When I was a child, I returned home from school break, to suddenly find out that my best friend ████ ████████, had moved to Las Vegas. It was strange then, and it is still strange now. I sent a letter to his new address that never arrived. We never saw each other again. I'm writing him new letters that are looking for him, like shadows searching for their object…
Querido ████, I know you would never ask—and certainly have never wondered (unless I have misjudged the extent of your curiosity)—but I sleep naked every night. I meet the night as a cadaver without a tomb, buried during a procession of shame. My preferred position is lying on my back like an unrepentant corpse, sinking in a secret lake of irrational tales and indescribable images. Sometimes I hear prayers in this twilight of reason but they never bear my name. My only hope is that someone will report me missing if I never float back to the surface, so my family can search for my body and if the heavens permit, find me.
Sometimes I fall asleep reminiscing of fatal encounters, such as when I was 15 and a middle-aged man pointed a gun at me for wearing black nail polish. This has given me considerable anxiety for the prospects of a ‘Satanic panic’ or a witch hunt in the future—it is a strange type of PTSD.
My aggressor initially pulled over to tell us off for ‘destroying the neighborhood’. Naturally, I seized the moment and sought an excuse to provoke him further, mocking his vigilante complex in my head. I approached the car to be extra smarmy, when he noticed and belittled my black nail polish. It is hard to say whether I failed or succeeded in my sarcasm, but I vividly remember him shaking with rage a moment later, as he pointed a gun at me—the muzzle was less than 2 meters from my face. I had to carefully dialogue my way out of this heated predicament of my own picaresque making. I am not sure if a gun counts as a micro-aggression, but I did not feel safe.
I must confess: my jester aspirations have nearly killed me twice. The second time a younger man came to me on the street asking, "Are you laughing at me?” and I quickly replied “Maybe…” He immediately pulled a knife and threatened to stab me in public. I had to run inside a McDonald’s, where the bright lights dissuaded him from crossing the threshold. This is surely the cost of my charming personality, and the Lord is charging me tax with fate. I bet that if I asked God with mercy, "Are you laughing at me?” they would reply with dispassionate humor: “Maybe."
“What if there is a fire?” my friend asked me the other day, when I told her I sleep nude.“The house next door burned down while I was sleeping with a date once," I replied, “since then I keep a spare set of non-flammables next to my bed, even my pants are 100% cotton. My skin is becoming increasingly sensitive, since I turned 30, and I would hate to get stuck inside a room on fire, where the heat would surely give me eczema.”
The other day I was drinking hot tea and at once spilled it over my groin. I was fully clothed so I managed to save the essentials, despite my skin sensitivity. “Is this a medical emergency?” I asked myself, and Googled it to find out that I had testicular cancer and a rare condition that only affects Scorpios rising. I applied aloe vera and fell asleep in a freeze response. Now I have a crescent moon on my thigh—or a third degree burn—framing my genitalia, like a devil’s bite on a witch. Please do not kill me.
I suspect someone cursed me because this is not the first injury I’ve experienced in this area of rich connotations. Once I hurt myself in the line of duty during witching hour and had to dial Nurse-on-call, a 24/7 service in Australia that offers free medical advice:
“Hi, I accidentally slammed myself during sex and a drop of blood came out,” I said.
“Did you insert something inside your urethra?” she asked.
“I don’t think so...” I replied.
“Did you, or did you not?” she enquired.
“I did not,” I answered.
“Okay, I see… You need to see a doctor within 24 hours.”
The doctor listened to my testimonial the next day, and said it was likely to be a blood vessel that burst during the collision. “Should I wear underwear to bed?” I asked.“It is better if you sleep naked,” he advised.
I spent a year occasionally pissing blood, which, to be frank, is not ideal. I had numerous blood and urine tests, and an ultrasound. We could not find the problem, so the doctor booked me in for a cystoscopy at the hospital. If my medical record was a video-game, the cystoscopy would be the final boss in the urology evaluation stage. This procedure involved inserting a 20cm tube inside my urethra with numbing gel to gaze at my bladder, after filling it with saline water—like sounding but with layers of medical bureaucracy. It is neither as good, nor as bad, as one would imagine.
You will be happy to know that I am free from those symptoms now, which makes it unnecessary to detail my ailments any further. Apologies if I have overshared details about my life. Sometimes I demand privacy but overextend my answers when no one asks questions.
I would wish you well, but I am out of spare coins and, anyway, there is no wishing well on sight.