It’s a Tuesday morning, I am twenty-one years old, and the skin around my eyes is red from bawling. I am standing on the sidewalk staring at my stupid, fucked-up car, which is very quickly becoming a terrible symbol for my stupid, fucked-up life.
Okay, yes, I know—I was being super dramatic. BUT if there was ever a time I earned the right to drama, it was that day, that moment when my ten-year-old Hyundai Sonata shuddered to an unexpected stop in the middle of the street on its way to my as-of-fourteen-hours-ago ex-boyfriend’s house to pick up my things. In the seconds between my car’s sudden stop and the beginning of my frantic scream-cries of “No, no, NO!” I made the decision that I was going to let the incident completely absorb and ruin my life.
“It’s 10 a.m. on a Saturday as the smell of bacon and eggs fills the air in a small, midtown restaurant. The pace is frantic, and it’s noisy inside, sunny on the patio and no one seems to care. Every table is occupied as hungry patrons wait to be served.. People are singing, even dancing. Smiles and great banter abound. Food lovers beware…you’re in for a tasty surprise.”
I’ve never seen anyone singing or dancing between the peeling plastic tables at Frank’s (or Francisco’s, depending on what time it is), despite the restaurant’s website’s claims – although the rest of the Courier-New-font paragraph rings pretty true to a typical Saturday morning at the breakfast place. I’ve eaten there enough mornings to know what “typical” was for Frank’s, though not quite often enough to be a regular, like the veiny old men that would sweat in baseball caps at the diner-style bar. Usually, I came with my boyfriend. A vegetarian, he never ordered bacon (though he once told me that before he leaves Tucson he’s going to have to try a Sonoran hot dog – I told him it would probably ruin his digestive system). We both ordered eggs.
There’s a certain deathwish that accompanies the common cold. Already, one feels death upon them, and with it the will to live is gone. Just as the mucus crawls its way from the back of the sinus and down the throat, one feels the pull to crawl towards the metaphorical light. The temples throb; the throat is raw; wet snot smears across the upper lip like some twisted form of chapstick. Let this end, or let me die.
The notion of physical activity when sick is tolling in itself, as exercising the mind while it’s foggy with phlegm is perhaps harder than exercising the body. “Rest” is a suggestion of a cure, but “restlessness” is a symptom of the illness. One’s bones begin to ache after three hours of tossing and turning in a sweaty, sleepless bed. The to do list grows longer and longer with the hours, and yet motivation is as weak as one’s sickness-ridden limbs. All one wants to do is take a walk around the apartment, god forbid the block, but sitting up induces a cartoonish flurry of birds to appear in one’s eyes. The edges of one’s vision grow momentarily black. Soon, the air erupts with the dry crunch of oxygen being violently forced out of the lungs. Continue reading
I don’t have a photo of him.
Once, I tried to take one of him, on my dad’s Minolta X-570. The camera was a birthday present from my mom to him, back when they were just dating. They went out to dinner that night, and he proposed. When my mom called her mom later that night, all my grandmother had to say was, “Did he like the camera?”
Anyway, I say tried because when I finally developed the roll months later, all I had was this: