By Brianna Silva
X’s dog died on a Thursday. It made X very sad because they loved Thursdays. Stupid dog. X knew the dog didn’t plan when to die, but they wished it would’ve at least died on literally any other day of the week. Like Sunday. Or Tuesday. But no, the dog died on Thursday while X was at work. So when X came home and found the dog on the floor covered in its own food, X lost it. The damn dog died on a damn Thursday.
* * *
Two people sat on the floor; their faces illuminated with a flashing white light. Their eyes were fixated on the screen; neither wanting to confront the reason why they were sitting on the floor of a dark dorm room watching a movie about French lesbians on an iPad. So they just sat there in silence while the French lesbians talked.
Now what happens next is tricky;
to this day neither of them remember
the exact order of events.
Perhaps the one with the glasses quickly glanced at the other one. Maybe the other one glanced back. And quite possibly, they both turned back to face the French lesbians who might have been hooking up at that point. But one thing was for certain; the room felt very tense and neither of them knew what to do next.
At some point — most likely the one with glasses — finally said something like, “If you kissed me, I wouldn’t mind.” That might have made the other one feel weird; like they could not tell whether it was simply a statement or an invitation. They were so damn nervous their brain couldn’t even understand their own question so they thought it would be better to just ignore it altogether. Maybe after a few minutes the one with glasses turned back to face the other one and clarified their previous attempt at flirting by saying something similar to, “You can kiss me.”
* * *
X didn’t know why their father liked to dress 30 years younger than his real age. One day X’s father told X that his own father dyed his hair jet black when he was 80. He said it looked so stupid to see such an old wrinkled man with jet black hair. This made X laugh. The fear of death clearly ran in the family. X thought about this for a long time and came to the conclusion that they were indeed not scared of death.
* * *
One day X called their ex-girlfriend, crying. The two had not spoken since freshman year of college. They both called their breakup mutual — but X still felt responsible. X did a lot of bad things during their relationship of four years.
As soon as she answered X felt scared; every single memory they ever made together came flooding back. It was terrifying. There was a long silence. “Hello? Who is this?” said the voice. X desperately missed that voice. They wanted to tell her so many things at once.
But how do you tell someone you hurt, that you’re hurting? How can you apologize for your behavior and beg for their forgiveness, but not be able to promise them you’ve changed and won’t ever hurt them again?
This made X very sad. It made them feel powerless. Like they lost their ability to make decisions, to change the course of the future, to live.
“Helllooooo?” asked the voice again.
X’s mouth refused to speak.
They felt like they were glued to the floor watching all this unfold.
X wanted to SCREAM, but nothing came out except a small pathetic whimper.
“Okay, well —” paused the voice.
* * *
Everyone in the room was wearing long white robes with matching white hats. X thought they looked like the KKK. This was concerning but X felt very warm in their thick white incubator.
“Okay X, count backwards from 10 for us,” said the doctor in the KKK robe. X laid helplessly on the table like a frog about to be dissected. The room was filled with a bright light that made the white room look. . . Holy? That was a weird way to describe a room filled with the KKK. But X couldn’t tell if this was what their version of hell was.
“U H H H H H H H H H,”
X hummed in response.
X knew that wasn’t what the KKK doctor asked but they thought it was close enough. X wanted to ask why an Asian man would be wearing a KKK robe, but decided it would be rude to judge. It still felt weird though.
* * *
X loved Ala. But didn’t know why. Maybe it was her accent, or the peculiar shape of her teeth, or the little brown birthmarks scattered on her lips, or perhaps the way she chewed gum like a cow. X wondered why all the things they loved about her had to do with her mouth. It was a peculiar fascination; one that began when they curtsy started dating. Would they still love her if she had a different mouth?
But X knew that was a weak probably. The kind of probably they remember hearing from their father when they asked if he loved their mother.
thought X. I’m just like my father.
That disappointed X.
* * *
The young child gripped tightly onto the old man’s hand as they entered the ocean. Small waves danced around their ankles. The young child urged the old man to go deeper, and they did. When the water reached the young child’s hips, the old man stopped. The young child watched their toes wiggle in the sand while the old man stared out at the great ocean.
Then a massive wave smacked the young child
* * *
There was a girl wearing a loose tank top and baggy shorts. Her bouncy brown curls were pulled back in a tight bun, but little hairs stuck out like she was electrocuted. Her glasses were foggy from all the drills and she kept licking her lips.
X knew absolutely everything that was going to happen next.
They wanted to prevent it from even happening.
But X understood there was a reason
When the coaches told her what team she was on, she broke down right then and there. Everyone awkwardly stared at her as she cried on the court. Nobody knew whether to feel bad for her or laugh.
* * *
X decided to call their father and scream at him until he hung up. X screamed for a good five minutes before their father hung up. After he hung up, X went around their apartment smashing anything that reminded them of their father. Then X smashed their head.
* * *
The dog just sat there. Its brothers and sisters wiggled and yelped for attention, but X was drawn to this particular dog. When X it, the dog did not move. It just sat there. X wondered what the dog was thinking about.
X laid down in front of the dog and looked into its black eyes. The dog closed its eyes and sighed. X inhaled its breath and closed their eyes in response. The two stayed like that; recycling each other’s breath — for over an hour. Later that day X brought the dog home and named it after a character from a weird children’s movie that their mother hated.
* * *
Nurses hovered over the bed like wasps on an open can of Coke. Before X could begin to protest, a nurse injected a liquid that looked like a lava lamp into X’s IV. Suddenly X felt very warm and the world kind of stopped. That was a bad way to describe it. It was more like frames in a cartoon. Someone was drawing the next 20 minutes of X’s life frame by frame, and X just watched.
A nurse pushed X’s bed around every corner of the hospital looking for the operating room. X didn’t mind. New people kept throwing warm blankets on the bed as they wheeled by. X felt like they were in an incubator.
X enjoyed a good rhyme.
X’s mother followed alongside. There were tears streaming down X’s eyes, but nobody knew why. X was happy. Probably the happiest they had ever been in a long time.
* * *
“Oh hey! We’re on the same team, right? What’s your name again?” asked the girl. She had an accent. X paused for a while. “Hello?” she asked again. X couldn’t speak. “How about,” said the girl grinning. “I’ll just put my number in your phone and you can text me anytime.” X nodded and handed over the phone. The girl typed in her name and number then handed the phone back to X. The girl smiled. She had little brown birthmarks scattered on her lips. Then X nodded nervously, took the phone, and left without saying a word.
they looked down at their phone and saw that the girl’s name was Ala.
* * *
Ms. Allen — one of only black teachers in the school — enjoyed teaching her students about The Civil Rights Movement. Even though she was only a music teacher, she took her job as an educator very seriously. Everybody knew that.
After watching a movie about Martin Luther King Jr. with her second grade class, she turned on the lights. The children were sitting in a large semicircle. Ms. Allen walked into the center of the semicircle and looked at X. “You’re not Black, but you would still be considered one because of your skin.” X looked down at their brown skin. “You could’ve died.” Everybody knew that.
* * *
The bucket of fried chicken and biscuits sat in the middle of the room.
Its savory steam filled the cold desolate attic.
Three bodies huddled around quietly eating their only heat source. The once vibrant floorboards were now bathed in a lonely blue light. There was no furniture.
Two of the three organisms inflated a small mattress. It was barely big enough for just the two of them. But since the third organism was the size of a human football, they were all able to fit. The two larger organisms got in their raft-like bed, and placed the organism the size of a human football between them. The three organisms laid there with a thin blanket covering their quivering bodies. Well, the organism the size of a human football was bundled. But the other two were not.
* * *
What was the purpose of traveling to those specific moments? wondered X.
Why were some immersive and some observational?
What am I supposed to do now?
Then for a brief moment X began to think about why they would even be thinking about philosophical concepts when they’re just a ch —
ate the freshly picked booger,
* * *
After bashing their brains in,
X’s body dropped to the floor in a series of uncontrollable convulsions
for exactly 15 minutes.
X’s body laid there on the floor
covered in their own
until someone found them
on a Thursday.