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Torpor - novel by Laurie Perez

I think about Steve’s dad while the hot water runs into my hair. What would it be like for it to beat against pure skin? Smooth, warm. I sink down in the thought and lie there, mentally melting in the shower.

It seems like my life was predictable once. Like I knew the code of things, the direction. I went to school, got my degree, got laid, started making enough to live on with some freelance work. Nothing glamorous, but I don’t need much. I liked the freedom and spontaneity. Yet I always knew what was going on in my life. In fact, if I had to be honest, things were boring.

I don’t have that now. Even the simple act of taking a shower becomes mystifying. Water streams across my body and I think of lavender silk and coffee.

I think of tequila oozing out of my brain making my muscles ache.

I think of the assembly of gold pens on Ruben Murillo’s desk and the gray waves in Padre Huerta’s hair.

I think about my mother smoking a cigarette, crushing it with cool-chick nonchalance.

I think about my father, down there on a boat having the time of his life. While I stand in the shower. While I use soap to fabricate a cleanliness that isn’t inside me. I should eat this soap, suck on it like a kid caught using the forbidden words. The inside of me is caked up with childhood frustration, layers of sadness, loneliness and the end of being alone, an urge to dance and laugh like I’ve never laughed before.

I am grieving for death. I am in love with being alive. I am falling into an abyss and I can see both sides of the outcome.

Peter Arellano, in TORPOR: Though the Heart is Warm

Peter Arellano in Torpor - novel by Laurie Perez