There’s something about swallowing 4PM afternoon sun that makes the orange spread under your skin; for the short walk to math class there’s a calm in your belly and no stickiness under your toes. A stupid, irrational laugh of nonsense erupts at the bottom of your throat and foams at your mouth. You’re snorting maniacally. You are probably mad, laughing at nothing but greyed tarmac dotted by the remains of last nights fireworks.
Last night, there were fireworks on the ground and fireworks in the sky. There were fireworks in your head, popping and sizzling, bursting in thunderous claps, thunderous claps like doors slamming shut and an arm swinging at you, fast and heavy, before your heart jolts out from some chapter of last night’s forgotten dream and into the present, too full of yellow.
Swallowing the sun isn’t half as easy as it seems to be. It is gulping and heaving. There’s a vacuum waiting to consume it forever and your mouth will never open wide enough, so the skin at its corners will tear and blood will rise from the hard cracks on your lips. It wants to crack your chest open with your unabashed giggling and grunting.
The city was to treat you the way it had two years ago- welcoming you to the picture you remembered, of China rose hanging over old stone mansions under cool spring skies and ladies in the street with jasmine in their hair.
The city was to live up to the familiarity of white Indica taxis, to the aesthetic of red brick courts set in a neatly cropped enclosure of green. So then, you think your memory is failing because the city is the calcium in your bones now and the life throbbing in it is bitter behind your teeth. You can’t believe you remember nothing of these woods of eucalyptus from when you spent your time here before. With the sick cold of pretty mornings, they see to be all the city is anymore.
The car halts under the railway bridge and the rest of the world around you settles itself into the matrix of traffic at the signal. There’s a rumbling that shakes you slightly and a screeching that roars in your ears. It takes you some time to realise it’s the train running overhead.