I am dreaming of the hospital again except this time, men are allowed on our unit and everybody is wearing crowns and pretending they’re halos. If you think you’re holy, you are. The world doesn’t have to make sense. A nurse turns her nose up at me and I watch her veins grow until she’s blue as the deep end of the pool.
I wake up scared as a child. My blankets have been kicked off into a hemorrhage of fabric. I go for the mirror. It seems I look different every day. I decorate my toothbrush with white paste and look at myself. As I foam at the mouth, I think back to my dream.
Three weeks ago, I was admitted to a psych hospital while experiencing a manic episode. It is the only thing my brain wants to churn over. I was sick and thought I was a psychic president, famous as Amy Winehouse. Had the confidence of a sixteen year old boy caught in the flip of a magazine, learning how to say body when he means home. I stole from my family and called it self-love. I fed strange mouths with my mouth. I wore glitter to the forest and planned to leave the country. I sober hallucinated and I went too far. I did all this until my friend forced me to the emergency room.
The doctors plucked at me until I admitted something was wrong. I was escorted via ambulance to the rich part of the woods and spent a little over two weeks with a pair of blue scrubs. Saw my mom cry for the third, fourth, fifth time. Watched Maury and ate cereal and took meds and read Catcher in the Rye. Did this twelve times a day. Did this for a million years. I spit my teeth into the sink and leave my apartment.
It is finally lukewarm enough that if you were to bring your family to a motel, you could swim in the pool kept outside like a dog. You could swim for at least an hour, picking leaves out before the kids get in. The air feels like kissing for the first time. The air feels sloppy. I’m glad to be out of the hospital but sometimes I miss being famous. I will never be that bitch again. My bravado is dying.
I hop onto the subway with my feet and fade into the stops. We pass the backyard of Brooklyn, consisting of several Whole Foods. There are prozac-headed teenagers loitering outside, clinging onto unlit cigarettes and fruit shaped handbags. Strawberries carry cell phones and pencils. I think about serial killers as we tunnel to Manhattan. I look around at everyone. We have enough people for a small cult. I watch an ant on the floor. Is it grandiose if the talent never goes anywhere? Is it real if it only happened once? My head is full of clean dopamine and plans for grass. I want to lay in a giant field until winter. I get off at the last stop and swim to the surface.
Midtown looks new all the time. I catch my reflection like the light. I have bones in my hands, blood in my face. I light a cigarette with my eyes and consider. Maybe this is heaven. Maybe I died at thirteen, holding my breath like a razor blade. Jazz leaks down the block. I am full of okayness. The world is beautiful because the world is ugly. I sit on a stoop and watch the sky bleed. In the hospital, there was always a want. My second night on the unit, I tried to jump out of the window because I wanted to eat the stars. It ate me up like a bloodhound. My body ached with want. That hasn’t gone away. I don’t think it ever will. With this, I crush the cigarette like a germ.
Jasmine Ledesma is a twenty year old writer living in New York. Her work has been published over ten times.