Sometimes, I sleep with a watch under my pillow. The mechanical tick becomes the metronome of my pulse. My heart pumps in tune to each second. My breathing evens.
I dream in plots. Exposition. Rising action. Climax. Falling action. The denouement is always interrupted by sunrise, by my phone buzzing a six a.m. alarm.
He told me, maybe you have too much time on your hands. My pulse tapped a staccato. My vision sharpened. My fingernails dug grooves into my palms. I don’t have time for you, I wanted to say. Instead, it was goodnight. Instead, it was, I’ll talk to you in the morning.
A psychic traced my lifeline with a ruby red fingernail. “Your previous life was cut short, but this one,”she tapped the edge of my palm, ” this one will be long.”
I can count on one hand the number of times I have followed the sunrise, watched the sky light up through mascara crusted eyes, tasted tequila, lipstick, and spearmint gum on my dry, cracked lips. This is beautiful, I thought. I’ll wake up earlier, I promised.
1,567 steps from my bedroom to the stop sign before crossing Joseph Lowery. Before the hill that makes my lungs scream. I ran with a small backpack and wraps over bruised knuckles. You can’t hit the heavy bag with just yoga gloves.
23 seconds precede my phone call going to voicemail. I turn it off and tell time by the length of shadows outside my window. When the sun hits below the half-drawn shades, it’s five p.m. I turn the phone back on. Nothing has changed.
“You will have one love in your life,” the psychic told me. She cupped my warm brown hands in her cold white ones. Her booth smelled like meat lovers pizza and Diet Pepsi. She let go. Rose quartz dropped from my fingers.
“Quartz is the second most abundant mineral. Crystal shops are a ripoff.” The geology professor nodded to the girl in the front row wearing an earth bound tee-shirt. I thumbed my crescent moon necklace. Scratched the teardrop moonstone with my fingernail.
In the corner of an old composition notebook, “Crying is a waste of time. DANCE.”
I danced holes in shoes before, pirouetting on concrete. I dance blisters on the balls of feet, thundering my heart with exertion.
I say the bad words in songs my mom use to soap my mouth for. I scream “fuck you” to my carpeted floor when I hear my neighbor’s radio up too loud. I dance on her head. I play my music too loud. Someone stomps overhead. We all dance our anger.