Juliet Escoria

July 23, 2001
San Diego, CA

I took acid a week ago and I probably shouldn’t have. Ever since, and things have been sliding around. Shadows vibrate and phones ring and there’s no shadows or phones actually there.

I am smoking cigarettes at the tables at the strip mall where we all hang out. Some people are playing cards. I am not playing cards. I am sitting there, doing nothing, just smoking. People are saying things, joking, talking with each other. I have nothing to say. I try to come up with something but everything in my brain is just noise.

My breaths get short and I know I have to get out of there, tripping over the heavy metal chair as I stand up. I walk quickly until I am out of sight, and then I run. I go behind the movie theater, where there is a stucco wall fencing in the theater’s emergency exits. I lay down on the cement. It is cold. I take deep breaths and look at the sky. The sky is warm. I have a Sharpie in my pocketbook and I pull it out. I am lying on the cement. I write on it: CEMENT. My head is next to the stairs. I write on them: STAIRS. My legs are next to a wall. I write on it: WALL. I know where I am in relation to other things. I feel them solid under the tip of the pen.

For the next few weeks, when I feel like things are crowding in, I take out my Sharpie and label what’s around me. Soon everything at the strip mall has my handwriting on it.


The other kids look at me funny when I do this. They already think I am weird and this is just a reinforcing act, but I don’t seem to have much of a choice. Maybe they think I’m the charming kind of weird. If that doesn’t work—well, at least I have a pretty face.