Purple Haze

Coughing. Too much smoke invaded my lungs. My eyes dripped tears as I struggled to breathe. They all laughed at my being a rookie.
 
I giggled. Everyone turned a slight shade of purple. That kind of purple you get from too much TV saturation. The black girl kept looking at me and talking about me. She clung on to her man. I kept looking at her and talking about her. I clung onto him. We were both paranoid.
 
The Middle Eastern kid looked suspicious, like he was up to no good. Like he had a diabolical plot brewing in his brain, but his sneaky grin indicated friendliness, he had nothing to hide.
 
Explaining the mechanics of how our body feels pain – something about nerve signals and the brain – proved more difficult than usual. I stopped repeatedly to gather my thoughts. I looked over at him, wondering why he looked so cool and why my spaziness was amplified.
 
I went to the bathroom to check my appearance. It was a struggle. My eyes were bloodshot, pupils dilated. I patted myself on the back.
 
Apparently I wanted to smack the black girl. 
 
He checked my watch – 1:40 in the am. He said it was time to go. I waved farewell to everyone. 
 
I have no idea how I made it to my apartment in Harlem. I was floating. And falling at the same time. Maybe he carried me. I was trying so hard to look like I wasn’t on Planet Neptune. Paranoia erupted.
 
A cat fight was starting in front of my building. He turned me away, asked me if there was another way to get in. I said no. Paranoia exacerbated. 
 
I wanted to whisper, “I’m scared,” but my sense of volume was off. What could have been a whisper might have been an invitation for a beatdown. 
 
I clung onto him, as a frightened child does to its mother in the wake of danger. Steve Harvey came to mind – men’s role as protector. I made a mental note to tell him this later.
 
The elevators weren’t piss-drenched as they normally were. Three hefty men get in, following two older ladies. I notice blood on the guys’ shirts  – I thought it was from the girl fight (I later found out it was from a street fight).
 
I clung onto him tighter, waiting to get off the 14th floor, hoping my cover wouldn’t be blown.
 
Wondering why my room looks like a seedy motel and why Wyatt Cenac is on my bed… 

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