Fiction. Based on a True Day at the Carnival.
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Sleep has been elusive for the past few nights. It is easy to assume that something is wrong and you are so wrought with stress that you cannot sleep. More consistently, sleeping is difficult because your thoughts are so full of art to the point it pours from your eyes, your ears, and drips from your tongue. Beautiful sights are not frequently seen in the light.
This night is different. You toss and turn under sticky sheets, eyes refusing to close. Something is wrong, something is wrong, something is wrong, you repeat over again in your head for the hundredth time over the past few days. Tonight, you actually believe it.
Just because you believe in something doesn’t make it real.
It makes it true.
6:30 am. You’ve probably slept a few hours all night, shutting the light off at 9:30 pm. Possibly you weren’t as tired as you initially thought. Listening to the quiet, your ears earnestly search for a sound besides the ceiling fan spinning wildly above you. Some sounds you love, others not so much.
Hearing your mother’s loud, open mouthed, slurping chewing: unpleasant.
A rainstorm: pleasant.
Oh well, you roll over again onto your right ear so you face the wall, trying to sneak a peek out the window through the blinds. You want to cry. You can’t. The wells in your eyes are dry.
You close them very slowly so you see your eyelashes against the dark.
You lied when you got into the car. You’ve gotten really good at it.
You slept fine.
The day ahead is so exciting.
There is a piece of chocolate in your pocket, decadence wrapped in foil, and it is a breakfast fit for you. In a split second you eat it before it melts to your denim, instead melting on your tongue. Lying tongue.
You curl up in the last seat in the back of the van, put in your headphones, pressing shuffle on the playlist (505): Arctic Monkeys, The 1975, She&Him, Lana del Rey, Amy Lee. Your family around you excited for the day while you just want to curl up in your mind away from this crowded vehicle. There’s a pressure for you to smile along with them that is easy for you to resist.
Still you feel like you’re doin’ time.
After approximately three songs, you drift to sleep and dream of the conversations had with friends the day before. Their voices sound distorted in your memory; maybe that is how they really sound.
Your phone rings to wake you up. A text from a friend saying how much you are going to love the upcoming semester. It will be odd to you taking Italian instead of French. You always imagined you’d be friends with French all your life yet nothing seemed to work out. You were one way and the language was another.
Something is wrong.
The music continues nonetheless; the family laughs around you; are they your blood?
Take a deep breath and go through the motions with your mind blinking every second away. It’s only one day.
The amusement park is generally how you remember it.
You can’t ride roller coasters. The speed and the height is alright; the jolts and the wind stop your lungs. They forget how to inhale and exhale. It’s all the same to them to remain still.
It’s fair to say that you are unamused.
It’s summertime and you should be happy.
Smiling is hard. Your stomach is growling and they have your favourite chips here. What else is there when you are trying not to be a Debbie Downer? Adrenaline wears many masks.
3:00pm. You look at your phone, wearing your watch wasn’t a good idea. It isn’t waterproof and that doesn’t go well with a water park. The cool water felt amazing. It smelled strongly of chlorine, a poison with benefits.
You made sure to wear all your rings: a delicate blue topaz stone, carved silver London skyline wrapped around your index finger, a petite blue stone from Greenwich, and a silver vine. Rings are your favourite pieces of jewellery, taking the time to browse different ring sets that you wish you could afford. Life is expensive.
You’ve stared at your phone for too long.
“You’re no fun.” your mother says next to you. She’ll say later that she was joking but you won’t believe her. Too many comments have gone with a quick “it was a joke” as an afterthought.
Maybe in that moment you realise how broken you really are – that’s never bothered you before.
Isn’t it enough that you have put aside yourself so they can enjoy themselves? Never before have you felt so out of place, in the wrong location and time, alone in a crowd. You see your brother excited for the next coaster and a smile tugs at the corners of your lips. Then your mother speaks and it vanishes. As quickly as it came.
Your brother can’t ride coasters anymore. His contact in his left eye tore and getting off one too many rides dizzy will change the course of a day. It takes you a moment or two to notice. You are daydreaming of playing your violin. Shit, your fingers are aching. It’s like your mind is on the roller coaster while your body would die in a matter of seconds.
In between talking with him, you look down at your phone. A group chat of women you love are talkative today. College is almost over, enjoy the time you have with them. They’re genuine and you consider yourself lucky to love them. Never throw around ‘love.’
How they gossip today – that’s rare for them. Oh Tom fuckin’ Holland they type.
Not quite attractive but you know a pretty face when you see one.
Qui es-tu amour?
Ne parle pas de ce que tu crois.
You are daydreaming as you walk from ride to ride, not of the handsome actor, rather of time alone.
Many kids run past you, excited at the statues of chocolate and the towering structures. There is something sweet in the air. If only that innocence lasted that long in you – long gone since the dark came around. You wouldn’t want it any other way.
Your aunt stops for a smoke. Smelling the nicotine, you wonder what it feels like because so many songs and poems talk about how wonderful cigarettes are after sex.
You’re at an amusement park and your mind wanders to smoke and sex.
Let that sink in.
You and your family stop at an ice cream stand. Soft serve twist with chocolate jimmies on top really hits the spot. It is not hard to tell that your eyes are starting to show how tired you feel.
A smile finally crosses your lips. Okay, its all okay. Those horrible feelings are more evanescent than you thought. Something glows in your mind, spreading to your fingertips. It’s the cold against the heat that makes the most of the day. Your eyes are wide like a child.
Hopefully you’ll fall asleep in the car.
You fell asleep in the car. Apparently you missed a good time. The dreamless sleep was rather welcoming.
Wide awake now standing in your bathroom, you can’t wait to slip into the shower – clean away the stickiness of the day. City smoke washes off easier than the sugar that was pumped in the air to give you a false high.
The water feels wonderful on your skin. As the soap foams you slowly become more yourself than before. You believe in saying something, just the same you barely spoke all day. You fall into your body, comfortably feeling every muscle.
Now in your bedroom. Scraps of paper lie over your desk with scribbles you have yet to put into a notebook. Suddenly your mind filled with thoughts you never knew you could think. Smiling to yourself, you light a small apple cinnamon candle.
You survived the day.
There are so many other things to live for.
Climb into a clean soft bed, you notice the time. 12:00 am. Two hours of not glancing at your clock – an achievement.
Your head rests on the pillow and eyes watch the flame flicker in the dark. In seconds, you are asleep. Beautiful sleep.