Here's a secret: when I look at myself it's all or nothing. Nothing more often than anyone might guess. As a function of earlier being told I looked nice today, I feel like shit tonight. He said I looked nice - very nice. Two strikes. What was he looking at, and how can I prove he was wrong? He must have been. He has selective vision or idiot taste. Why do I choose defective friends, what defect in myself am I insulating?

You see how this sort of argument with myself could go on for years.

If you're ever very angry at me and want to teach me a lesson, sentence me to a long bath when I'm in a crummy mood. I keep trying baths, I know some find them soothing in times of crisis, but it's always just me and my thighs swimming in my own scum.

Here's a secret: my brain is put together wrong. Something bad happens. I don't talk about the details much; everything goes shifty and undefinable. On the edge of the tub was my razor. I looked at it and read its name on its handle and it made me sad, in a rush. The way the letters leaned. Schick. That's all. And a helpless wave sends me under. Look away, look back, it gets worse. Explain it, can't.

It's not quite synesthesia, nor any super-selective aesthetic sense, just a dumb, miswired reaction to meaningless stimuli. I keep telling myself it'll come in handy, but so far it's been like the sandpaper I have kept in my junk drawer for five years. What in the fuck do I think I am ever going to sand.

Here's a secret: sometimes I write about people in the present tense just so it will feel like they are still happening to me. Tonight while I lay in the tub grimly pondering, sinking, someone sat on the damp edge and swirled the foam with a fingertip and talked and then let me talk. Nobody, that's who. You can all stop asking if she will be with me for the holidays because she is long gone. There is no one here to stop me from using this silence. I'll go off for a while and slowly remember that I am a builder.   Resurface.   I'll be back.   I'm still shivering.

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