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Tar Torpor

By Lianna Arcelay


My peepers open, mind unrested, head slightly pounding, to the sunlight creeping through unopened blinds. The sunlight is offensive: I refuse to acknowledge it, defiantly rolling over. I sleep on – off to deny the day, willing my body up at around two in the afternoon on a good day, four o’clock on a bad day. I am submerged in a suffocating loneliness: both outdoors and indoors have become symbolic of the same emotionality, the former (plus the sunlight) representing a happiness in which I cannot indulge. I yearn for warmth – not the warmth from the goddamned sun that has made an audacious appearance for almost every day of the quarantine, but that of skin to skin, of touch. I long for the skin, the abysmal, arctic eyes of my ex partner, who ironically resides on the floor above me. As I sensualize his gaze, the warmth of his firm, hairy chest, my heart falls into a too familiar abyss, plodding through anger and desperation, my ‘vibe’ weighted under a grey demeanor. On – off, I pick up a semi-autobiographical book titled, Motherhood, and ask myself the ‘big questions’ come nighttime under the solitude of my woolen, Cuddl Duds blanket: can I see myself being a momma? Little ones shouting, ‘Mommy!’? I have become lazy in taking my Lexapro: hours pass after ten each morning as I lay in bed, denying the existence of the day, of myself, and I stumble into a trench of pessimism, loneliness, and a questioning of my self worth with respect to a wretched history of unblossomed, failed, or abusive relationships. At the ‘late’ age of twenty-two, I have slowly immersed myself into smoking culture: I have dabbled with Marlboro Golds, become fond of Camel Blues, and discovered a happy medium in the pricey, sky-blue box of American Spirit Lights. I press ‘replay’ on The Weeknd’s album, My Dear Melancholy as I will myself to be ‘normal’ and shower, to go outside to come to terms with the sun. “What makes a grown man wanna cry? / What makes him wanna take his life?” wails The Weeknd in the echo of my bathroom. I can count, on one hand, the people besides my momma with whom I feel safe enough to share myself in person, and now through video chat and speakerphone. When I am not occupied with riding my moods, I check in with all of them. The Weeknd blares, “His happiness is never real / And mindless sex is how he feels” as I finish this entry at nearly four in the morning. I glimpse at the Ibuprofen PM box across my journal. The next day, a similar cycle ensues. I take in the grittiness of an American Spirit, clasp a soothing cup of Bigelow green tea – don’t worry, I still like coffee – and come to terms with my moods, not opening the blinds until I feel comfortable to open myself to the world.       

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