On Depression, or, The Segregation of the Queen

Sometimes, just the two of you in the room, it’s like you survived an apocalypse.

Lying half-awake, the dust motes catching fire and going out in the brutal Sunday morning light. The phone doesn’t ring. No one calls anymore. They never know what they’re interrupting. So, you sleep late. It’s not like there are consequences.

It builds and builds, this idea that if you just keep your eyes half-closed, you’ll only miss the things you don’t want to see.

Your clothes in a pile in the corner. You intended to wear that jacket this weekend. Now it smells like the smoke in the bar and you don’t know if your shoe is here, or in the living room, under the coffee table. The jacket is crumpled, your silk stockings ripped. Sunday morning. The paper’s drying out on the front steps.

Once you went for days without picking the paper up. Neighbor kids took it, or an animal maybe (what kind of animal needs the funnies but not the sports section?), or somebody down the street walking past your door to the train station took it, too cheap or too lazy to buy his own. It didn’t stay on the steps until you got home at night; you didn’t feel guilty, or miss it.

It’s not like that with your hair. The first day you don’t wash it it’s fine, but the next day, it seems like an ice-cold shower will solve all the problems. It doesn’t, but your hair’s clean now and wet down your back. You could braid it, instead of blow-drying, horrible noise in your ears. You could do that, and get dressed.

The dust dances. You wipe every surface in this house with lemon-polish rags and brushes. Where does it come from? Are you shedding that much of your skin?