my body felt numb. my heart began to race but my body felt nothing. i rolled down the window because it was hot in the car. the outside wind i’m sure was cold when it whipped my face, but i didn’t feel the difference. i turned my music up, but didn’t notice that it was any louder than before. i sang along without paying attention to the words. they came naturally and i knew when i stumbled but still hardly noticed when i did. i pressed the gas and saw the speedometer needle shift. 60, 70, 80… the wind whipped harder, i imagine. i swerved between lanes, but in a straight line. i wasn’t blinded by the headlights in my rearview mirrors. i remember crying. my voice shook as i sang the words to a song i knew too well to connect with at this moment. i got quiet. i stopped singing. i glanced at the sky and saw the stars. i glanced at the trees and saw new leaves. i turned the music louder still. it didn’t make a difference. i still sang along and paid no attention to the lyrics i was singing. 85, 90… i followed the car behind me off the exit. i blindly turned as if i’d traveled this road a thousand times. i didn’t look for oncoming cars. i didn’t care. i wanted to be home. because leaving a person you connect with so well is hard.

maybe it’s the alcohol i drank before throwing up shortly after. maybe it’s the black coffee i drank to sober up. maybe it’s the relentless drunken, then sober, speech that crossed my lips as we walked around the square with our backpacks on. maybe it’s the way they said they didn’t care what i told them, that nothing i could let out to them would be too much. maybe it’s the thoughts of tonight occupying my whole being.

i look at my hands and they shake, jitter. i purse and chew on my lip but it doesn’t sting. i close my eyes but don’t feel the urge to fall asleep. the hair falling in my face shakes with my body, but i feel nothing. the chills that run down my spine don’t shake me to the core like they should. the more i concentrate, the more my stomach hurts. not because i’m sick from drunkenness; that’s passed. the more i concentrate on feeling, the sicker i feel. i feel my face turn white, the blood draining from my upper half. i feel dizzy. i feel alone.

the thought of leaving makes me numb.