At the end of the day, when the customers have left and the house is empty, I draw the curtains and take myself apart piece by piece.
The seams aren’t visible, not even to me. I have to trust that everything will come loose the way it should, before I twist and pull. If I don’t, if I doubt, it’s like anything else. It won’t work. And like anything else, I am scared to death that one day, no matter how much I believe, I’ll be stuck like this forever.
I only ever told one person. That was a mistake. After that it was all she wanted to talk about. She wanted to know, is it painful? Is it strange seeing my body parts by themselves? Do I ever play with them?
That’s not how this works. It doesn’t hurt. Nothing about this feels like disembodiment.
I take my time. I don’t have to. I can do it in two minutes, easy, if I try. But I like to incorporate other activities. I drink just enough. I watch a TV show. I clean the kitchen. I go through the things in my mother’s room.
The person I told still comes around. She dips through the front door with the morning crowd. She hides on the roof. She thinks she is getting away with something.
Before bed, when I’m in as many pieces as I can be, I look myself over in the mirror. I look like someone I should know but have forgotten. A friend of a friend. I could figure out who if only I could connect the things that remind me of one thing to another thing and those to whatever made me think of this person in the first place.
I can never make all of the connections. There is a wedding. And an airport. And me standing at the Arrivals gate holding a sign that reads, Eventually One Of Us Will Be Alone.
Plane after plane lands and the passengers disembark, ready to get back out there and flood the world. No one stops. Most of them don’t even read the sign. There are now more strangers in the world than when I started.
In the morning, I have to put myself back together. It’s the only way I can move. It’s the only way I can get out of bed, open the curtains, open the door, turn on the bright red sign that says OPEN. And I am, whether I want to be or not.