Medusalem

I had another dream that I was back at The Page. This time I was standing behind the registers talking with some of my coworkers. Another coworker came up and was like, “Samuel, will you please just do some work?” One of my coworkers who was standing with me behind the register said, “Don’t you know that he doesn’t work here anymore?”

I think this is my brain’s way of accepting what happened. It keeps going back there, looking for someone to tell me that it’s not true. That I wasn’t lazy.

After waking up, I take Musette to the subway. On the way there, she tells me that she wants me to get outside and go somewhere.

“Maybe the sculpture garden.” she says.

“I’ll consider it.”

“You’re the one whose always saying that writing comes from the world.”

“I know.”

I walk home with the dog and try to have a fulfilling day, watching some Chaturbate videos and taking a shower, but no matter what I do I can’t escape Musette’s suggestion that I visit the sculpture garden. So come around seven I muster my strength and take the trip, leaving the dog at home in an attempt at getting some of that ‘me’ time I talked about.

The sculpture garden is part of the university campus. It encompasses the entire grounds. There are scattered sculptures everywhere. The first one I notice is a line of men kneeling with their hands behind their backs. The description says that there used to be a neon welcome sign above the statues. I wish the sign was still there.

There is a set of windmills made out of license plates. Some boat hull with a mini stone wall running down its spine. A few heads. A couple of fighting tigers. The plaques use phrases like ‘the vocabulary of colonial domestic architecture’ and ‘the essence of arboreal carnage’ to describe the works.

The sculptures don’t do much to impress me. It’s the other aspects of the campus that get to me, the stone buildings with plaques that simply say Student Activity Center, Chemistry Hall, Engineering, Financial Aid Department. From the time I had walked onto the campus I had a sense of paradise lost. It’s a Sunday. The place feels like a ghost town and I’m the ghost. There is a schism between the students and me. The security guards see me but don’t register my presence. I look like a student enough not to be considered a trespasser, but there’s something off about me. I am a shadow, unable to connect with the light. Doorknobs rattle ineffectively at my touch. I’m at the back of the dorm building looking into the windows. My presence gives people goosebumps.

I’m aware enough to recognize this as little more than a corpse stir generated from last night’s talk with Musette. The poison, sprouting manifestations of children, flares the repetitive panic vision of the lost possibility I haunt, the dream I keep going back to, like the drowning man gulping his eyes again at the surface the deeper I sink. It is a transitory vision slipped through the fabric of reality, another revelatory glimpse for another weighty moment. Life flashing before my eyes.

I exit the statue garden, returning home along an unfamiliar path. Another group of black people does nothing to me. A shirtless white man walking back and forth to and from his car looks me up and down. The dog greets me at the door of my apartment. Nothing looks out of place.