Fire. Fire. No good. Let’s go people. Pick it up. Pick it up.

Sometimes, if sitting quietly enough to hear nails grow from fingers, you can almost hear the neurons firing inside your brain. Though for me, it’s more likely that I hear the electricity in my brain before the keratin of my fingers because I’m usually too busy biting at my nail bed. I once had a girlfriend who was just as bad a biter as I was but found comfort in that, because whenever shame and guilt found me, I would just criticize her bleeding cuticles in place of my own. Having a relationship with someone that shares your vice is an effective coping tool. Anyway, so, the brain: a biological workstation running on phantasmal systems of nature which can’t be directly observed.

Look at me on the couch. There I am, nursing a small white porcelain cup filled with bitter green tea again. And, amidst the cloud of burning incense I begin to think about all the things I’ve become, and all the things I’ve failed to be. I think about all the “MEs” I’ve created, and all the ones that have been destroyed. I wonder where they go. Do they disappear forever, or do they come back? Should I stick around and pace for them to show up, anticipating their arrival between the four walls of an empty waiting room?

Sometimes I think about Reckless me, or Hopeless Romantic me, or Drug User me, or Future Doctor me. I wonder what it might be like to invite them all to dinner and ask them to come to a compromise. “Get your act together boys”, I’d say with a stern face after downing a shot of tequila. Maybe they’d shape up and work out a deal where they could each spend time occupying my body year after year, my physical shell becoming a loaned existence on tap. After they finish playing out their agendas, I wonder if then, maybe then I might be a complete person. I wonder if that’s what they mean when they say that kind of junk. The hardest part comes at the end of this mental journey.

In the final sip that consumes the tea, I think about all the people I really care about in my life, and I wonder if I might be loving the same person represented by several different bodies—as if somehow this person was split up and scattered around the world long ago for me to find. It’s a daunting puzzle with no guarantee of success and whose end carries no promise of vindication. I wonder what might happen if all those people I care for came into being as one person, and I wonder if then—only then—might I love completely.