Not one of the people has looked at me this entire trip
I’ve done my share of staring at each of them, struggling to understand that behind that face, that skin, there is a human mind, a presence that is the center of its own universe.
It was the worst insomnia I had ever had.
I remember having dreams once, dreams that I was afraid I would never wake from. But this was just the opposite, living in a waking world that you could never escape from through the immunity of deep sleep.
When I went out, I felt like a ghost among the living,
like a part of the old forgotten farmland that had now been built over with upper middle class housing where corporate cars seemed perpetually parked in the clean white concrete driveways that lead up to the sterile magazine perfect homes.
I would wander the shore of the beach that took on the name of the town to which it fringed,
seeing the young people wade in her waters, couples wander her shores. It was like watching a remake of an old film , same story, new actors. None of it real, and me, watching from a place that I could not be seen or known by the characters as they played out their pre-written fates. The thought that they might respond if I reached out through the film like static that gauzed my eyes, to touch somebody, or speak to them, seemed like a foreign and vague notion. I refrained from such foolery and stuck to transactional conversations only when absolutely necessary.
“Dunhill blue, 20’s please”
“That’s 24 dollars”
Waiting for the transaction to register through the eftpos machine was long, quiet and dizzying.
The moment it cleared I began to walk out of the little store, avoiding eye contact with the clerk and the other customers and ignoring the man behind the counter as he attempted to offer me the small white square paper of the printed out receipt.