It’s one of those memories that feels unreal now. It was 2005 and I was at Coachella waiting for NIN to come on. I was by a huge papier-mâché baby somewhere on the side of the stage. I was high, I think. I must’ve been high. Someone must’ve offered me something and I had smoked it. I had gotten separated from my friend. A welcomed circumstance. I was wearing a white tee-shirt and an orange sequined skirt—birkenstocks. It was the desert after all, but now it was night and the wind was cold and rough. My lips began to crack and small tornadoes swept up the trash from the floor. I was so thirsty. I saw a half-filled bottle on the floor, I grab it and choke on the lukewarm water. I sit on the dirty floor as the cold air swept my hair from side to side.
The stage goes dark, blue lights fill the desert air. I felt the ground below jet off. Were we in a spaceship? Where were we going? A hum of discord sings to the wretched. Screams come and go, the sky is bright with debris and cold.
I hadn’t realized I had closed my eyes, so when I open them— I am walking, and a small voice hums…
“I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real…”
A piano plays a tinderbox melody. A throat of fragility maimed with a despair that comes from not being loved enough or for long enough sings—whispers. I recognize this sound. This wreath of open sores.
“What have I become?
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end…”
I sway with the wind, dirt in my eyes, barefoot I am unaware of broken glass.
I must’ve closed my eyes again, drifting—becoming a passerby.
I open my eyes in narcosis and watch the crowd part like the Red Sea, only it is black and blue.
A bruised recollection.
Familiar faces loom in my myopic gaze. At that moment, I curse my face, my eyes for being so recognizable. These familiar faces scream and run towards me. I want to fly away with the debris. They hug me, but I barely recognize our friendship, let alone their warmth. What is wrong with me? I take a puff of what is handed to me, they say something, or other, or something—I nod, I want to hear the damn song—
“On my liar’s chair
Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair…”
They leave, I barely notice because there are more important things than people who will not be here when I marry or when I end up in the ER with erupted polyps.
“If I could start again
A million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way…”
I go back to where the papier-mâché baby has now tilted over and is rolling around aimlessly. Have hours passed? I am hungry. I look for my friend and she taps me on the shoulder. I am exhausted, buzzing from the gothic lullabies in my veins. She is hungry too. We eat Carl’s Jr. and head back to the nudist hotel we’re staying at. We tear off the day and take hot showers. More water. Soft beds. Body becomes a tomb. Body becomes a womb. I sink. I fly.