Breadcrumb #352


Addie is smiling but I see a raincloud over her head clear as day. She’s mad at me. She’s disappointed.

    It is so sunny out. I hate it. The sun makes it harder for me to see the things I see. I am so tired. I cannot localize the thing that drains me.

    She looks at me one last time before she leaves, like she is hoping I am gonna say something, but I can’t think of anything to say. She kisses me on the cheek & says she will be back later tonight & to not wait up. Her voice has that faraway sound I have grown used to.

    I walk back to our room. I don’t have any classes today so I might as well try to get some writing done.

    Spring is always hard for me. I stare at the blank page & it stares back at me, telling me what I already know but am too scared to admit.

    That I have nothing to say.

    All I think about is her & how at the beginning of this year it was so different between us. The school year is almost over. I probably won’t see her during the summer. All our nebulous plans have fallen through.

    I really think the Queen in Yellow is coming closer, though. She has her eyes on me. I have something she wants. I think it is Addie. She sees how happy she makes me & she wants her gone. She has been trying to destroy my world since I was three-years-old.

    I remember because it was the last day I breastfed. My mother was one of those hippie types so she did not believe in weaning me off, so I had to be the one to quit. Years later I realized it’s just that she was a narcissist. The idea of me not needing her for my sustenance was not something she could handle. Once I stopped it was like I did not exist. I was not her baby anymore. Like an animal in the wild, she moved on, always on the hunt for something new to get obsessed about, something new she could possess & devour & consume.

    My mother’s sad eyes shocked me. Saying, I quit.

    Like breaking up with a dealer.

Once I stopped it was like I did not exist. I was not her baby anymore.

    I went outside to the garden. The sun was bright. I found my way to the lemon tree. It was surrounded by a cool patch of clover that I loved to sit in & touch. Always dew kissed & cool even on hot sunny days. I noticed a few bees, but that was normal. Then I noticed a few more & then more. The few became a swarm that did not sting me, but gathered as one big black thing, buzzing at me & I heard her voice. She was calling me. I saw her eyes in the winged mass of velvet bodies, green like poison, glittering wet, so big, penetrating.

    I watched her & she watched me. I got the feeling that even though this was the first time I was seeing her this was not the first time she saw me. That scared me. Her singular focus on me that I could feel like a magnetic pull. An arm emerged from the buzz. A hand, towards me & finally I reacted like any baby would, with sudden wailing cries.

    My mother rushed out & scooped me up. She did not nurse me as she had done before when I was scared. She gave me a spoonful of honey with some lemon instead.

    Now there was hate in her touch.

    The queen returned to me every few years. Never coming as close as she did that first time. Sometimes I would faintly hear her voice calling me, telling me to do things or telling me bad things people were hiding from me. Sometimes it was just a smell. That faint smell of honey. The sweetest honey you ever smelled. Overpowering even in such small doses. The kind of sweetness that could make you hate sweetness forever.

    If she takes Addie from me I will come for her. She took my first cat & she took my baby brother.

    I know she is not done with me.

    Sometimes when I sleep deeply after taking whiteibis, which I am prescribed, but if I take more than the dosage along with my day meds, then I get weird dreams. Sometimes when I am sad I take more just so I can have something interesting to look forward to.

    I have really not been doing it as much since Addie moved into my dorm room. Even before we started becoming more than friends. The night she moved in I slept like a baby. I was able to cut my sleep dosage in half & my night terrors pretty much vanished.

    Lately though, I have noticed her looking at guys, which bothers me more than if she was looking at chicks, because then at least I know we have something they can’t touch. But a guy I cannot compete with. They have the one thing I definitely do not have & if that is the thing she wants then there is really nothing I can do. I have trouble talking about my feelings when I am scared so I have kind of clammed up. I want her to ask me what is wrong. I want her to reassure me that she loves me. I am scared that she is over me so I do not even ask. I just quietly recede, waiting for the bomb to go off like I know it will.

    When we first met, almost a year ago, it was one of those instant things. We did not even introduce ourselves to each other. We just started talking. There was a language already there, like we were simply picking up where a previous conversation had dropped off. By the second day of knowing each other we met for every meal of the day & when it was time for her to go back to her dorm room after we had been getting high all evening & watching I am Curious Yellow & Blue is the Warmest Color, she did not want to go & complained about how she hated her roommates.

    I hated her roommates too.

    She slept over in my bed. Nothing happened.

    About a week later, my roommate moved out on her own accord & Addie moved in. It was like a party 24/7. We smoked so much weed. That is probably the main thing we did. I found myself actually telling her about myself. And she did not hate me. I felt seen, understood. We talked about all the stupid things we had done in the past & were able to laugh about it. One night, while listening to the new Lana Del Rey album, Lust for Life, we ended up kissing & making out for hours. We started holding hands in public & the whole campus was buzzing with it.

    And now it is falling apart.

    The buzz is loud inside my head & she is fading away.

    I stop typing.

    I hear footsteps. Shit. Is she back?

    I jump in the closet because I hear a guy’s voice & I just don’t know how I would even deal with that right now.

    They burst in acting like they’ve been day drinking. Her hair is already all over the place. I recognize the guy. His name is Taylor & he is a photography student. Code for professional perv. She takes off her top & he takes out his camera, laughing.

    “How about some music?” he says, rubbing his camera lens with the edge of his flannel shirt.

    “Sure!” She is excited, bubbly. She walks over to the computer on the desk by the closet & I freeze. I can see the sweat hovering on her pores, her eyes unfocused, her eyeliner smeared. I don’t understand why she’s even doing this. But I feel like if I come out now, I will ruin whatever is left of what we have. I will look jealous & insane & then she will definitely leave me, probably for this asshole. Why do chicks always go for the assholes? Every time. It’s like the hotter & smarter they are, the more they crave that beast to degrade them & make them feel like some thing to be used. I have seen it so many times.

    Lost so many friends to their asshole boyfriends.

    She puts on The Weeknd.

    “Perrrfect,” he purrs, leaning against the wall, holding his camera like it is a beer bottle he is casually sipping.

    “Where do you want me?” she asks.

    “Why don’t you get on the bed. That way you can get into any position comfortably.”

    She walks over to the bed & flops down gracelessly. She leans back & tries to look seductive but she just looks drunk.

    “Yes, that’s good. Nice,” he says, clicking away from different angles & getting closer. “You are so beautiful, you know that?”

    “Oh stop,” she says. She smiles & obviously definitely does not want him to stop.

    “I’m serious! I’m an artist. I see faces. You have one of those…. classical faces. You know, very symmetrical.”

    She laughs & gets on all fours, like a cat. She leans forward, looking both sleepy & fierce, as her red hair cascades over her shoulders & down her arched back.

    “Very nice,” he says, getting closer. He strokes her back & smacks her ass. She laughs & sits up, startled. She just kind of sits there. He puts the camera down & sits down beside her on the bed.

    “I think I got a good batch right there. We can always do more later, you know, maybe outside or something.”

    She nods.

    They smile at each other. He playfully grabs her chin, shakes it side to side & kisses her on the lips & she sinks into it, like she was thirsty all her life for his kiss. She hops onto his lap, straddling him, grinding into him as he cups her ass cheeks.

    I can’t breathe. I am paralyzed by what I see.

    I had no idea she was even into guys.

    Through my tears & dripping mascara I see him peel off her blue jeans & white cotton briefs, undoing his own pants & getting on top of her. Her moans are like knives to me. His sounds, like a beast. Each thrust stabs me in the gut. I have lost my appetite again. There is a bottle of whiteibis with my name on it. I could really go for a nice, big….long….nap.

    The kind you don’t wake up from.

    And then I remember.

    It’s her birthday.


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Breadcrumb #165


From the moment he awoke, his mind was erratic. His walk to the subway had become riddled with potholes since the winter ended, but he only ever noticed when they tripped him up momentarily. His body in determined forward motion, his eyes darted aggressively from moving cabs to clacking high heels, through glass pane store fronts and under restaurant awnings, to the tops of children’s shoulders. He rarely ever looked down because that didn’t coincide with the movements his mind was making.

    This time last year, he would have been walking to the office, but he no longer had his old job, or any job for that matter. His former boss had tried to keep him on for as long as possible after receiving the news, but he gradually became “unmanageable.” Co-workers complained about finding him in the copier room, organizing the supplies while he muttered to himself about reupholstering the living room chairs, or how to cook a better chicken piccata.

     His paperwork piled up, on and around his desk in fragile towers. He would open a folder and start reading, then immediately lose focus.  Open a different folder, then another, quickly gloss over terms like “revenue, and “frozen assets.” Words would prompt him to run internet searches for things like the best winter coat, then the best ski resort (he didn’t ski), then images of pine trees. He went on for hours down a misguided mental rabbit hole. Then he got up and walked back to the copier room.

     There wasn’t anything that could singularly hold his focus or concern. He moved distracted from task to task with no cognizance of what he was doing, only a dim understanding that he was doing something. By the end of his time there, having accomplished essentially nothing for months, his boss was no longer sympathetic. It didn’t matter what had happened to him. He simply wasn’t working, and it was time for him to go.

     The winter after he lost his job, he nearly got himself killed. Unemployed, he spent his time walking about the city. While his physical body treaded the earth, his muddled thoughts instead visualized when he had last seen the Big Dipper, and which books he had lent out but hadn’t gotten back. His eyes were open but they only saw his thoughts, not the red ‘do not walk’ sign, or the green traffic light, or the car that barreled toward him. Much like a drunk driver, his limp, distracted body hit the front of the sedan and rolled up the windshield.

The ordeal of preparing for the day took close to hours because he couldn’t just do one fucking thing. He couldn’t just brush his teeth, he had to alphabetize the bookshelf, or water the plants.

     Had he been paying any more attention, his body would have seized up, and the tightened muscles around his bones would have broken them upon impact. Had the car been going any faster, it would have completely run him over; he sometimes wished it had. But he rolled off, the car drove away, and he was “fine.” And his incessant internal dialogue immediately resumed. Limping toward the apartment, he wondered what was in the fridge, where his childhood pencil case was, and if the Mariana trench was really all that deep.

     Nowadays, he ran late. Always late, but to nowhere in particular except to the next thing, because he was only ever moving toward not not-moving. The ordeal of preparing for the day took close to hours because he couldn’t just do one fucking thing. He couldn’t just brush his teeth, he had to alphabetize the bookshelf, or water the plants. He would dribble toothpaste spit across the house while he futilely multitasked, always eventually forgetting what he was initially doing, and abandoning the wet toothbrush on the radio or the couch. He left the house with a mouthful of white minty foam and precarious stacks of books on the floor.

    By the time he arrived at the coffee shop on the corner, it was early afternoon. That was the one semblance of routine he did have, more out of habit than any actual desire to get a morning beverage. When it was his turn at the counter, he audibly fumbled over sizes and flavors, his daily decision making interjected with his running train of thought. 

     The barista stood with her hand on her hip, her head cocked to the side in annoyance. The customers behind him toe-tapped and huffed. He didn’t notice. He took his drink, and hit the streets. Days came and went, spent frantically pacing around the boroughs. His sense of urgency was uncalled for for someone with nowhere to be.

     When he returned home it was always after midnight. The hours spent walking to tire his mind lasted longer and longer. His attempts at exhausting himself began to have no effect on his alertness or stamina. He entered the apartment dejected; but that feeling, like all his thoughts and feelings, was but a brief moment. He saw his messes from the morning and tried cleaning them up; stack the books back on the shelf, clean the spittle off the stereo. Having picked up the toothbrush, he stood upright to head down the hallway to the bathroom, but turned back and went into the kitchen. Instead, he placed the brush on the counter, and started running water to do the dishes. 

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