a conversation between myself and a post-it / by laurel

I checked my email, the flickering screen glazed my face extraterrestrial white. No email, though. Not in the last second, anyway. I resolved to check again in a minute or two.

In that moment, the phone didn't ring, either, so I didn't answer it, didn't say, "Oh, it's you...how did you get this number and I suppose you want to talk now?" Didn't cross my arms and harumph and say, "Well it's going to be harder than that, because first of all, you're going to need to admit every time you've ever faulted anyone in your life, and I suppose I'm going to have to mull this over and decide whether or not I forgive you for those things." I didn't soften or smile or take a moment to relish the way in which your voice tap dances through my ear canal and reverberates inside my skull, bouncing back and forth, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry."

In fact, the spindle of CD-R's next to my phone offered no council, either, and there were no letters to paper clip and file into a folder called, "The Things That Are, The Things That Have Been" and so the box of paper clips next to the CD-R spindle lies unused as well. The cardboard lid shall remain cocked at precisely the same angle as it was five minutes ago, yesterday, and three weeks from now. The only advice I gleaned in that moment was a kindly reminder from the post-it on my monitor, a gruff but wizened tone of voice, saying: Verdana Bold, ten point, CAPS.

It's all so simple, really, and thus emboldened by this idea, I decided to clock out and drive home. Even though I was funneled into an obedient herd of traffic lines, stomping stubbornly onward, snorting and swatting at flies with a flicking tail, I felt a mounting sense of dread. The contents of my head at that moment threatened to spill into the car, threatened to drown the dashboard controls and flood the engine, threatened to drip like battery acid from the grill onto the pavement where the other cattle-cars would likely step in it and find themselves poisoned, dead and dying.

That's why I left work, anyway. The contents of my mind had already seeped into my email, crashed over the internets, waved furiously at at passersby and pop-up windows. But now here it was again, bubbling up as it were even in the heated womb of my car. "Why don't you just admit that everything wrong with the world can somehow be traced back to you?" I'll accept some of the blame, but not all of it, stop pointing the finger, why do you point the finger, I should break that finger.

Anyway, the peaceful seaside didn't seem to mind so much, even as the magma and mirth bubbled and boiled her supple skin, and I drove on, firing questions at every passing powerline "Am I right? Am I right? Am I right? Am I right?" Conversations buzzed over nearby telephone lines, their speakers and listeners paused to consider my side of the story.

"It doesn't really matter, does it?" They said. "What matters is what's for dinner, and do you know where your children are?"

Children. Now there's a scary thought, I thought as I took the keys out of the ignition, home at last, walking fast to the front door. I let myself in, let myself inhale the familiar smell of summertime heat as all my possessions cried out to me, "You're HOME!"

I checked my email. The flickering screen glazed my face extraterrestrial white. No email, though. I resolved to check again in a minute or two.