I’m staring at a poster that reads “Can a fully grown woman truly love a MIDGET?” while downing my third Americano with grim determination. I’m feeling particularly destructive today. That always happens when I’m injured. My anger at my weakness metastasizes into an ugliness that can only be tamped with difficulty. Not that I’d ever act on it, of course. Even now, with my mind racing, almost tripping over itself, I am motionless. I refuse to fidget. Refuse to let my feet jackhammer the floor, my shoulders slump, or my fingers move an inch. Sometimes I think I do this because I am afraid of what motion may bring, as if the result would be totally unanticipated, or uncontrollable. But not today. Today I want the immobility. I want no motion. I want the tension inside to build, build, build, for that spring inside to tighten to the point of breaking. I want to feel the pulse of my blood along my feet and its dull roar around my ears. I want to experience that twitch in my calf and the millimetric quiver of my finger above the table. I want to feel alive. But it does not, and cannot last. I lose my focus and it ebbs away like it always does and then I am left empty and alone.

Later that night I will walk silently down the street. I will place my feet softly and purposefully, and in the quiet I cannot hear myself.

It is almost as if I am no longer there.

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