fear

Friends with Danish subtitles

The apartment where I will be cat-sitting for the next few days is fabulous, too fabulous, such that now that the owner has left me and it for Paris, instead of exiting into greater Denmark I am hanging out, eating whatever meal-like arrangements I can make from the contents of her larder and being soothed by the Scandinavian design and unimpeachable blondness in every one of the portraits and watching “Friends” with Danish subtitles, trying to pick up a pronoun or two.

what treachery is that

I texted Mary and said,

I am at the moment having some trouble getting out of Ingaʼs apartment

She said,

As in you are locked in?

I said,

As in it’s a little too beautiful out

There are a few too many possibilities

I’ve been hungry for two days, and there is so much food here, and she told me to eat everything

And now I am full but I’m afraid to leave the food

She said,

Do the thing you are most afraid of right?

Especially if what it is is leaving the house

I said,

Maybe it’s that there are barriers

Like changing my clothes

I keep dozing off because what bodily time is it?

Also now I am reminded of what treachery weʼre dealing with here.

suicide pact

She said,

I am in a deep funk tonight.

I said,

I mean, there’s no point to anything, certainly

Iʼve been thinking a lot about this thing you said that night back in Brooklyn when I went off to maybe have sex with Redford (I didnʼt, by the way — he just stretched my hamstrings for me and showed me several drawings heʼd done of different breeds of dog pooping), the thing about desiring some alternative category of togetherness for us

Because I feel that, too

And I was thinking that we could slit our wrists together

She said,

A suicide pact. I never even thought of that and here I thought I was more involved in the dark arts than you.

I said,

Well

Iʼm trying to be psyched about continuing to live this life so maybe thatʼs not quite the one I want

Itʼs just, like, this is all so BURDENSOME

But

I guess Iʼm choosing to gamble on the premise that thereʼs an answer

If only one in the form of some formula for survival

She said,

I donʼt feel very close to death. Let’s keep at it; we can do better.

I said,

Iʼm sorry living is so much work

I wish I could magic it away for you

Although I guess if you were someone who could be fooled by magic I wouldnʼt have nearly as much use for you

Use, admiration, appetite

Need.

She said,

Thank you for offering a vague sense of possibility that doesnʼt feel dumb or like lies.

I said,

I guess Iʼm going to keep trying to pack

Iʼm petrified of Berlin

I canʼt even figure out how to say “Iʼm sorry, I donʼt speak German” in German.

She said,

Berlin is amazing and everyone speaks English, they are ashamed of everything too. You will love it there I suspect.

I said,

Iʼm looking forward to some public toplessness, I think.

this wont take me anywhere

She said,

What are you doing

I said,

I am in the apartment eating carrots because thatʼs all I have so far

Although probably I will rectify that soon

I am going to put something familiar and safe on my computer and try to, I donʼt know what, send some messages in hopes of making things happen for myself

She said,

What are you wanting to happen?

I said,

My listening project

And

Iʼd like to start cementing plans for what will be after Berlin

I want to not feel afraid all the time, but that seems like something I need to go inside for, not outside

She said,

What are you most afraid of?

I said,

Of everything in the whole world?

Prolapse.

She said,

Of your current endeavor

I said,

That I will have to go back to New York and just pick up where I left off

That this wonʼt take me somewhere

She said,

Well it will definitely take you somewhere it just might not be where you thought

I said,

Also Iʼm afraid of getting fat

She said,

Impossible to get fat on carrots.

why aren’t we riding bikes on an island

I said

Iʼm like a little mad at you for not being here 

I had a great day doing a very specific and very detailed not much of anything, and youʼre on a list of I think 2.5 people I would like here with me

MARY WHY AREN’T WE RIDING BIKES ON AN ISLAND

She said,

Hi.

I said, 

Remind me of how squeamish you are 

She said, 

Just nothing bugs

I said, 

Okay well today one thing I had to do was ride in a circle and go back a ways and inspect what was indeed a hedgehog smashed all over Rue Continière 

She said,

Tell me why you had to

I said, 

I guess because I was like, Is that a hedgehog?

And everything I am ever doing can wait

She said, 

This is an affliction of the bourgeoisie 

I said, 

Well what the fuck was I riding to?

My actual intention in setting out this morning was to find a starfish 

And so I had time to circle back for maybe-a-hedgehog.

And look at it from various angles

And take some pictures

And try to identify some of the organs on the road beside it

Does that even make geographic sense, that it might be here?

Where are hedgehogs?

If someone had asked me yesterday, I would have guessed Texas

Actually maybe I have an idea from somewhere that they are très français

And now I know!

Also today I plucked a billion sea snails from sea rocks with the idea that I would cook them for dinner

But then I got back and Sylka didn’t want me to

So now there is an olive container full of dead or dying sea snails in my backpack

I feel bad on many levels

She said, 

I wish that you didn’t feel bad at all

I said, 

Thanks

I guess I just don’t like killing things for no reason

I thought about walking right out of the door and messaging one of my stupid Oléronaise Tinder matches to be like, Can we make escargots de la mer at your place tonight? 

I have been carrying White Noise since Brooklyn, and Iʼm not sure if Iʼm not finishing it because I donʼt feel like reading it or I donʼt feel like reading at all or I do feel like reading, and badly, am Iʼm afraid of what will happen when I finish it

She said, 

Donʼt donʼt donʼt read it right now 

Rachel the world is falling apart 

I said,

But is it? 

I’m trying to imagine a future in which our capacity for happiness is less than it currently is

Are we standing in a bread line?

Am I dead of infection from a coat-hangering?

Lice?

It’s easy for me—with my sunburn and sack of discount bruised apricots and only a vague uneasiness at how the friendly fisherman affirm, to each other, “Juif” after I introduce myself—to be like, Everything is fiiiiine

But, like, everything is not fine

It’s terrible

It always will be, in various ways, and as things change, we will make changes, and we will go on

I don’t know what else to say

I am the engineer of a small-scale sea snail Holocaust

My knapsack is soaked in their seawater, which leaked from the olive box while, presumably, I biked home, but my journal is dry

Yesterday Sylka told me that her mother — 90 or 95 years old, I guess — had a dream about telling me, Rachel, remember me

I guess I will

Anyway, I promised I would

What else can we do? 

I’m not saying don’t care

But, like, run for office

OR find a way to keep enjoying the new and increasingly horrific world orders as much as you’re capable of enjoying anything

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