is the great unifier. at times it deserts us in the desert, leaving us to wander from oasis to oasis with creaking, half-lidded eyes. at other times, we find ourselves unable—unwilling, even—to distinguish dreams from reality. our dreams taste like cotton candy, overwhelmingly soft and sweet and fleeting. we want to brush our teeth four times a day—once in the morning, once at night, once in the dream-morning, and once at dream-night. we possess two subscriptions of the same newspaper, two identical best friends with the same unutterable penchant for brussel sprouts, two cats with the same tortoiseshell pattern dappled across the tutting tips of their tails. we possess two universes, and yet the great unifier only allows us to become well-versed in one—
so we cut and snip. we decide on a mistress and we decide on a wife. we trim and trip. we leave the mistress on a ship bound for the bottom of the sea and are initiated into the cult of cubicle. occasionally a message in a bottle washes up on the beach. themermaidshaveadoptedme, the mistress explains. andloveis—we give the bottle to the wife and mull things over with the help of Anheuser-Busch, almost convincing ourselves that we could live in just this one universe forever because putting our hands up in the middle of the road is simpler, isn't it?
Stephanie Guo's work has appeared in Hanging Loose, Adroit Journal, and Mad Rush. She is seventeen and lives in San Diego, California.