There's a party in your head, and you're not invited.
Daphne notices, first, that the light has picked up an edge. Edges, actually. Many of them, flexing in and out of different kaleidoscope shapes as they bounce off specks of dust floating in the air, refracting lines of color around her. She laughs.
“The air is moving.”
She finds that her limbs have taken on a state of paralysis. The couch is velvety and inviting, and as she lays on her side, legs curled into her stomach, her arms creating a nice pillow for her head, she hears her friend giggling through words, “OH, look at the painting!” It, too, has begun to move. The leaves of a fern ripple back and forth in a sassy wave. Clouds infinitely grow out of themselves. Shafts of wheat trek upwards to the sky, contributing to its many colors that then rain back down to earth. Daphne blinks and the painting is still again.
Nausea pokes at her sternum. She looks over to the windows that are pulsating with purple light before shutting her eyes. Her brain is producing static that overlays an emergency broadcast, overlaying a scene from Who’s the Boss?, overlaying another scene from Three’s Company, which is stacked on top of one from Golden Girls, that is perched on top of football, oil paintings, an orchestra, roadkill, a skeleton, gardens, Dalí, ballet dancers, dogs, a giraffe, puppets, muppets, tuppets, luppets, fuppets, suppets, sppets, ets, ets, ets, etsss, ttsss, tsss, sss, and now Daphne’s brain is flipping through channels in an order and speed she cannot control, but she cannot open her eyes. Amid the mess, a cartoonish, elongated face of something devilish amalgamates points of color to take form. It whispers to her.
“You can stop this any time you like. You control this.”
Still, she cannot open her eyes and so she tunnels down, burrowing through the layers of information. She digs, until the bottom falls out and she sees herself walking down a sidewalk, the sun shining around her. Daphne watches the top of her own head that is a world away. The idea of her life is something she’s struggling to remember, and she is terrified to scan her mind for proof that it was real. She doesn’t know that she’ll find it.
“You can stop—“
Daphne’s eyes fly open. Everyone in the room—seven people in all—are quiet and staring at her; their eyes are nothing but pupils. Or at least she thinks they're staring at her. She can't really tell. She glances at the clock on the microwave: 5:36. How long has this song been playing on repeat? Why is it playing on repeat? Her neck cranes to look at the stereo. Her friends are moving around the room, getting to their locations through hummingbird vibrations. They flit around her.
“Daphne, come look at this.”
One woman extends a hands towards her. Her eyes look like a doll’s. She walks her to the window where they gaze down on a Lego Land city. Daphne tongues the roof of her mouth. She can feel every bone, every vein, every gland, every duct, every fold, every cavity, every bump, every tooth in its socket, with alarming sensitivity. Quietly, she clamps her teeth together several times. Paranoia creeps in as she looks at the clock again: 3:34. Outside the window, the city is slowly moving up towards her. Tiny Sims-like people with no concept of the mundanity of their video game lives, navigate the sidewalks and streets. A hand presses against the window. Her hand. The air, the kaleidoscope air, is not coming in. She turns away from the city and stumbles to the bathroom. Her head goes into the toilet, a finger down her throat. Bile comes up; harsh, acidic, bitter. It splashes against the rim. Daphne harnesses her concentration to reach for paper to wipe it away. She hoists herself up and shuffles to the sink. Her stomach leans against the cool marble while water flows into her cupped hands, trickling through her fingers as she splashes it on her face. Keeping her head down, she makes a point not to look in the mirror. It had been warned against. With eyes full of water, she looks around, turning her head left, right, straightening the back and risking a view that is now eye level with her reflection, as she searches for a towel.
“Don’t look in the mirror, don’t look in the mirror, don’t look in the mirror, don’t look in the mirror, don’t look in the mirror, dont look in the mi—“
H&M crop top; Zara kimono and boots; J. Crew pants; Anthropologie hat; Forever 21 necklace.