Air

People always imagine "alone" as a dark, dank place. My alone is warm and inviting; maybe that's why I slip into it so often. A bar. It's so filled with people, yet this is where I go to be alone. Drinks. Another. Let it fill me. I drink of emptiness. As the liquor fills my system I am more alone, yet not lonely. Laughter erupts from across the bar. Who's laughing? I see happy faces, but no one is laughing. Maybe it's in my head. Maybe it's loneliness itself laughing for taking me prisoner.

Where are the voices? If I was crazy, wouldn't there be voices? Instead I hear mindless chatter that I know is coming from wide-open mouths. All of the noise means nothing. Air. I want air. My legs push me up and into a waitress. Crash! Crack! Crack. Glasses break and alcohol covers the floor. Or is it an ocean? Am I drowning? Will I die? Move forward. Move forward! Walls of eyes follow me. If I jumped up and down would they remained glued to my very skin? To get outside, will they have to rip themselves off? Will it sting? Please, keep staring at me. Please. The eyes slowly peel off and I feel… cold. No pain, just cold. It's scary. Air. Air? Where is my air? The door! It's open. A cool breeze drags me out and into an ocean. The apocalypse. Water is falling from the sky. Where is that silly old man with the big boat? All I feel is water. Air! Where is my air? It's too wet. Breathe! Choke.

Water. In my lungs. Is this bad? I'm going to drown. And then I notice. Strange faces in hoods. Rushing. If the water touches them, will they melt? Will I melt? I have no hood. I'm melting! Drip. Drip. Skin. An ear. An eye. Drip. Am I a puddle? No. Air! What happened to my need? Am I a fish now? Glup. Glup. I breathe water. Or air? I'm sure it's here. Where? In a passing car? In the sewer? In a hood? That's the secret! The hoods. I need one. I steal. Let me into your hood.

A face! It emerges from the hood. The mouth opens. It screams. I'm falling. Falling. Hard ground. Water. I am drowning. Gasp. No air. Sob. More water. Laugh. I'm choking. Where is my air?