Held Up

I am sitting in my favorite coffee shop on a weekday, feeling stoned, feeling held up by time and place and commitments that hang across my shoulders like a jacket that is too tight but that I bought anyway at the thrift store because it looked hip over my hoodie and the plaid lining suited my color. These compass-less characters that Bret Easton Ellis has put on the page, these characters driven solely by the impulse to get laid by the first person they misunderstand after the one they want leaves with someone else, are making me ill. This is why I didn’t sleep around in college. This is why I don’t write first person fiction. This is why I want to be attracted to women. These men, these men just want to crush me. These men, I just want to crush.

I can’t shake off this stoned feeling, this high on chemicals, other than THC, which I’ve felt just this side of almost never. I don’t care for it. I’m lost in each moment, watching it walk away from me just like the customers leaving with their insulated cups of coffee. Come back. Come back and contribute to the unfocused channeled energy surging from the laptop screens and eyes seated on the bar stools. Come back, you people with lives that require you to be somewhere other than a coffee shop at 5pm on a Thursday. Come back! Please. I’m waiting to be told what my night holds. Two offers on the table while the confirmed plan looms large. Stay fixed to this place so my sight can stay fixed to this place.

I miss the only recently distant social isolation, where I learned to live within each moment, completely self-contained in the determination of my own hand and head. No intrusions, no feeling other than whatever I let be or willed to be. No heart to protect or care for since no claim was being laid upon it. Any thoughts of rocky spines and warm crooks were idle, innocuous, without object. Now these thoughts have names, have planes, have feelings, have schedules. Have expectations. Have disappointment. Have possibilities. Take back your possibilities, you names!

Now I am settled nowhere except when within the bookends of sleep. I am connected to everyone and no one. I’m immersed in the people I love and in the people I want to maybe, probably, definitely not, perhaps love. Where is the secret center of my self-contained calm? Did I leave you across the ocean caught in the Jacaranda trees? I am reeling in the bounty of connectivity and can no longer tell which way is up, which way is down, which way is stoned, which way is stone cold sober. I can no longer tell.

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