Out in the world in the car on the freeway and streets spinning spirals of severe ups downs, high and low dystopia. I need out of my head. My hands tingle like my arms are asleep and everything is too much. I need to get out of this place, it’s too strange. Sounds are loud and overlap with texture lights sensation and memories. I’ve lived too much. And Mackenzie is stress driving and listening to gospel conference talks turned up too loud and the homeless are out on the streets and people have stuck red plastic beer cups into the fencing across the freeway reading prophetic end of the world type rants and the flags are flying half mast. The sky’s grey and the ruddy Spanish drywall texture on the walls and ramshackle buildings is too thick and carries heavy brown grey dirt in the bottom spackle cracks. My makeup is foreign and I’ve aged since I last knew myself. My body hangs differently on my bones and I don’t like it. The world cracks open too much too fast and I rebel, revel in it all at once too much. Absorbing. Laying my head against the glass unable to do anything but take it all in I close my eyes and soak against my will. I breathe in my loud head and feel the air too much. Too much in my early aged wrinkled skin and sweaty old hands. My little sister drives me and panics in minor traffic. A stressed new driver chauffeuring the prematurely old. It’s changed and there’s more people but the streets cross the same lines and my inner compass knows this place and this skyline and this earth leans this way, that way and that way. I speak over the heavy preaching, “turn, turn” and we make it. I step out, disoriented, and walk into a plastic banner laden place. Football helmets and beer advertisements hung in front of the cast iron patio bars with a man sitting under the awning with his bicycle and goatee, road shoes, biker shorts. This is familiar, I know this scene exactly. It’s even in a familiar part of town and I lived just down the way when I was 18. The dive bar is smashed between a gun shop and a Chinese buffet. I step inside, let my eyes adjust and simultaneously scope the place. Bartender, girls in denim cut-offs, regulars turning their heads, pool tables, tv screens, booths and the dim lights. I watch the bar backs exchange words about me. I easily slide into character and a booth. I smile, I’m personable, I talk, laugh, fit. She’s interviewing me, but she’s young and she laughs and she’s curious, intrigued, comfortable but puzzled. I walk out under the sky again and back into the chaotic car. The gospel preacher loud on the car stereo, traffic, cars and freeway. I tell Kenzie where to turn without the extra noise from the maps on her phone. How’d we ever live before all this. I can’t be here anymore. I can’t come back after all of that. And I have to. I have no choice but to be here present now to collect this me so I can leave this place and transition into the next.


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