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It Saved My Life, It Made Me Tired
If you call my hotline, I will simply say I’m not here. I’m sleeping under the shit-stain mattress with my contraband makeup and my emotions. For lunch I can have potatoes or brown potatoes. Monthly, I shed out the horrors. Yes, escape is possible. But outside there are softer perils. For example, there is a man on the street corner who requires an excuse from me. I see myself there, mouth a slow canceling hole. Over and over I start sentences and delete them, balking like a frightened dog. I am overwhelmed, is what I finally come up with. I’m not in the right headspace. It seems the only way to convince him is to draw up a picture of myself as hysterical.
No lights on this train, the one that goes straight from my house to the hospital. Blood from my pussy drips onto the floor, kneaded out by the rocking.
Hey, says Liz, shaking my arm. I had been daydreaming of running on my hands and feet, fast like a horse, somewhere in the space between the tunnel and the rattling car. She pokes a piece of paper in front of me. I hold it up to the light leaking out from the Pregnancy Crisis Center ad. It’s a bill – my prescription drug debt.
I never signed off on this, I say. I let it fall. My hand shakes lightly.
Doesn’t matter, says Liz. You were in the emergency room 12 days last month. It adds up.
The train stops in the middle of the tunnel and three older women snail their way out into the darkness. Emergency room, the conductor announces. I hear my blood quietly splatting the debt.
Should I not get out then? I ask.
I’m unsure what qualifies as emergency.
Phoebe Glick is a writer and video artist living in Brooklyn, where she writes dystopian short stories, participates in anti-racism activism, and identifies as a cyborg. She is a second year candidate in the Pratt MFA in Writing. Her work is forthcoming in Big Lucks.