I hear Kate flushing the toilet. She wakes before me. Rare occasion. I pee too. Then lay down. Reach for computer.
Tap tap tap. Tap tap tap.
Room 238. Underneath white bed sheets, the dry bones of two girls. Starved. Withered. In the queen bed beside them, two more skeletons. Pale white femurs, metacarpals and teeth. We check Room 240. Same. How did these college soccer players deteriorate so rapidly? In such Olympic physical condition. This is Nationals. This is Cocoa Beach. This is America. A land of protein shakes and credit cards. The Food Committee said there’s no money left. No dinner. As the Chancellor napkin wipes the butter from his fingertips.
In the room next door, I sip cold hotel coffee. And think. I have a baby to feed. There’s no food for miles. Just fake news, styrofoam cups, plastic straws. The lobby TV says a hurricane is on it’s way. Half the girls are still alive. Phones dead. Restless. Coach Kate says we need to eat. She takes them on foot to the beach. Says they’ll lure sharks. One of the girls has bloody ankles. Coach Kate tells me to stay put. There is no yellow caution tape. No police response. Just the half-living girls, marching in a single-file line to the sand dunes.
Kate’s rummaging over pink roller suitcase. Digging diapers, onesies. Where are Ellie’s shorts? HELLO?! Okay, you’re just going to ignore me?
Fast-forward five minutes. Yes. I’m guilty.
I imagine it’s quite nice to have your partner and father say hello in the morning and give a fuck about your existence instead of straightway finger-pecking a half-baked zombie narrative on his MacBook Air.
This weekend, a lady at Thai Massage training says most people touch a client’s quad or knee and feel density. But she touches the knee and sees in HD color. The client crying as a young girl, wincing as her father hits her mother. Psycho-somatic message therapy, she calls her work. Energy-work, she says.
I see dead people. Sort of. I listen to podcasts, read poetry, blur bounce eyes from one billboard to the next. And I see words. Like an LSD trip sees leaves. Alive. I hear the words, buried under six feet of lazy language. Moaning to be unearthed. Reassembled.
I see the girls’ watery eyes. Irises like puddles. The last ones arriving late in the lobby. Their eyes panic. Empty pizza boxes. No, a single nutritional triangle saved for each of them. I see that and I see corpses in hotel rooms.
The baby peed the bed. Does housekeeping change the sheets or just remake the beds?
How do we tell someone we love something they’re 100% not going to want to hear?
Are we a touch phobic culture? Is it fear of law suit? Imagine a food pyramid for touch.
By the beach, there’s a Pentecostal church. I imagine NASA launching a space ship. Cape Canaveral’s right next door. Congregation speaking in tongues.
I practice Thai Massage on Kate. The baby is doing tummy time. Kate said ouch! Last week the dermatologist cut off four moles. Her mom went in, too. My dad’s had the same thing done. Excision, biopsy. Pre-cancer moles, the call-back doctor reported. I see the writing on the wall. I don’t have health insurance.
We refuse to vaccine Ellie with lead China sewage fluid.
The Thai Massage teacher began by talking about intention. Matters as much or more than technique, he said. Fix mind focus. Metta is living kindness. Manifest.
To do list. Engineer gratitude. Exhale nauseous self judgment comparison self critique story telling. Wait for the girls to come back with food.