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Wrote the following tonight in a writing workshop. Please ignore typo stuff: I was not looking at the screen as I typed, and I don't have the emotional energy to proofread it now, but my urge to share it trumps my perfectionism this time around.

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everything is something else.

We are all having the same experience, but I'm having another experience at the same time, I'm not the only one, of course, but you can't tell now, looking at the faces in the stockroom, the numbness or fear or tears, you can't tell if the expression is for today, or for 20 years ago.

Everyone says it seems surreal. Unreal. For me, it's real times two, times 8, and a déjà vu that amplifies it. There's the boom, more like a thud, there's the second one, and I think, I know that rhythm, not just the rhythm but the feeling, the way my chest feels, not sinking, but lighter, filled with helium, it sounds so pleasant, but I have dreams where I'm floating, and everyone talks about flying dreams wistfully, but mine are miserable, because I can't get down, I'm pushing against the ceiling, and I won't sink to the floor, everyone else is on the floor, or under the tree that I'm tangled in. and that feeling you get at the top of a roller coast, just as the bottom drops out and your heart lifts into your throat, and it's giddy and fun because it's only a second, but in the dream it's eternal, the crash is coming, I'm going to hit the ground but I never do, I just keep waiting, and now I'm floating and sinking and I'm desperately trying to remember, why is that double-thud so familiar, it's ridiculous that it's so important, -this- is important, right now, but I've got the get that other scene, it's the only way to finally hit the ground and walk, walk among people, if I can't remember I'll be preoccupied for eternity, déjà vu but it really happened, something really happened, right, it's a real thing I'm remembering, right, why can't I place it. I sit on the stockroom floor surrounded by sweatpants as coworkers pass, "did you feel that?" as if anyone didn't, thumbing their smartphones and relaying the fragments of news they can find, and I wish they'd quit distracting me from distracting myself with sorting pants so that the thing I'm trying to remember can sneak up on me, like a song lyric you've not heard in years, so familiar, and finally I remember the pistol, the crack, not at all like on the cop shows and yet I'd known, my back turned, I could see him pointing it but until I turned it might not be real, and perhaps this is an electrical fire under the street, they blow a couple of manholes off every year, I know it isn't but of course I'd think that because I'm a catastrophist, I always think the worst, and a drama queen, panic for nothing, and then the second crack from behind me and I turn and see the barrel, and now it's finally okay, because I can hear the lyric, can move to the next verse and then to the next song, my feet are on the ground and I am walking with everyone else, and I am only here, only now. Except I'm already half in tomorrow, when I will dig in the dirt in my friend's yard and plant the bulbs I dug up last summer and forgot in the shed, I will plant them tomorrow and they won't bloom next year, not after half a year out of the earth, but maybe the year after. Walking past the back bay bed, under the falling magnolia petals, I am already planting in her yard tomorrow.

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Violet Wilson

October 2016

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