Did you get your free beach towel?

I can’t remember what I was dreaming. It was something tense, and this night I didn’t wake periodically between anxious dreams to find my hand between my legs.

Instead to sweat and something akin to panic. I fell asleep with the lamp on. The lamp is still on. I’m alone in the shelter tonight. Rocket stayed with a friend, L. moved out. We’re divorced, which many see as broken.

Yesterday I was at Evergreen, all day, from 8 something am to nearly 10 pm. Soon  (in the way that Christmas is soon) I will be a student there. Then I will have a bootstraps Legitimacy to my poverty (not a sponge, a student!) that will simultaneously bolster and sicken me all over again. Like the first six years parsing cities, tech school credits, and periods of homelessness into my liberal arts degree in Whoops I Got Pregnant My Sophomore Year wasn’t enough.

In every shelter and indigent care resource we’ve lived in or accessed, there has been some earnest and well-intentioned Evergreen student or Evergreen graduate being an asshole.

I attended an internship information session yesterday. Half of the list of possible internships are places I have had to live in or beg resources off of to stay alive. It didn’t feel good. An Evergreen student volunteer from Out of the Woods called me just last week,  hoping for an update. “How are you doing now?,” she sweetly inquired. There weren’t words small or cold enough to fill the silence growing between us. “Can I get back to you on that?,” I finally asked. What I wanted to say was, fuck your funders and leave me alone. Even if I were a success story, I wouldn’t be yours.

I dreamed about Cloud. I just remembered. Cloud and L. They were gone from me. Cloud was taken, turned literally to sand.

Alone in this shelter. How can I keep them safe through the night when I can’t hear them breathing? So long I have measured their breath in sleep as I guarded their bodies. From the bear, transphobic shelter mates, nightmare. I attended them, bats and booklights and knives in hand. I listened for footfalls, noted tensions and shifts and measured the pull of headlights across the walls.

We are growing now in space and uncertainty. I smoke too much. I’ve fallen in love. When I can’t hear breath pass through their lips I can’t sleep. This is growth, I know, a process that feels like everything turning to shit then flowering. Come September I suspect that I will be nearly unrecognizable to myself.

An Evergreen student. An intern. A lover. Is success becoming an asshole? The family dog dissolved to sand. I’ve written through the alarm and now the sun is up, the danger has passed, I’m exhausted.

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