In trying to pay for a prepackaged sandwich, I accidentally pull a condom from my wallet. The cashier looks at me like I’m about to ask her to make change. It must be from the thrift store in Berkeley - near my roommate’s family home, where we spent the night on Saturday. I just stare back, hand her my debit card, mentally prepare myself for two more classes. It’s my long day.
One of my professors is a very famous poet. After class tonight, he tells me that once he retires he might like to write a book on celebrity chicken - as in, celebrities who own or operate restaurants with chicken. “A novel?” I ask him. “A novel might be a bit long,” he says. “A novella then,” I offer. He likes fried chicken. He likes to visit the south but would never live there again.
I dream about blue bees, about books I publish but can’t seem to manage to write in real life, about thick trees crushing sheds in backyards back home on Long Island. I dream that I have computers without the ability to send or receive emails, perfect skin at all times, and that my baby tooth is forever coming loose.
I dream often. I dream with my knees curled into my chest and my head hung low.
My problem is that I need adventure in order to feel grounded. I never say it, but I need an anchor for my crazy, to feel protected so that I can go on feeling free. If I had said that - rather, if I’d said anything at all - instead of touching my nose to the wall and going quiet again, I might be someone else by now. Instead I ignored the voice at the back of my head, the mouth against my neck; steadied my breathing so that it sounded like I’d already left the night behind.