This One Time, 5

This one time I was sitting in this cafeteria place and I had no idea where I was or how long I had been there. It reminded me of one of those chain restaurants where all the retirees hang out in the middle of the day, with at least one geezer present tapping some livid green cube of gelatin with the back of a spoon the same way I’m sure he did it when he was two years old. The sort of place that I once joked was maybe a row of slot machines away from a Biloxi casino.

I looked down at my lap and saw the skirt of a baby blue cotton dress with a print of tiny flowers on it. Peeking out around my support-socked calves was a thin line of eyelet lace. My right wrist had a tennis bracelet with a Medicalert tag that I ignored for now, and my left wrist, when I checked, had marks from where I habitually wore a watch but didn’t have it today. On the floor by my ankle was a cheap canvas bag. On my feet were patent-ish Mary Janes with elastic on the buckle strap so I could slip them on and off.

Outside I could feel the position of the afternoon spring sun like the presence of an angel over my shoulder, but I was nowhere near a window. I couldn’t see a door from where I sat either.

I had a glass of iced tea in front of me and a small dessert plate with dark crumbs and a smudge of chocolate frosting. I had no memory of the taste of either in my mouth.

I kept thinking I should be panicking. I couldn’t think of my name. I didn’t recognize this restaurant at all. I just remembered that maybe an hour earlier I had been a young Korean man, smoking hand-rolled cigarettes and helping his younger sister with calculus homework, trying to explain why, if the world had been a more fair place, L’Hopital’s Rule would be named after Bernouilli.

Looking at the backs of my hands, I couldn’t even tell what my race was. But instead of feeling disturbed, I just felt this amazing sense of peace, like something I had wanted all my life had finally just clicked into place, and everything was perfect. The sun outside shone through me somehow and heated me to my core. I felt a warmth I always imagined would be what the presence of God would feel like.

And then my name was Mary Jane again, like the shoes, and I was waiting for some cow of a woman who was my grumpy cousin Clara, and I was a retired file clerk from the courthouse at the county seat, and I was miserable miserable miserable. Except now, after that bizarre fractured moment where I could have been anyone anywhere and possibly nearly was, I saw plainly how I didn’t have to be miserable anymore.

I could be anybody.


January 5, 2011 · by xalieri · Posted in This One Time  


3 Responses to “This One Time, 5”

  1. Mary on October 9th, 2011 2:07 am

    I gotta go to bed. I’ll probably have some weird dreams, but really, thank you for the link. The timing of this is perfect for me.

  2. xalieri on October 9th, 2011 8:56 am

    Weird dreams are probably fitting, seeing that’s where many of these images came from. Sometimes I’m just stringing them like beads on a wire. I’m glad you’re enjoying it.


  3. Mary on October 9th, 2011 11:26 pm

    I was thinking last night, granted, I’m only on the 5th one. It would be a neat Twilight Zone like series. It’s definatley much different, but a series of some type. I can picture some serious cool graphic opportunities, in a media like format, not “scary graphic” per se, more creative graphic type shit. Or (working tittle here) Book of Dreams…:-)

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