We proudly present the first of our Reverse Fan Mail series. Reverse Fan Mails are made possible by generous donations. We then take the donor’s name (or a name of their choosing) and send it one of our favorite small press authors, who then write a piece of fiction or poetry based around that name.
“For M.H. Simmons”
THERE WERE MONTHS where I have done the same things, for months at a time. Meals were interchangeable, my outfits moved on and off me, and there were days I had no opinion, my mind goes empty, walking home following palm trees. I remember looking around during different parts of the day: leaving the apartment complex, cruising around The Whole Foods near work, reading at a bar after work, having a smoke. Everyone was having a different conversation than I was; all the strangers, everyone was moving quickly in and out of the rooms we were in together, anxious to be somewhere in the future. I was watching and imagining I was away from here: I was gone, walking around with Frances, somewhere in Paris, going somewhere to be with friends. I don’t know why it was always Paris in the rain.
There were months I felt as though I had no head, or I did the same things for long stretches of time, and it became surreal. Days were less responsive. People often refused eye contact or looked spaced out. I pretended I was indestructible to pass the time, serving customer after customer at the movie theatre, and slept alone in bed when I was exhausted. I was watching wall clocks and digital timers. Sometimes, I would change positions in bed to try something else. My foot would be where my head was, and my head where my foot was. I slept every way I could in my twin bed, creating solitude.
I would walk in the daylight without wincing my eyes, thinking about Frances. It was my favorite activity, repeating routines, in uniform or in transit, until I would be closer to her. When we were reunited, it felt so good it was as though I survived some sort of close trauma or natural disaster, being away from her. Although there were days I felt nothing, I can make myself deaf and mute to almost every aspect. I can be quiet in a room and feel alive.
The building could collapse onto me and I would still tell you I needed to get back home to her.
This piece made possible by a donation from Jeffrey Simmons. Check back soon for more Reverse Fan Mail pieces from authors like Chelsea Martin, Matthew Rohrer, Riley Michael Parker, James Yeh and many more.