At breakfast, bright notes of lemon and dill dance across my tongue in a decadent hollandaise. My coffee is a full-bodied mug of caramel. The linen of my freshly-bleached napkin is soft and tender as it kisses the skin poking out from underneath the edge of my dress. Silverware catches the light, shimmering unapologetic up at me and I use it to cut through layers of poached egg, cured meat, and English muffin. Each ingredient marries the next. Ice clinks in glasses, the murmur of the cafe rises and falls like waves lapping the beach. Nobody shares my booth and I bask in the solitude of morning. But I am wearing gloves. Covered in plastic wrap. I am trapped inside a bubble, twice removed.
I leave the restaurant and put my headphones in. Turn the music up loud and the melody climbs down my spine, cradling my bones. The bass moves my legs and I fall in step with it. But the sound remains muffled, like listening to it through a tunnel. No matter how much I increase the volume, it can’t get through the glass I’m standing under.
On my walk I touch every piece of plant matter I pass. I caress fresh leaves between finger tips, feel their veins pulsing. The fog collects on the collar of my jacket and shimmies down the back of my neck, cold and wet. I drag my fists along the concrete walls until my knuckles bloody, but my hands do not belong to me. Someone far away must be feeling these things.
At night my husband lays his head on the hollow of my chest where my shoulder and torso connect. My breath falls in rhythm with his slowly. Comfortable and quiet, almost nonexistent. His smell is safe and familiar, but distant. An old shirt he left here weeks ago, not him.
Floating on the ceiling, I watch us lying in bed. And I wonder if I’ll ever find my way back into that body again.