3 ︎︎︎ Body of Water  — (excerpt)

von Tracy Fuad


All year, I spoke to myself through imagined conversations with the parents of the children who I watched for money.

In my mind, they asked me questions, and I explained to them my life, its nuanced circumstances and complexities. I couldn’t shake this way of seeing myself, through their eyes, though they are people I admire in particular, just the ones who pay me, who, in reality, rarely ask about my life.

Instead I walked the city, a wet eye. Everything sticks to me. I cannot see.

Each night before I sleep a circle appears and whispers to me, “now you will not be able to sleep.” I have learned to ignore the circle. Eventually, I sleep.

A child alone in the pasta aisle calls “papa” experimentally, not yet in distress. We look at each other.

I live near what’s left of the wall, whose absence is my age exactly. Because it is already destroyed, the absence will last forever. A state of non-existence is the most lasting of states.

The dogs here wear LED collars that flash, which is what’s left of what we called “nightlife.”

A young woman with the voice of an old woman approaches me, holding a bag of hot dog excrement, which she drops into a bin I realize I’m sitting next to, and I have to leave.

In line at the café a child asks a man what the woman is writing. The woman is I. I cease to be invisible. I begin to exist.