• Lindsay S. Wheeler


She returns to a bathroom floor where the voices in her head settle at a deafening quiet. Face up. With courage the tiles will absorb her in a way that is less cold. Sometimes the quiet bores strength in hard wood. Sometimes it nurtures an intoxicating complex that does not reflect what is true. Covered arms and a fuck attitude and black lipstick. Strong or something. Tiny and breakable. Put together. Crumbling. Studious. She spent two precious hours Googling mustard-colored sweaters. Coaching the world to find strength in pain. Breaking. Awake. Present. Unhinged. Somewhere else entirely. A giver. Empty hands.

She can’t sleep. Her eyes trace the edges of a bedroom door that will remain closed because no one is actually coming. Safe. What is safety when all she knows is an alarm signaling a storm she knows well but that still takes her out at the knees. What is safety when the storm is her mind losing itself. She would rather be broken. She would rather be fixed. A screaming contradiction craving attention and loathing attention. Upbeat and dead, with bruises bandaged so well they are unseen when self-inflicted.

Darkness is the warmest place. Not safe in her head but not ready to pull the crisis alarm. Can’t hide. Her friends know her like humidity knows the storm before it knows itself. She keeps walking. Cadence not speed. Everything has cracks. Sometimes the light gets in. Sometimes the water does and it is cold. Closed eyes that never sleep. Perfect cupcakes. Re-enacting Flavor of Love with kids who can’t catch a fucking break. Laughter. An artist living somewhere between a stage and reality. What is safety when the storm she runs from is actually just her mind losing itself. When it finds its way back after the calm comes over. She is used up and there is no space.

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