diary of anhedonia – Wrath of Persephone

she doesn’t know who she is. she sits in the blue glow of computer screen. she keeps a sleeve of saltine crackers by her bed. she finds most human interactions regrettable and unfortunate. she remembers an embarrassing moment when she did too many drugs and pulled a knife on a pushy man who wouldn’t leave her alone. it was at a party. she escalated the situation and fucked up the vibe. when she’s nervous she picks at her scalp until it bleeds. she can tell when things are bad because of the dried blood underneath her fingernails. she flosses every day even though she doesn’t plan to be alive for her next dentist appointment. she remembers the dental hygienist tell her she would need to stop smoking to keep her teeth from falling out. she responded by saying she would be dead long before that would happen. there was an awkward silence followed by a nervous laugh. she bundles up in mask and hoodie to walk to the corner store for a pint of whiskey and a bottle of green juice. she prefers the solitude of her studio apartment. when the panic gets really bad, she curls up on the floor of her closet. sometimes she has phone calls in there when she is afraid people are listening.

she is almost out of toilet paper and must make the trek to the store. she always gets followed by loss prevention when she shops at CVS. though she has a propensity for shoplifting, she knows better than to lift from any of the stores in Union Square. security there is militant, and she has seen them hurt people over what probably amounts to $30 worth of shit. the key to shoplifting is to always pay for *something*. that way, if loss prevention stops her, she can claim she forgot about that item during checkout and has the receipt as evidence. she doesn’t make eye contact with people anymore. she feels herself becoming more of a glitch and less of a human, less of a girl. she hasn’t had sex in 11 months, the last man paid her $1000 for three hours. she felt herself leave her body and only remembers the walk home. the elevator in the hotel was unnecessarily complicated.

she wakes up at five a.m. to do laundry. it’s the day before thanksgiving. she normally does laundry on thursdays. tomorrow they will be closed. it must be done today. she walks her laundry two blocks to the laundromat. it is still dark out. she is one of three people there, this is preferable. she loads both washers and starts them. she walks to the corner store for a small coffee with cream and sugar. she pays in cash and leaves. she smokes a cigarette while her coffee cools. it is still dark out. she returns inside and sits down to doomscroll twitter. she puts her phone down and opens a book. she hears the washers click off and switches her laundry over. she gets three chapters read. as she folds her laundry a man at the dryers’ sneezes so loudly that she is startled even with her headphones in. he’s unmasked. she hopes he dies of covid for being so reckless and inconsiderate.

she finishes folding her laundry, packs up and heads back to her apartment. two blocks, uphill. once back inside she strips out of her outside clothes and puts on her inside clothes. she turns on a dark academia playlist. she begins to put away her laundry methodically. panties and socks. sweatpants and sleep shirts. leggings. and all the things that hang – t-shirts, pants, hoodies, and flannels. always in this order. bedding and towels are last. she stares at herself in the mirror. she doesn’t recognize her reflection. she is hungry. the refrigerator is empty on purpose. she chooses hunger. she knows this is a privilege. the pain of starvation is familiar and comforting.

she checks email, responds to email, agonizes over her tone. she uses different names for different situations and mostly remembers them. she smokes cigarettes on her fire escape. she takes a covid test. she lets the dishes pile up in the sink but organized so it’s not an eyesore. she takes handfuls of acetaminophen because her back hurts. and so do her shoulders. and her neck also. she listens to the same six songs on repeat for months at a time. she never walks barefoot in her apartment. she massages aquafor into the patches of dry skin. she hangs artwork she’s created on her walls and hates herself for it. she fantasizes about death. she doesn’t talk to her family anymore. she loads/unloads/reloads/unloads her 9mm smith and wesson. her focus is interrupted by her dog whining. she laces her doc martens. she takes the dog for a walk. when she gets back inside, she wipes each of baby’s paws. she sits on the edge of the bed and opens up the cheap, ikea bedside table. she stares into it. she pulls out the bottle. she crushes the good pills and snorts them. she rubs her thumb over the scar in the fingerprint on her index finger. the warmth spreads through her. she misses her dead stepfather.

the tremor in her hand is back. she struggles to open her mailbox. she can’t get the key in her apartment door. her nosy neighbor watches her quiet frustration escalate. frustration turns to embarrassment. she drops the keys. she drops her bag. she leans her back against the door and slides down it. she rests there for a minute before trying again. this time she gets in. she locks the doorknob. she locks the deadbolt. she steps into the kitchen and opens the bottle of whiskey, drinks what is left. everything feels warm for a moment. her phone vibrates. she can feel her heartbeat in her temple. she wants to sleep.

her alarm goes off at 5am. silence. her alarm goes off at 6am. she checks the apps in bed. she locks her phone. the dog is hungry. she fills the bowl with food, changes out the water so it’s fresh. baby eats. they walk through the street in the rain. it’s still dark out. back inside. into the elevator that rattles. manual elevator doors, outside first then inside. up three floors. inside first, then outside. she wipes each of baby’s paws. she grabs her wallet and walks back out the apartment door. she walks two blocks to the bodega to get a large coffee and a pint of whiskey. the man who owns the bodega is kind. he recognizes her from every thursday for the last year. he never judges her for drinking in the morning. she thanks him and starts back up the street. the sky is starting to brighten. it’s still raining. the fog hides the top of the skyscrapers. separates the chaos of city from the cozy, gentle warmth of heaven. she remembers a Sylvia Plath quote, “i need a father, i need a mother, i need some old, wiser being to cry to. i talk to God but the sky is empty.” the sky is empty. she gets back into her apartment. she locks the door behind her. she washes her hands, opens the bottle and drinks until it starts to burn. she knows it will not make her feel better. she’s hoping it will make her feel something.