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Four Steps for Comprehending

[Contains Sensitive Content]

by Carrie Smith


First - the daze.

You wake up at eleven AM, eyes dry, mouth dry, head sore.

The patch of sun on your pink duvet makes you blink.


Second - the tightening.

Your neck feels delicate and strange. With that sudden awareness comes a claustrophobic


You count the memories of drinks until you can’t remember anymore. You think, “there must

have been more.”


Third - the heaviness.

A hand, your neck, your hair pulled taut.

Someone else’s breath on your face. “This is a movie,” you think. Last night is veiled with

intoxication and denial, so your eyes stay dry, and you ignore the way it hurts to swallow.


Fourth - the overwhelm.

Your head is throbbing. Your throat is tender. Your lipstick has collected at the corners of your


You recall his name and the way your phone died early in the evening. You remember the

grime that collected at the edge of his kitchen floor. You re-observe the glint of his

glasses in the sterile bright light when he was looming over you.

And these things hover over you and over the sun patch on your pink duvet. And someone is

calling you.


Edited by Natalie Cheung, Essays Editor



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