People are saying things that I can’t decipher. I have my headphones on and I keep thinking that the guy across the room is saying, “hot dogs,” when really he says, “hot sauce,” as he slams a bottle of Tabasco on the table.
Everyone is talking and talking and smiling with wide-eyes and laughing like everything is so funny.
“I can’t believe how big your salad is!”
“I can’t believe I’m eating this cookie!”
Ten people are writing screenplays. One guy is just telling a woman that he’s writing a screenplay, but he’s not actually writing it. He doesn’t know that she wouldn’t care either way.
And the red bus drives by and the sun reflects off the bus, making everything inside red and rosy. The walls are red. The chalkboard menu is red. That lady's salad is red and the tomatoes are still red too (the Tabasco from the hot dog guy is still red, maybe just redder now). Everything red. People’s faces are red. People's hands are red. Then it drives away, but his shirt is still red and your eyes are bloodshot from overexposure to the red, red, red bus.
I wonder how much coffee I can drink. I should really know by now that drinking coffee leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The best part of my day today was this chocolate chip muffin I ate. The top was all crunchy and sugary and I could taste the butter in every buttery bite. There was this boy sitting across from me outside wearing this weird hat and I kept wondering, “Why does he wear that hat? Really, why?” It was big with a flat all-around brim. All around his head there was a brim and then more brim. And he drinks water and Pepsi and even though the brim is so wide, he gets sun in his eyes as he tries to fit his straw between the clumps of ice. It sits in the cup, poking out awkwardly through the plastic lid. He looks around to see who’s watching and it’s me. So he goes away.
He walks away with that cup, but I can still see it in my head. I think about you and how you do not use straws. And then I think about you and how I always wake up first before you, and you smile with your eyes closed, pretending that you’re sleeping. I like that. The look on your face while you pretend to sleep is my second favorite look for you. I like how your hair falls when you sleep. It falls the opposite way from how it falls during the day when you’re awake. I like how you never wear glasses to bed because no one wears glasses to bed unless they’re drunk or so tired or sleeping on an airplane sitting up. They only accidentally fell asleep. You're sleeping on purpose. Fake sleeping.
I like it so much that you pretend to be sleeping because I can pretend that I’m awake, when really I’m sleeping right next to you.
I used to like listening to you talk. Very much.
But now sometimes I ask you questions, like, “Why did you leave me out here?” And you pretend like you don’t hear me or that I’m just talking to myself. What are you doing in there without me anyway? Maybe you are right.
Before, I used to take bites of you and pieces of your voice with me inside my head. I liked that very much.
The chocolate chips on the muffin form a chocolate chip mouth that laughs at me. Eat us and we’ll make you fat. It’s December and I want to be soft and fat, even though no one will love me when I’m fat. Right now I don’t want to be a lover and it feels nice to not be thought of or heard. Sometimes I think my phone is not working because no one is calling me, but nope; it is working just fine.
Sometimes I like to take baths at night and eat ice cream in the bath. The water warms me on the outside and a little in the middle, and the ice cream makes my insides cold. My teeth hard and shivering, feeling like they might fall out of my head, like cartoon teeth, onto the snowy ground, where kids can pick up the icy teeth and use them as bricks to make igloos.
Sometimes I don’t feel this way at all. I don’t want to eat ice cream in the bath or eat chocolate chips. I don’t even think about things like that at all. If I am not the person who thinks those thoughts or wants those things, why do I keep her thoughts? Why does that person stay with me?
Sometimes I think things that I would never think. When I cross the street, I talk quietly to any cars in my head, “Please do not hit me. Please do not smush me and make my bones crack into many pieces.” If I get hit by a car, I will be very angry for a minute before I die. I will be angry at that car that crushes me and angry at me for not being fast enough.
Someday, when I am crushed and dead, it will not matter how many things I ate or who I was pretending to sleep with. And we will be strangers and you will show up early in the morning to sit out in the cold with me again. Someday, you will stop looking at me like I'm someone I'm not.
Katie McMahon is a lady who lives in the North Hollywood area. She has a bachelor's degree that she keeps on her bookcase and looks at sometimes. She is getting a master's degree to put on her nightstand. Sometimes she takes pictures which you can look at here, but you don't have to if you're busy right now.