Chapter 2: Am I Dreaming or is New York a hard maze for a deaf rat

"Am I Dreaming" is a series for Eternal Sleepover written late at night by Emma about things that actually happened and things that didn't, things that were thought and things that were said by others, all blending on a subconscious plane. What is real and what is not is for you to decide. 

my first entry was on june 28, im kicking myself for not settling into this concept earlier in the summer but it was too hot to think, i was too busy putting crosses on bug bites and trying to find a way to eat. ever had white rice with peanut sauce for breakfast lunch and dinner… but breakfast and lunch blur together and dinner is the crispy rice sticking to the edge of the pot. stole some gluten free bread for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from a place we accidentally smashed a jar of pasta sauce in, standing, staring at it on the floor. they said had to pay or they would call the cops, said they see everything, apparently they don’t. the guy who gives us free ie cream is going to wisconsin for a girl and because he can make a lot of money as a barista out there. paris is going to canada because her lease is up, just as she is settling into her apartment, she sighs. the lot of them are going back to atlanta, sammy hasn’t been here for awhile. it feels like the city is draining, swirling, and we are inevitable going to dip down , hair catching in the drain and clogging. our bathtub is laughingly referred to as the swamp because it takes three days to drain even after three bottles of draino. I made her happy with the stick on wallpaper for a while and then it started to peel off.

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im really big on making friends right on the streets and bringing them home but maybe people who would come home with a stranger aren’t to be trusted. at one party we stayed up all night painting on canvases on the wall and taking pictures, wonder what happened to that really sweet goth kid that I met? They told me about their acid trip for about forty five minutes, how they thought they had died the entire time and for a few days after that, and they were living in an in-between figment of reality of life. they looked around the room as if they still weren’t sure if that was reality or not. 

Brandon slept over and we went through photos and ate strawberry popsicles and all fell asleep because of the heat. top floor, hot air rises, little italy, that hot air smells like fish or garlic bread depending on the time of day. i look out on the street from my fire escape and see huge sparkling flowers hovering in the air, the street is closed off sometimes, people sing opera, i get sick of hearing that one guy sing the new york song again and again, holding the O in york longer and longer each time, clutching his chest. sometimes people applaud and sometimes they shout crude things at him, it really depends on the day of the week. it’s like disneyland down there, families happily having authentic italian food together and then purchasing make america great again hats next door. everyone on our block recognizes us, but we don’t really stop to talk often.

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We slept over at lexies, twice, she lives by tompkins park where there are bagels and skaters and pianos and people selling drugs and scouting for runways and ad campaigns. Its a good spot to meet friends at. We slept at hers, we went over, music off of an iPhone connected to a speaker, one is always low battery so its a juggle of chords and fumbling of switching playlists. I love to see who controls the weather of the room with music: usually the ones who have something to prove in the group or quiet ones who want to have a voice in the conversation but don’t want it to be their voice necessarily. Word gets around that we can read tarot, so strangers ask us sometimes. He asked that night, we both glanced at each other knowing it was going to be a heavy read. We looked back into the past before we pulled out his cards and had to find the way to break the truth to him in the simplest way possible. He left laughing, saying he only did it because he was drunk, saying they had to rush out because the falafel place was closing soon.

I get up from peeing and see it there, art that we made, it’s my handwriting but i don’t remember making it, I must have been pretty high. Lexie says it was sent to her with no return address and no explanation, she thought it was hate mail, beautiful beautiful hate mail because on it we have written “liar, liar, liar” it’s not about her, it’s whatever the voices were saying at the time. 

We sleepover next at Carie’s right next to Sammy’s old apartment, they moved their stuff one door down. Three girls live there, none of them have long hair so I always am looking for hair ties when I am there. Carie is in cooking school and trying not to drink right now, so she’s mostly quiet with her blond hair grown almost all the way out, just an inch left of it, the rest dark brown, dark dark brown, it might be black. She sits with fang (2 pound chihuahua) on her lap and backwards baseball cap and occasionally predicts our future (she’s a witch) or says something sinister or daydreamy, glancing around for corners of the room to escape into, always. First night we sleepover there, it’s her one year anniversary in NYC, for the occasion she cooks a peanut sauce thai pizza, cold thai noodles, and rice with tomato slices she cooked in an inch butter and garlic. Her kitchen also only has two surfaces and four people in it at once, it’s hardly a corner of the apartment. We are jumbling about four pans around and a cutting board and the three sauces she decided to make, always. It’s an event for every meal. We had tacos the next night and watched sponge bob in bed, then had french toast that was reworked into bread pudding for breakfast with tofu scramble and vegan bacon. I need to remember to write more postcards to her. We go up one night on Kat’s roof and look out at a psychedelic pink and purple sunset. I love seeing how different everyone’s eyes capture the world, and cameras, and kids I miss and didn’t get to say a proper goodbye to, hug one last time, they just fade into the I’ll see you again soon medium. 

she says the line in godspeed “you look down on where you came from, but you have a place to call home always,” reminds her of me. I came from a valley of synthesized sin and superimposed purity. There’s lots of mormons, lots of talk of no sex before marriage or eyes rolled at exposed thighs or stomachs in 100 degree heat. I run every day, its hot so I’m in a sports bra and shorts, catching all the sprinklers I can. The JV boys make sure to kindly remind me that I have nipples, my friends lie and say they haven’t had sex yet, their texts say differently when they pop up on their phone, stories change and lies do a limbo backbend to fit in with the facts. I came from seeing billboards of 18 naked ladies asses at age 8 when going to go get pizza, and sex hotline cards scattered in the gutters. Friends who did prescription pills and drank four lokos and did donuts in parking lots: they were my almost friends, I felt not judged when I was with them, but not ready to join them, always hanging in this weird balance of wanting to be a good girl and wanting to cause trouble.

I need a break from who I was settling into being there, stay on the move so you stay changing, keep no routine so you don’t become numb to live and everything starts to layer on top of each other and then suddenly 6 years have gone by. 

I’m trying to keep a good track of my days and nights now, its 11:17 pm NYC time, but earlier in vegas, we are 2 hours from landing, I wonder what lingers ahead, a dark future because it’s not illuminated yet. No one has a bright future, they just have things unseen. You have to get on your hands and knees with your cracked screen and phone flashlight and find the crevices to squeeze through and treasures underneath floorboards and ways out of here.