On When I Rediscover Tumblr and the Million Messages My
Stalker Left Me Then Turn Them Into a Blackout Poem in
Some Poor Attempt at Catharsis and Closure
Things are just as shitty as always with me, in case you ever wonder. Sometimes I wonder if they ever changed for you. Sorry I was such an asshole.Guns are pretty sweet.Do good out there, kid.She said she really wanted to get drunk.She was too drunk.She could barely form words.Someone had sex with her.Rape.The shit girls did to me in high school was bad,but it doesn't even compare.If Itry to drive there,I'll crash.I miss her.You may be witnessing the creation of an alcoholic.Can't sit here sober;only stayed because of her.I fucked up.Things are getting better—never fast enough.Never thought I'd live past 2012.You had a big social circle,lonely in spite of that? I really regret not having sex with [REDACTED] that once, there hasn't beensex in my life.I get why you stopped responding.Missyou.It's wrong; won't stop.Labyrinth quote-alongtonight.Thought of you.Got inexplicably sad.David Bowie's penis was so visible…who let that happen?I got over what happened,pretty sure you did too. It sucks that everything turned out how it did.Keep having weird intrusive thoughts in your voice lately.I got hit by the car.Fuck you. I wanted to stay friends.I went to her house.Her roommatethrew a chair at my truck, then chased me as I drove away.Why do girls dye their hair right when we break up?I'm lonely now.What the fuck.Fuck.She started dating the guy she cheated on me with.Called an arrest warrant in on her.Doesn't feel like I've done enough.If I don't do more, I'll lose control and cause permanent damage. Wow, am I an asshole when I feel like I've been wronged. I
understand, more than you'll think I did when you read this. Things keep getting better for me.Don't waste your potential. Don't become complacent. Good luck and goodbye. How was that old url spelled? I've been thinking about you lately. I feel so tired It's the end of a long trip, and I'm ready to go home,but I don't have a home anymore.I'm ready for a change again. This shit is extremely confusing. You know who it is. Keep bein’ the best you there is, cuz you is the best person ever. Mad props, fam. Miss you sometimes. Wonder where you stand on me. Just went through your Tumblr. Been dating my current girlfriend for almost a year. I have a beard. Once you told me someone needed to appreciate me before I was all used up. Did that happen? Am I all used up? I should be happy. I'm not, so I pushed everyone away again. I have this impulse to move away whenever I'm not happy. It doesn't change anything. You're not coming back. I'm still getting better. That's all we can ask for, right? Still miss you, and you’ll still know the score. Saw pictures of the wedding. I said "Holy fuck." Shit. Miss you a bit. Guess I'm not part of anything anymore. Girls I grew up wanting to be with are married. Old friends hate me— everything I grew up afraid of, but it's not awful. I'm building myself, but it's slow
going. You always loved him in ways you never could've loved me. Such a weird cliche about you and the one you married. Maybe this is Hell after all. So much has changed. I wonder what I've forgotten about. Hope to see you again someday. It'd be weird to hear from you now that we're grown-ups. Weird but nice, I think. I miss you. I never really loved you I'd have picked [REDACTED] in a heartbeat. I still think about you. I wonder how I'll look back on the girls from my college years that I feel sure I never loved now.
All at once, there was an attempt.
The streetlights flickered with the electricity of my promise, the too-thin pipes that my asshole neighbors keep filling with baby wipes howled their approval, the elephant that lives in my HVAC unit when it’s windy cooed. They echoed it back to me: “Tonightonighttonight we sleep. We let the sandman’s dust cover our eyelids like some precious gift that we do NOT take back to the store without a receipt.”
It is 2AM, and I am in line at Sears without a receipt. My brother is with me, and we’re holding some set of tools I don’t recognize. If we pull this off, I might have enough money to buy half a bra. Isn’t that all anyone ever wants— to support a single boob?
“Ma’am,” I say to the cashier who looks more like a child in a bunny suit than any person I’ve ever seen. “This is the finest torque wrench on this side of the Mississippi.”
I have no context for how far we are from the Mississippi or which side of it we are on. I am not sure if I am talking about the river or the state. I do not know what a torque wrench is.
My brother is painfully aware, and so is the bunny person.
“That’s just a regular wrench,” they say back to me. The fluorescent lights of this place are killing me; I’ll never get any sleep if this keeps up.
“Not in my hands, it’s not.”
When we leave, the night air is all disappointment and leaves. There’s a season out there somewhere, but I can’t place what it is. My brother is suddenly bow-legged because he keeps stepping directly into my path like he doesn’t know I’m walking right behind him, so I begin to march in step behind him, holding the un-returned not-torque-wrench like a baton while whistling.
“Where are we going to next?” I ask him. In response, he calmly bursts into next Tuesday, leaving me alone in the parking lot without my wallet.
I begin to dig. I use that piece of metal and I dig, and dig, and dig, all the way down into the bunny person’s little rabbit hole.
“Here, eat this,” they say to me as if this is the most normal thing to happen to them today. More normal than a small woman trying to return a tool without a receipt. They hand me a small strip of paper.
“What is this, Wonderland? Am I going to grow big and tall or short and small? Will I fall endlessly for hours and never remember the way back home?”
The bunny person takes off their head like a series of Russian nesting dolls, over and over again. Unexplainably, each time, beneath the previous head is the same head, the same size, the same texture. How do they all fit?
“No,” they say. “It’s acid, duh.”
I’m almost sure that I’ve already eaten some, but I take it anyway. Just to be safe. We crawl our way out of the hole and lay on the ground, staring at the sky. Back in the parking lot, we talk for a long time about how the pressure at the bottom of the ocean isn’t that different from the pressure on the surface. When the sun comes up, I am still tripping over ideas, words, the acid, and my own feet.
Singing birds draw my attention; I pull back my skin to see if they are coming from inside me and suddenly I am pulling back blankets. The parking lot has turned to pillow top, and I am warm in bed.
Exhausted, I fuse myself into the springs.
Sara Watkins (she/her) is an editor, author, and collector of tiny, fat dragons. She is also a Philadelphian and, arguably, a human. Her writing explores themes of disability and autonomy using wry surrealism and general weirdness to champion the idea that, despite our differences, we are not alone. Recent publications include work in Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature, MASKS Literary Magazine, and Blink Ink. Sara can be reached via www.sarawatkins.net or @saranadebooks. Sara recommends the Patient Advocate Foundation.