I have blown the last bulb in the box. The soap in the bathroom is melting from the heat, a white oblong pearl in a puddle of mush that gets under my fingernails when I wash my hands so that when I nibble on my nails later in the day, I taste bits of cleaner moments, of baby bath water and love, but I didn't want to think of those things right then.

I need new bras; the ones I have that are nice looking and comfy are all stretched out and at least 4 years old. Well, I have a sizeable chest and it gets to me in more ways that I want to get into. For kicks I went to Le Madeline's and gulped down a bowl of their delicious tomato basil soup with sourdough baguettes. Afterwards I went to Sav A Center and bought a six pack of Red Stripe and a bag of onion bagels. I caught myself in the reflection of the freezer doors and remember how much I liked the pants I was wearing. I looked fit, I looked like someone who did in fact work out regularly, but in my face I could see the someone who sat up drinking every now and then, wanting nothing more than an invitation to escape this lonely life she keeps coming back to.

I want to escape into someone tonight, knowing it wouldn't be for keeps, knowing that it would only be one night, maybe two. I seem to play that role well, for it's all I can handle at any given time. But, more than that, since we're dreaming, I'd love to have a small gang to lose myself in, cut out the innuendo and mistake of a one night stand (when even that as a phrase is more than I want tonight) and go bowling, or play pointless rounds of pool or suffer chattering in a row at the movies.

This is when I miss college, when friends were, even for a freak like me, easier to make and maintain. I had this Army parka my brother gave me and I wore it everywhere in college. I was identified by it. I did that with lots of things, making sure my book bag wasn't exactly L.L. Bean or Jansport so that I could find it in a heap, I would know which was mine. There was one time in the caf when I sat down the parka in search of Lucky Charms that came dispensed from a candy machine like contraption and fell into beige bowls. I returned to find my friends sitting around my jacket, their beige trays framing in my place among them. Or my clove cigarettes, that was another way my friends could detect where I was. My homing beacons don't work like they used to.

Dammit, why don't you call me? Why do all the wrong people call me, and you don't? Why won't you invite me into your world like I badly want to be invited? Why is this one so far away and why did I break up with that one? I have cleared up some confusions only to usher in a deeper sense of longing. Now I make sense to myself but I am just as lonely, just as needful to be tended to, like a plant. I am withering from your neglect and you don't even know what you're doing.

Lie to me, I don't care. Tell me that you love me and that you've been thinking about me all day. Tell me it's all going to be alright. I don't have much time for the truth these days; I only want to be comforted tonight. Tell me I am the best friend you ever could have had. Where are the people who take you out for a beer because you need one, because you need someone to note that you're not alright, that you need people, despite what your fronts would have them believe. Where are the people who can see through my fronts and understand why they're there and not be offended that my walls needed to be broken down by them too?

No? Well, that's alright, too. I'm not mad. I understand.

That is always more to ask for a single night. Everyone's got things they have to do first. Everyone's got more on their plate than I do.

My apartment is a mess. I'm out of clean underwear and food. I won't get paid for 9 more days. If I can get into that new apartment for September, that'll be enough to distract me for at least a week or two. I can't remember the last time I called my mother, or called anyone. My electric bill will kill me next month and for that I couldn't keep one room tolerably cool in this unbearable heat. I dream about spiders that turn into creased pieces of paper, like the paper fans you made in Arts and Crafts, by folding it just so and pinching one end. Only these weren't pinched. They wiggled sideways. They only turned into paper when I got brave enough to brush them away as the ran toward me.

Will you turn to paper too, just another idea written down on paper? Am I only paper now?

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