Walking a trail in the woods, stuff’s dying and growing in tandem. It smells sickly sweet, but that’s not it. Fragrant isn’t it either. It’s the woodsy mixture of decomposition and dirt. Pine needles by the millions pave a lush cushion you can feel through sole and sock and skin. We walk along talking of politics, climate change, dinner options. A woman walks in front of us barefoot. Dusk settles in behind us.
The moon’s risen up there hidden behind opaque sheaths, halfway towards disappearing for good. The bed calls, unmade, creased sheets and a folded over comforter. I fight back sleep, eyes open, replaying a fever dream, awake, rummaging through cabinets and cupboards, searching for something to consume. An undisturbed glass of water is visible on the kitchen table, left behind, lukewarm. I chug it to 1/8th full. Leave the rest, ever the optimist. Blurry vision. Reminder to make an appointment with an optometrist. But I have eye drops in my backpack, top pocket. Screwcap, plastic wrapper. Sanitary. Skip the doctor’s appointment, health insurance won’t kick in 80% until I hit my deductible, anyway. Another hour begins. Water down to 1/16. Halving it over and over until math becomes a flat line. The cat plays with a toy in the background.
I ordered flan in Milan from a waiter named Jean. He hailed from France, and was snowed in by chance so he decided to remain in the Italian city most renowned for its pants. When the snow melted, he felt it was time to return to his land but first wanted his velvet pants to be dealt with, or belted, just as long as they stayed by his waist when he tilted. So he went to the tailor to submit to a fitting, the old man’s fingers were flitting, and without any warning a pin pricked his skin while he was sitting. He bled through the fabric, a dramatic stain appearing seemingly as if by magic. Not even a napkin pressed firmly against the waiter’s apparently, easily, puncturable flesh could stem the intense seepage, dispensing from his appendage. The waiter expired (his pants hemmed, but not finished with all that was required) and the flan in his thoughts till the end.