If they came and kidnapped me right now and blindfolded me, gagged me
stuck me in the trunk
I would stay calm
because I know the roads.
I would know where they took me.
Quick left, quick right, quick left
to the freeway
or the other way.
The slow S shape
winding back and forth.
They won’t go 35 and 45.
They are in a hurry.
They will push it and speed.
And when the orange sign warns that going over 30 round this turn will lead to death and it will be your own fucking fault
they won’t listen.
They will go as fast as they want.
But the car won’t flip or crash because the guy driving the car is a professional.
I’ll use my nose to figure out where we are.
The smells go like this
City, people
Less city, people
Rich, rich soil
Soil and garden
Onion rings?
Cars, industrial stink
too much.
And Joe says
You Don’t Ruin Everything
Don’t say that anymore, Leah, it’s not true.
And I hear him from far away.
I’m not really in the trunk
but I am bound and gagged.
The buildings and the streets
they are neon pink and orange
It’s not true, I know.
But I still see it.
I’m not in the trunk.
I know I’m sitting next to Joe in the front because from my vantage point in the back seat
I see him holding my hand.
There are tears running down my cheeks
for no reason at all.
But my mouth is trying to smile and feels like nothing is wrong.
They aren’t connected to each other.
My mouth says
Gatorade powder
toilet paper
milk and I smile
and my eyes cry
for some unknown reason until I need a hankie or tissue.
In the isles I can’t stop staring.
The boxes, the floor, so sharp, so blurry
all so beautiful in neon.
The colors are almost overwhelming plus I know they aren’t there but, they are and I can’t stop staring.
Everything should cost a dollar.
Things are so expensive.
Joe gently guides me along
and when I say to no one except the cereal boxes that I like Honey Nut Cheerios
he says
Yes You Do. You Like Them.
And grabs my hand to look at canned beans.
There is a family with four kids.
Both parents are wrangling two.
Line the kids up and they make a stairway just like my kids did.
But my kids are old.
I don’t get to nurture them like that.
And I can’t even have a dog.
Would my pet dog be neon red, too?
And glow and look like fire?
The dad looks at me in surprise
and then pity.
I’m walking next to me
and I see what he sees.
I have the look of a crazy person.
My hair is unwashed, clumped and stuck in all kids of directions.
I’m wearing Joe’s Hawaiian shirt that has the same leaf colors as the bird’s poop and it hangs over my bra-less front.
My jeans are sagging, top button undone.
I’m shuffling
and my eyes are puffed, tearing and have red rings like clown makeup.
Next to myself I see this.
Back walking in myself I don’t know it or care.
And the floor is orange now.
The air smells so good on my face on the way home.
I love air.
I tell Joe I Will Be Better Tomorrow. Joe says I Know.
And Joe is helping me make nachos with cheese and black beans.
I eat them.
I vomited all morning.
My tummy feels humming but it doesn’t kick the nachos out.
And Joe gives me warm kisses on my cheeks and eyes and lips.
I feel them.
And I feel them.

12 Replies to “Neon”

  1. Oh, hon. This is so beautiful and true. And a good articulation of how everything seems when you’re in a hole and struggling to get out, but aren’t quite there yet. It makes me feel better just to know it’s out there.

  2. No different than a broken arm or broken body, some have broken fences that guard sacred invisible parts of ourselves, where the soul resides. Mind, will and emotions exposed to the elements. It’s so effing unfair. Why can’t others understand? I am someone’s Joe who guards the broken fence. The gaps are too big for me to cover so I watch what is taken and what finds its way back to safety. And it’s not a burden to be the watchman, to blow kisses through the fence. I love this narrow right-of-way running just outside the fence, my arm securely around a sturdy post, wind in my hair and stars in the night sky, waiting for my precious friend.

    What I love about your post is your defiance to map your way, to find your way home. I see my friend growing stronger with each homecoming. I was drawn to this post several times and read it with care. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I too have had (what I call) crazy episodes. Where things are not really what is happening. My spouse also guides me through, loves and kisses me, and makes me feel as safe as I can feel during the episode. Neither of us really know what is happening.

    My spouse does not think I need help. I am willed to get better. It takes a long time.

    I know I need help.

    I am finally getting help.

    I think it is wrong that I had to have permission before I could get help. I spent too much of my life “gone”.

  4. Great article Leah! Sometimes I feel the world around me is spinning so out of control and just for ONE moment need a pass at reality. This really made me think of those moments! Kudos!

  5. I love you lee. I love you lee. Here’s a hug through air, cable, and screen. Warm and big and fleshy.

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