“That’ll be ￡2.50,” Yuka heard herself say,
Though the voice sounded as much hers as boots did ballet.
The words had rushed out like gunshots during a riot,
Delivered on autopilot,
Something automatic coming out of her mouth.
Yuka didn’t know how long it had been since things were like this.
Everyday felt like the first time anew,
Everyday it felt like this was the life she always knew.
Yuka was aware that something was wrong.
Her blurry vision was only one of the symptoms on a list so very long.
It was not common to feel outside of oneself,
Yet never inside her own body did she find herself.
She was someplace else,
Watching from afar as it did what it did.
She wasn’t seeing the world from her body’s eyes,
But from an outsider’s,
Watching her body as it moved to its next location,
Watching as her story unfolded without her narration.
Sometimes lapses of time would pass
And she wouldn’t even remember them.
Her skin tingled like in it were pieces of a crumbled gem.
Yuka wasn’t exactly in a daze,
More like she was trapped in the haze.
But she could never open her eyes
Yuka felt as solid as melting snow.
She was above herself and what was happening below.
She felt floaty,
Like a balloon attached by a string to her body.
Neither could she stray from it,
Nor could she ever be one with it.
She was just - there, everywhere like air.
She was just - gone, invisible to all like midnight dawn.
To pass time Yuka cleaned the counter.
She rearranged the few books behind her
To be in alphabetical order,
But then decided it would be nicer
If they were categorized by color.
She chewed on a cherry,
Anything to keep her busy.
Anything to offset
Her thoughts from remembering how she was simply
Going through the motions.
Anything to forget
Her mind’s intrusive questions.
Sometimes she felt like she was watching tv from inside her own head
And her life was playing out in front of her
But she was just a mere spectator,
Never an actor.
All she did was
Allen was in front of her so suddenly she almost let out a scream.
Yuka knew he was her coworker,
But at the same time he felt like a stranger.
She knew him,
And yet it was like she didn’t.
However she pretended,
Like it was something on which her life depended.
If she acted long enough
To forget her own soul,
Could she become the role?
Not for the first time,
She desperately wanted that to be an achievable goal.
If the answer were to be yes,
She’d have so much more control.
She had a feeling,
That the answer was no.
Allen said something.
Looked at her as though he was waiting for a reply with a pitying ring.
“I’m so sorry,”
But Yuka wasn’t.
So she said not a word.
She was neither glad
She should be empathetic,
But she wasn’t.
She couldn’t force feelings to appear,
Though she had never wished for anything in ways this severe.
What was the point of having hundreds of words to describe human emotions,
If she could only feel a single drop out of all their oceans.
Where was the justice
In feeling only numbness?
Yuka was going south
Descending into the underground’s dark damp mouth.
But it didn’t feel so very different from the world above.
Even there a street felt like an alleyway
Yuka passed by a reflective banner in which shone
A reflection that was supposedly her own.
Though to her it felt unknown.
She moved a finger,
And so did the person in the mirror.
She pinched the skin under her ring,
Felt the slightest sting.
It was definitely attached to her
By one way or another.
“I just want to be normal,”
She lamented as she reached her apartment door.
Simply breathing felt like a chore.
Yuka could take no more.
“I just want to escape my head.
I want it to stop.
Won’t it stop?”
It never stopped.
Not when she was showering.
Not when she was changing.
Not when she was breathing.
Only when she had slipped under her covers
Did she feel any semblance of control appearing.
Yuka looked forward to sleeping.
It meant escaping,
Of the wildest folly
Felt more real