It's like I'm standing in front of a mirror just before it happens. The mirror flexes and shifts and distorts my face. My nostrils get big and my eyes get small. My chest feels tight. And then the mirror explodes and I'm released.
And here I am standing in front of a bus stop, still in my paper booties from the last time I was hospitalized and a little kid is staring at me, looking up with its fingers shoved in its mouth sucking. And the mother, fat and ill dressed doesn't notice because she's just yakking on the phone. And we're all waiting in a light drizzle and the rain drops feel like nails being driven into my head and the humidity is pressing in, and the mirror starts to form in front of me. I want it to go, and I close my eyes but it's still there and it wraps around me and I guess I piss myself because the kid is chattering and I can feel warm on my legs and I can smell the ammonia, and the mirror flexes, and then I shatter.
I'm up in the air, with my legs stretching down and still touching my marionette self, the minor me down on the ground, and then my feet snap up into me, the major me, and I rocket up through the rain clouds and I see sunlight.
And it's beautiful. I feel free. I forget about minor me for a moment and just enjoy the float and the crisp blue and the curve of the earth and the popcornish clouds that dot the horizon. And above is the great vast blackness punctuated with the blinding star our Sun. I turn to feel her heat on my face. I can see the contrails of far away planes, which never come near me for some reason. I wonder about the people in the planes as I continue to rise up, and I see the moon rise as I get higher and higher.
But I know it's not responsible to just leave minor me behind, stumbling around frightening people and getting himself into unknown dangers, and I am entangled with him, whether I like it or not. I don't know if he dies then maybe I die too? I don't know.
And when I think about that my chest starts to feel tight again and there is wind chafing my skin. A tiny ball of mercury comes out of my nose and I wipe it away and it floats as a perfect sphere right in front of my eyes. It grows bigger and I can see my reflection in it, my nose enormous. It scares me and I try to butterfly stroke away, keeping my eye on it, but it only grows more rapidly. And then it spreads out and envelopes me and I can't get away because I'm trapped within the sphere. And it gets smaller. It presses in and there is no more air and I can't breathe. The mercury flows around and touches every inch of my skin.
"Where are you?" I can hear minor me say. "Can you hear me?" he asks.
"Leave me alone!" I shout. I hear crying. I hear the bus stop and the ramp beeping and lowering. "GO AWAY!!" I scream.
"No, no!" says minor me. "I need you, come back!"
"No," I plead. "Not this time! I don't want to be solid!"
The mercury seeps into my skin and it weighs me down. I can't see what's around me anymore, I can only see my skin and my insides, but I know I'm falling. I thud hard into minor me, and I can feel my fingers and toes again. I'm back inside the marionette, but still feel a bit paralyzed. Minor me falls off the curb and into the street. I try to move my arms but they just twitch. A car comes and it's driver doesn't see me. The car crushes the marionette's head and minor me is finally silent. No more stuttering and chattering.
My head feels wet and it's very dark. I can hear sirens and people talking in hushed tones. I stand up but I can't stand. I can feel people moving around below me. I can feel their bodies. I can press through them like they are stretched taffy. I can see blotches of color now. The sounds of the people and the sirens are starting to fade away and get lower. I rise up. I try to find the clouds again.