Slow dancing in a burning room

A friend once told me that when you are faced with a curse, you cannot spend time figuring out why the curse was placed, or how, or what the curse feels like. Rather, the first thing to do is break the curse.

I take hot showers.

Go to the beach.

Scroll Instagram.

Eat good food.

Drink lots of water.


And then it creeps back. The bills are due again, the car needs an oil change, the laundry sits in heaps on the floor. The thoughts dart from point to point like string criss-crossing between the tacks designating the locations of the crimes. I’m overwhelmed and exhausted and sick of myself. Once, on an anniversary of a death of someone close, I wondered if they have it easier. I’m not suicidal. Not even suicidal-lite. But there’s something here that feels big – not quite an emergency, but close.

Sunday night – Anxiety/Mindfuck Night – we saw police cars responding to a call at a neighbor’s house. They came and they went, lights only. A teenager crying. These were my clues. I downloaded a police scanner and listened for awhile to its series of morse code beeps and screeches. Googled police blotter. Dead end. Googled the name of the neighbor. Oh look: he is a cyclist and we have mutual friends! His wife won an award once. An award I was nominated for and never won and now its too late for me to win.

Back to the police cars. Google crime maps and notice the city has stopped mapping crimes and instead releases a spreadsheet each month. Review recent spreadsheets. Only one hazmat call last month. Marvel that we are largely unaware of how much happens each month all around us.

Search for recent 911 calls. Only obtainable with a formal request and not likely to respond immediately to my midnight request. While I’m here, search court records. Cyclist doesn’t come up. Neither does my first boyfriend from 8th grade. Weird. I would’ve sworn he would have had a record. My second boyfriend’s name doesn’t come up either, but his daughter’s does. Underage drinking.

It’s almost 2am now and I’m trying to figure out how to download archived police scanners. I have to sign up with a service and I don’t want to give my email address. This inquiry for my personal information makes me stop short. I notice my daughter has sent a text from upstairs.

I was watching shoe customizing, now I’m just watching asian cooking like usual.

I respond.

I was looking at crime maps and now I’m searching court records, as you do.

The exchange is like a snap of the hypnotist’s fingers, but the spell lingers. I begrudgingly pull myself away from the search – the seduction of potential knowing – like pulling your dog away from eating another animal’s shit. In this scenario I am the dog-owner and the dog. And maybe the one who left the shit.

Almost 3am and the spell has been broken for now.


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