She feels turned inside out and the people surrounding her are walking skeletons of designer blood and guts.
She’s time-laden and irrelevant, struggling with the heaving weight of grayish bags beneath her eyes. As she looks in the mirror she judges the juxtaposition of what she sees against her surroundings, the disappointing result of that judgement makes her feel pasty, inconsequential and weak.
She told Maya she thought about bangs. She had thought long and hard about it, and in the end couldn’t make a decision – befittingly par for the course. She concluded at the end of the conversation that went nowhere that – in all seriousness – bangs were probably better than the tattoo she had originally desired. Maya laughed hard, and it wasn’t just polite laughter because the unmeasured loudness coming from the petite girl startled the gays and their clients, the hangers-on and assistants, the people like her just sitting there observing the surrounding activity in the salon with the tired eye of a time-lapsed camera.
She tried to explain to Maya that she needed a change. Needed, not wanted. She needed to tell herself that she’s no longer who she thought she was. Her insides are not full of dirt, mud and pieces of scrap metal. She’s pure on the inside. Clean and positive, motivated and alive. She has a purpose in life, she thinks. She must. Otherwise, what then?
Years ago she’d imagine how it looked on the inside. Like an anti-smoking ad detailing the human lung, or the science teacher in high school who passed around a bag of yellow human fat she’d imagine the anxiety stuck in-between her ribs or buried beneath her ribcage. She’d note how large it was and what consistency. Sometimes she’d breathe through it from night to night, noticing that a week later it would have grown smaller than the previous week.
She’s sitting in Maya’s chair. Maya’s cutting at and detailing the bangs. She wishes she could also trim out the inner isolation. She doesn’t want to exist at this particular moment in time. She tries to politely chat and pull herself back to the reality of the physical things she can see and feel.
She thinks about a family member who’s perpetually sad. At family gatherings he’d show up with a case of beer and could be found roaming the backyard examining a leaf, poking at animal holes in the ground, chain-smoking Marlboro Reds and tending to his case of beer. She liked to name whatever haunted him to be demons.
She wondered if those demons are hereditary, and then think that they can’t apply to me because no one in California has demons. Or do they? “What am I supposed to do now, she thinks, take some Vitamin B?
She wonders what happens when things go genuinely wrong. The worst panic she’s had is when she thought she ran out of Clinique touch-base for eyes. She almost resents being coddled as a youth and quickly tries to erase the thought as soon as the idea is scratched, not wanting to inadvertently wish any ill on upon herself in the interest of learning a life lesson about hardship and sacrifice. She grew up with no culture or sense of self, free from struggle or strife.
She feels that her childhood was a blur of nothing. And now she lives in a city full of people who want to be something, and so she resorts to being what she knows.