Note: The nature of this piece mirrors that of a writing experiment paired with a visual artwork of my choosing.
Trigger warning: A vivid description of an intrusive thought that may be triggering to individuals overcoming or dealing with any and all forms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
A fire ant is crawling down the back of my left thigh. I run my index finger across the landscape of what a back-of-a-thigh entails and I cannot seem to find him.
My green and purple striped bed sheets are six days out of a fresh laundry wash, tainted by the smell of a mild vanilla comforter liquid. The fragrance is leaving its confinement infrequently and quietly. It refuses to be contained.
The first person to abandon ship — the ship being my body, bone, flesh, blood, soul, all of it — was me. I am still trying to find my way back home.
The artificial orchids on the coffee table are catching dust. The remote control for a wide television set rests beside it in silent companionship. I would like to think they are friends, in the way that inanimate objects can be well acquainted with each other after years of coexisting above a shared panel of wood.
The cable bill for August reads like a mockery to the numbers that dance across it — must pay immediately.
My gracious mother of twenty three years is seated on the floor, reaching for her cellular device which will aid in forging a chicken curry recipe. She follows her quest by resting her head against the curved frame of the sofa.
It rained forty three minutes ago. The curtains shiver coldly on the onslaught of a slow evening draft.
My intrusive thought for the day:
• Imagine a fruit peeler, the kind with a worn handle from years of constant use — or don’t.
• Take the instrument to your ankle of choice and press down on skin until the air tastes of blood.
• Now, gently peel upward as you would with a plastic razor caging shiny metal blades.
• The peeled skin curls into itself — bashfully, almost.
• Rinse and repeat.
Today, I drew the portrait of a famous British musician. I scarfed down three packets of Chinese angel-hair taffy.
I did not envision an emptiness that is draining — like a vacuum in the middle of the Arabian Sea.
The pedestal fan squeaks hesitantly, as though it is fearful of life.
I drink hot water from a stainless steel cup.
I find my bearings.
I am alive.