She trembles with the snowmelt, as if meaning to keep cold. I hold my bladder, watching. A chime is answered, voluntary pathogen pressed in the inner ear. We flag an app taxi. Her taps pillow ash on Astroturf. We’ve tried being clean. It’s entertaining. Rubber-banded grocery bag snapped overhead, plump lips lit by sparkling Retina Display, she intones: “I’m sick of everyone claiming they’re a survivor. You didn’t survive shit.” Her thumb drills the screen. “Just being a victim’s never enough.” I encourage some thoughts being saved from the feed.
The stink of Lysol and mouth foam peculiar to most mental patients, followed by what might have been kindly referred to as Genghis Khan eyes, sat in my car, unhinging its hair. She’d grown everyone around her into a cyst without circumference. Her moons waned in me. Our collective urge to self-destruct flattered suburban crackheads. All the interstices of pain she came to cultivate stood polluted through a lust not given lightly. Barren from poking at herself too long: “I’ve been bullied by many endoscopies,” she mocked. These disassembled memories spent like antibodies, petite sufferings left uncured. Her mouth moved strangely, like the injustice of the creature it obeyed. “What do I have to do? Walk around in high heels all day just to get a couple pain killers? Any time I see these quacks they treat me like I’ve just crawled out from the dirt, a fucking junkie. And they’re still selling love and light like an unendowed alchemist.” We passed the house of a sister scared of her punk-like shadow. The mother’s house was off limits. We squeezed every last muscle relaxer from her armoire. “Open the glove box,” I said, “I geocached a souvenir from my sister’s suicide.” She flipped it open and the weight of the gun lugged against the plastic with a thunk.