You are a man playing an electric guitar in an alleyway. It’s a real electric guitar, but it’s not plugged in, not making any sound. It’s sunset. Your hair is dark and curly, full of shiny wet ringlets. You can hear the music, feel the crowd.
You are a man running with a white sweat-soaked bandana tied around his head. The back of your neck is red, as if someone has repeatedly slapped you there. You are running fast, faster and harder than you really ought to, because you think you are fat and you think that maybe if you run fast, faster and harder, you will eventually run away from the weight of your world.
You are a woman climbing out of bed. Where are your clothes? Who is that man? Oh, that’s right, that man is your husband. And now you’re fully awake as a flock of birds flutter by outside the window. You’re fumbling with the drawstring on your lounge pants and remembering a dream you were having, wondering why you’ve stayed here so long.
You are a man in a cubicle, skin yellowed by the florescent lights. You’re scattering across your desk the stack of papers from your inbox. It’s a much heavier stack—full of crisp, razor-edged documents—than the one in your wire outbox. This scattered pile is your to-do list and you are setting it on fire with a red Bic lighter you purchased from a convenience store on your way to work. The flame catches and your gray eyes come to life for the first time in years.
You are a boy emailing another boy for the very first time. You have emailed other boys before but not like this, oh, not like this. And you feel like you might throw up or finally be happy or, if possible, both. You press ‘send’ to find out.
You are a teenage punk. You’re a girl or maybe you’re a boy. Maybe you’re a girl who wishes she was a boy. These things are hard to tell. When people pass you on the street they’re definitely unsure, so they clutch their bags a little more tightly, distract their young children with pointless questions, avert their eyes but not their senses should you make a sudden, unexpected movement. You like this. You like that you make them uneasy, feel challenged. You like that you are different because fuck their conventions and stereotypes and preconceived notions. You stick your gum on a lamppost. You’re a blur of blue and pink and black. You’re not going to live in this small town forever.
You are a woman in danger of having absolutely every single thing that she wants if you can have just one more pair of Prada pumps. Please, God. Just one more pair.
You are a man buying a gun in a sporting goods store, just because you can. Because it is your right to own a gun and have a gun and touch a gun. Also, you haven’t felt safe in a long time. Not since you were a boy have you felt very safe at all, and this black metal is touchable safety. You look over your shoulder. Many have tried to wrench this security from you, but no. Not yet. You are smart. You’ve gotten while the getting was still good. You feel supremely lucky you can have this and that you were able to get it on sale.
You are a young girl, seventeen, standing outside and leaving high school for the last time. It’s over and the girls you thought were your friends have already stopped being your friends and the boys you had your eye on seem younger, childlike; and all the fights with your parents and the things that definitely totally crucially mattered suddenly don’t matter at all, as if a tsunami has struck and swept all of those impossible things out to sea and pulled them under, forever out of sight. It’s summer and the rest of your life.
You are just like me.