Alternate Universe

Lorde is blasting out of the speakers in thick pulses.

My left hand is making waves in the air. My sunglasses are slipping down my nose. The air is falling through the car window in big, hot batches.

It’s not refreshing but it’s comforting.

I throw the car into neutral and ride the last block home slowly.

I love the way it feels to be in a car in neutral. The way it moves up and down bumps in the road, slowing down at the top of a hill and picking up momentum on a soft decline. Just like a rollercoaster. Just like us.

I walk in the front door and no one is home. It’s cool inside the way an old house is cool — like concrete. Like the other side of a pillow. Like my feet were every day in London.

I throw my keys on the coffee table. They clink.

I run to get my running clothes on.

If I don’t do it now I won’t do it.

I put music on before leaving the house. Eminem starts playing. I run out the door.

Where’s my snare?

I run along the boardwalk. I try to jump over as many boards as I can at one time.

Sometimes I spin around. Sometimes I jump up onto benches. Sometimes I jump so high and land so hard that my knees hurt, but I don’t stop because I’m so excited.

I lick my lips and they taste salty.

Some people are still out skim boarding. Dogs and children and adults and teenagers are walking around lifeguard huts and shells on the ground.

Childish Gambino starts playing and I start to sprint.

At a clippers game on the courtside.

I knock my head back and forth. My fingers play the melody. My hands play the drums. I fantasise about singing this perfectly at a karaoke night. On the beach with a guitar case open in front of me. As a duet with Taylor.

I lip the words. Go home, Roger.

How old is Childish Gambino, anyway? Can I be him? I decide to stop running and look it up on my phone. He’s 34. It’s possible.

My headphones come off. Nothing sounds better than silence after a run. My breathing is fast and everything around me is loud. The world looks heavy and colorful and sweet like a children’s book.

Seagulls just pecked french fries out of a little girls hands.

I spend the rest of the night in my living room listening to Amy Winehouse records and reading and staring at the pattern on the quilt my mom made me and feeling the carpet under my feet each time I get up to make more tea.

It’s hot but I still want tea.

I nestle into bed and fall asleep reading Strange Weather in Tokyo. I dream about fixing a unit test.



Writer, t-shirt designer, software engineer. Child. Canoe.

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