Everything is clear and sharp, my body filled with power and strength. Lying on my back, eyes closed, I still see the ceiling of the small bedroom above me. I am a dart of purpose fired into the future.
The woman is giggling. My thoughts tangle, a series of marginal notes swelling and growing in complexity. For a moment, I am unsure how I got here.
“You’ve got a twinkle in your eye,” she says.
I have been awake for three days.
Naked, I look at her. Above her appendix scar, her husband’s name tattooed in stretched copperplate. I kiss it, because I can.
I know I should not be here. Part of me is congratulatory, proud of the path from coffee to beer, vodka, coke then skunk, glad to escape obligation into infinite vibrating freedom. It’s like a homecoming.
Dawn approaching, my other self fades like a drab photograph. I do not miss him. I am electricity now.
She reads my tattoo aloud, tracing the words across my bicep with a finger.
“Protect me from what I desire most,” she repeats, voice puzzled. “What does that mean?”
“It’s a warning to myself,” I say as I ignore it again.