5:20am, 19 September 2017
There is a stool at the corner of the room with cream walls and a low ceiling. I sit there unmoved and upset, feeling the warm air move through the space and bend where the walls meet, exactly where I sit. It is humid and I am frowning. My hair is much longer than how I want it to be, and sticky and damp and straw blonde. Then I realize the girl in the stool is not me because I am watching her from this distance of my dream and because her hair is a style I will never wear for myself. She is not me but I feel the same furrowing of brows and the heaviness of lips weighed down by a pout and the burning heat of eyes that can barely keep themselves open. I also know there is a party in the distance and I understand how this girl – I feel is me but I know is not – have excluded herself from the merriment. A blue balloon drifts towards her corner of the room and suddenly she is donning a party hat. A cone of chocolate ice cream is melting from her hands, creating a web of dark brown trails on her arms. Then her legs and all over her clothes. The sweetness dries on her skin, the chocolate stains her clothes. Laughter rises and fades. She is alone, still. Her face hasn’t moved but her sighs are long and drawn out, full of weight she wishes she didn’t bear. I am walking closer to her, I think. Or my eyes are the lens of a camera zooming in closer but not necessarily approaching her. The cone of ice cream melts completely, settling as a puddle of thick cream at her feet. Her limbs are stained with chocolate and she holds out her hands to look at the mess she’s created. They are starting another parlor game. She recognizes the voice leading the crowd and her lips move in tune to a spiel that comes to her by instinct. She licks the chocolate from her palm and wipes her face with the back of her hand. Her face and hair now stained, she is an artwork made of humid sweat and ordinary dessert. I am a camera lens, I am now sure. My sight, the viewfinder. I can see how the skin of her cheeks heaves at the weight of her breath and I breathe her in. I breathe with her. I breathe within. And the corners of my mouth point to the earth, my chest caves, and it is me again in this corner in this ending of this dream.