Write check.
Go to post office.
Eat something.

Sometimes I just wrap words around my fingertips to make sense of things.  To reorient myself into some new, less confused state.  

But always a little confused about the way a spool seems to unwind.  The way things seem to go away.  And sometimes I think the only sensible thing to do is go crazy and just stop trying to re-order the chaos, and give into it.

If you can’t make sense of it, maybe you can at least feel it out.

There’s always something slithering around in my mind, and I’ve always got a tenuous hold on it.  Gripping it by the tail as it tries to squirm free. 

Every little thing is something when I go out into the night.  Soft shadows looming large and melting away, a nagging tightness in my chest, and my hungry lungs gobbling down the night air.  

“It’s not gonna be that bad – at least, that’s my honest prediction,” Tom tells me, as I cook a steak and pour a glass of seltzer.  

Still, I wonder how much I would need to drive around aimlessly for a year.  Camera, food, a few changes of clothes. And money, more money.  And then even more money.  Maybe not even drive.  Trains and buses exist.  You could physically walk across the country, right?  

I don’t know which is worse, being cowardly or being poor. 

I try to reason it all out in my head before sleep comes clawing its way in.  Never there when you want it.  Always around when there are more important things on the brain.  

I wake up worrying about my father, but he died eight years ago.  In a dream, I’m hunting for him in a city filled with sick people.  I’ve got to find him before it’s too late.

But the sound of an alarm brings me back up to wakefulness, and for a minute, a kind of confused panic lingers in my brain.

For some reason there’s an alarm on my phone that wakes me up every Saturday at eight or nine o’clock.  But I always turn it off and go back to sleep, until about noon.  

I could just delete the alarm. 

Or wake up and actually be more productive on my Saturdays. 

Laundry is piling up at the foot of my bed, beside the mirror I never really look into, and next to the boxes that used to hold various pieces of camera equipment. 

I go into the kitchen and wash some dishes; fry eggs and bacon; make a cup of tea.  

I look for some news to read, but decide it’s not worth it.  

Some people I work with get furloughed. But they decide to keep employing me.  A bunch of work from a former employee winds up on me.  

Higher-ups deliver motivational speeches.  

But everything seems a little easier, too.  Easier to not care, easier to make excuses.  Easier to avoid taking the supplement that alleviates my social anxiety.  

Once in a while I pull aside the blackout shades in my home office and look out on quiet Brooklyn backyards.  

In my dream it’s nighttime, rain on cobbled streets, like in Berlin, at Checkpoint Charlie, with empty streets.  I’m walking down the street with my father, telling him about the subway in Berlin, the streets, the graffitti, the sound and the feeling of it, its pulse…things that I would never bother trying to explain to anyone else.

Then I go on ahead maybe two or three blocks until I come to a large commotion, and find myself in the middle of a crowd.  And everyone is sick, coughing on one another.  

I walk back up the street, back in the direction I came in.

Two, three blocks.  Now four and five.  The sixth block is empty.  Did I pass my father and not see him?  

Did he run into that crowd?  

I look for my phone but it’s dead.  No, not dead, I just need to take the SIM card out and put it in a smartphone.  Why did I ever get rid of the smartphone?  I don’t have the tools to take my phone apart, but then I do.  

I must be dreaming, I think to myself.  I have these moments in my dreams, every so often, when I can actually comprehend this.

Then I’m down by a river or a canal, looking down at the water, where the moon stripes the water.  And the sound, the sound of water at night, soft, languid, deep and intoxicating. 

How long I sit there, I don’t know.  But I have to find my father.  

I look down at my phone.  I’ve taken the back off but I’ve lost my SIM card.  It’s useless now.  

I look over the canal, at railings and apartment balconies, and people there…the outlines of people, people in abstract, people boiled down to their most basic shapes, chipped and gnawed away by the night.  Stick figure people and misshapen clay figure people and beautiful blown glass hourglass people.  People of every shape and angle, cutting up or cascading down against the yellow lights of their homes.  

Homes as varied as they are.  A million little tiny worlds, that might speak volumes about a person.  

And then my phone rings.  

And I wake up.  

I listen to music and think about things.  Smoking cigarettes and my fire escape that needs cleaning off, and the bare living room that needs a couch, and getting fit or just giving up.  

And I think of new places I haven’t been to yet, people I haven’t met.  The soft touch of summer and the old, familiar embrace of late, late nights.  A kind of feeling I’ve loved since I was a kid, and staying up late all alone.

The feeling of watching something swallowed up, almost whole, lapped by the water, the sound of the  water at night, and that tiny bit of land that is you.  

That last little piece.  

All that’s left.