1. You work as a secretary and you once enjoyed your job. A keeper of secrets! It seemed like play pretend grown-up. Now that you haven’t gotten into any graduate schools, it seems like you are just a secretary.
2. All of your close friends moved away after graduation. At night, you buy a bottle of wine and drink it in your apartment sitting on a velvet sofa you found on the street when a psychic went out of business. You imagine the psychic having painful premonitions of you getting drunk on her couch.
3. You have begun writing letters to your cousin who is in prison. He cannot spell anything. He asks if there are a lot of “pigones” in NYC, and it takes you forever to understand he meant “pigeons.” You relish the new word, which you pronounce so that it rhymes with “cojones.” You feel yourself making yourself into a character for him: sweet, chipper, naïve. You wish him well on his quest for sobriety. You say comforting things about life having a plan. As you write these things and sign with a heart and a smiley face you imagine that your eyes have no iris or white and are all shiny black and dripping blood. You do not know why you imagine this.
4. People’s faces on the subway are not at all like petals on a wet black bough.
5. When your day is particularly brutal, you go to Burger King by yourself for dinner and eat whatever you want. In order to do this, you “dress up” in a kind of costume that consists of a stained, oversized hoodie and purple sweat pants. You do this to fit in to the general hopelessness of the establishment.
6. Sometimes, at work, when your eyes hurt from staring at your computer screen for so many hours, you go into the windowless file room and turn off the light. The darkness is more complete than any darkness you have ever known. You listen to yourself breathe amid the metal filing cabinets.
7. To try to lighten the mood, you sleep with a young poet you used to go to college with. It is fine. Very drunken. In the middle of the night, you start going at it again and this time he fucks you in the ass. You think this is what he wants and you try desperately to be cool and eventually you float up to the ceiling and just watch him fucking you until it is over. In the morning, over coffee, you discover he had no idea he was in your ass at all. It is an awkward conversation. He doesn’t walk you to the subway.
8. The bagel guy invites you to his birthday party and you decide to attend. It is at his mother’s house in Long Island City and it is very weird. You should not have gone. His mother is suspicious of you and why you are attending her teenage son’s birthday. There is no way to explain you are not a creep. Maybe you are?
9. Sometimes you stare at your boss’s face as he is telling you to do something, and you imagine suddenly, swiftly inserting a highlighter up his nose. It would be like pulling the fire alarm on your whole life, and admitting that things are now an emergency and you need to evacuate. You are only 24. You have much hope for the future. Still, you have no idea how to get out of the cycle you are in, and getting fired seems like a step in the right direction