I pass time in parking lots on evenings when I am alone. I enter them after eating food made by someone else, taking home leftovers in plastic bags so I can save an extra few bucks without even questioning it. Chicken and rice might as well have nine lives for whatever needs taking care of in my stomach.

I pass an older woman, also alone, in a beaten-up brownish sedan. In passing, I have been caught by her headlights. They have outed my icicle tears that now sit all gooey and sticky under my no-name face. My eyes are wet and fuzzy, and they drift quickly and unintentionally in the direction of this woman, as if I am secretly begging for help. Begging for escape. For a purpose. For 500 grand to get me out of here.

Maybe subconsciously I want to confirm that I am not the only woman alone, crying in the parking lot across the street from a Goodwill and a McDonald’s. Her face follows mine as I drive past. It’s as if she was looking for me. For a brief, backward, uncalculated moment, she is my mother. A sister. A friend. A being suddenly concerned for a twenty-something year-old stranger with a stormy face. Suddenly responsible for my mental instability.

I find my own space next to the Animal Hospital, distant from cars that tic-tac-toe throughout the parking lot. I pull the lever on the side of my seat to lay me down comfortably, yet out of place. A Prius is no place for a bed, but depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder love resting in the uncomfortable compartments of man-made things, somehow making them seem comfortable. Have you ever sat fetal position in the shower?

I let myself drift into that funny place, like the funny place of pills and alcohol that just don’t mix well, but it sounds like a good idea at the time. This mix is much like the one of emotional delusion – the baby of exhaustion and second-hand trauma. This is the mix of chemicals that convince me that all I simply am is just another domestic animal, living my twelve to fifteen years playing house. Catching bones that are thrown at me and drooling, tongue-out when excited. Waiting for a dear old friend to put me down. To put me out of my misery. Requesting my ashes. Reincarnating me into an urn. I am suddenly manageable. Appreciated. Easy. Quiet. Non-consuming. This is how, and only how, I am able to be kept forever. 

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