I know it's not a past life, and I know the people in my dreams are real. I tried to look up the people in my dreams, tried to find out who they were. I only found obituaries.