In the dream I step out the front door into nothing. An eggshell whiteness all around and immeasurable joy. That’s when I knew it was time to move.
I bought a bike before I bought a bed because priorities. But then I got doored by a cab, some tourists from Ohio, and anyway, I like walking. If you walk, you can stare at strangers. Part of me is convinced their faces will turn into somebody I know. Like: you thought I was Unknown Button Up Person No. 45? No dodo. It’s me, Luke!
I am back in The Bakery. There are those familiar yellow brick walls and Friday night crowds of customers. Next! Can I help whoever is next! Luke screams to be heard. Can I help whoever’s next, helicopter? shouts Lizzy. A woman in a brown hat steps up to Lizzy and orders two Yellow Daisy Cupcakes. Luke and I are in hysterics. Nobody else acknowledges the helicopter Lizzy released into the room. The three of us keep it up until close. Can I get you anything else, knapsack? Total is four forty-three, hopeful. Not a single person asked why we were fucking with them.
Luke and Lizzy are joking around and I am laughing on the sidelines. I laugh so hard I wake myself up. The air mattress is drastically deflated. Add duct tape to my list. Things are constantly popping up. This feels more pathetic than usual for me.
Lizzy hunches over a carrot cake inscribing Happy Birthday Third Uncle in red icing. Luke is the kind of guy you don’t know you’re into until you have a sex dream about him. Lizzie laughs and then she doesn’t. Are you into Luke? she asks. What no. Me and Chris have a future together with our closet full of weed plants. Lizzy stands up straight, inhales. Thank god, she says. How was it not obvious before. When was she gonna tell me. Why did I say that thing about sex dreams.
I try yoga because at this point I’ll try anything. The instructor is tiny inside my tablet screen. She says close your eyes. Tilt your head up to the sky. Focus on the roof of your mouth. Exhale. Feel the roof of your mouth expand. Let it take over everything. Swallow your entire body. Have problems no longer.
My phone vibrates and it is Luke. He says please, Roberta, go out with me. Go out with me and I will buy you lobster and it will be more fun than the lobster dinner you had with Chris. I stare at the message and don’t respond. I think about telling Lizzy but what would the purpose of that be? The next morning Luke texts WOAH sorry about those texts. My cat got ahold of my phone while I was drunk.
What texts? I type back.
Fine, the yoga instructor does not say that last part. I was just being a dick. Why do I make fun of everything, even when what I am making fun of is for my own good? I try again later. The yoga instructor tells me to focus on the roof of my mouth. Are you aware of your own gummy ridges? she asks. Gummy ridges sound like a joke. I lean back against the wall. Brick dust covers my black t shirt. I would like the walls to close in, bury me alive, turn into nothing, release me outside, eggshell, hemisphere, helicopter, helicopter, helicopter.
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