Drinking Hemlock

I always thought Hysteria sounded like another realm, like Narnia or Elysia. Made up of twisted fragments of reality and planted in the mind somewhere between lunacy and lucidity. So far I've caught only glimpses, this rush of brilliant lust, a textbook symptom the doctors warn me about and the brochures tease me about and the poets can't stop howling about.

Well, truth: Sometimes I wake up in the morning and beg for the pills. Yes. Even me.

I keep waiting for it. Like an eruption. I imagine myself at the height of my affliction, where my heart, after one particularly violent thrust, will burst from its cage in a torrent of feathers starved and gasping for breath.

I have always thought succumbing to madness would be like drowning. Maybe coming.

However, this morning, over coffee and waffles with unripened peaches, I realize that I would be incapable of assessing any situation, especially madness. Issues such as linear time, eating regularly, wearing panties, all seem to get the better of me. I have to remind myself that living vicariously through 80's strip club music is neither healthy nor cool. I have to remind myself where I put my keys. I have to remind myself where I put my phone. Then I have to find my keys again. Wallet. Cigarettes. And then look-- sky the color of pearls. My head feels like a television set, the old kind, with the knobs. Turn them and the kind gentleman who shared his New Zealand blush with you splits and warps, your conversation on Hemingway becomes elongated and stretched into static. There is a heavy, electric hum resting in my eardrums. Please just give me the comfort of strangers in the night, pills like elevator buttons, ink the color of silver moss, pawing through baggies, saying yes to all the wrong people, and then finally, saying it to the right one; also, dragging the sun on my heels through downtown streets contemplating art and cocaine and television sets and suddenly realizing how hot it is outside, how hot it's been every day, and i slowly start to piece the days together as the sweat starts to gather on the small of my back gradually and

when you were a kid, and you'd try as hard as you could not to fall asleep, see how long you could stay up, see how long you could make it, until the voices stopped downstairs, until the dishwasher ceased its murmuring, and every time the red cuts on the alarm clock would rearrange themselves you'd lose the number patterns somewhere between the curtains of your leaden eyes, so you never knew what time it was when you finally gave up, only that when you opened them again it was morning, and there was no trace of the hours that passed.

About the author:

Victoria Campbell stays up all night long.