I was in the bathroom doing my business and thinking about death, as I sometimes do when I am in a vulnerable position. I washed my hands and looked in the mirror; I stared at my aging face. In just a few months…31. Wow, time flies. I traced the sleep mark that was still on my face. A small crease between the side of my lip and my nose. Hello crease, I said to myself and then focused on my neck and went down to the rest of the body. Time catches up and so do all those burritos and burgers I had in high school. I giggled to myself and opened the door like a good germ-a-phobe, with the outside of my sweater. Walking down the narrow hallway I admired the markings on the wall, much like the indent on my face. The faded blue paint was scratched up with words and gibberish that someone had cared to leave behind. Scratches to remember me by…some from food trays, some from delivery boxes, and some from people who don’t want to be forgotten.
I love Jenna forevah.
Tommy sucks b@lls!
Never forget how beautiful you are. <—sidenote: only ugly people say this. <— f*ck whoever this is, stop trolling.
And then there’s the non legible writing that makes me squint; the words that will take work to decipher and I give up and return to the restaurant. I enter the back part of the diner and pass by an old broken juke box. The waitress who brought me water with a smile greeted me in the back room with a twisted nose. Is it sad to say I am used to it?
Sometimes young girls like me and find me ridiculous and silly. Sometimes young girls hate me because I remind them of someone they hate. Who am I kidding! This also applies to anyone! Not just womyn. Anyways, I keep walking and pretend I don’t see her grimace and decide to focus instead at the poster of Elvis by the entrance door of the restaurant. I knew I was almost to my table as I reached the new electronic juke box; it was telling everyone the song it was playing and the era it came in. It resembled an oversized iPod — the old original clunky one.
I was feeling heavier by the time I reached the side of the restaurant where my boyfriend waited. I was feeling fatter, older, slower and then just before I reached the booth I something in the corner of my eye. Something I would have missed if I would have continued focusing on Elvis. I see a clown.
He was sitting in the booth in front of ours. He had taken off his hat, and you could only tell he was a clown by seeing his face. White cloudy eyes, and bulbous blue lips too big for his face. The drawing was a large smile on his face, though he was not smiling. He was staring out into space. He must have been in his early 50s; grey hair, a tiny overweight and before him a sweaty glass of water.
I sat down and tried to motion to my boyfriend that the clown was behind me, and that he looked sad. But gave up after my boyfriend proceeded to ignore my game of charades, he bent over and took a bite of his meatballs. I sighed to myself.
It was a lazy Sunday. There was no one else in the restaurant beside two servers, the clown, me and the boyfriend. I imagined his life — he must have come from a birthday party, or maybe he’s a street performer, or maybe he’s just a local Berkelyan who dresses as a clown on Sundays to confuse people around him. Did he draw a smile on his face because he could not keep it up himself? I had so many questions.
We walked out of the diner feeling bloated and ready for the movie. I looked back before exciting the restaurant and noticed the clown was no longer there. Was there a back exit? Or was he now in the bathroom staring at his reflection. And what was he thinking about? What did he see when he looked at his reflection? Did he wonder when his pores got so big? Did he look at his balding head and re-imagine a full set of hair? Was he hiding a sleep crease behind the blue markings around his mouth?
I wondered if when the clown walked out of the bathroom, he would focus and be able to read those markings that seemed foreign to me. I giggled again, and it confused my boyfriend. He waited for me to say something, but instead I pulled out my phone and pulled out of the potential conversation.
Sometimes it’s hard to describe to people what makes you laugh. Sometimes, it’s hard to say, today just feels like a giant joke without a punchline.
Sometimes it takes too much damn energy to explain crazy. It’s better just to live it.