This is very much intended to be listened to, rather than read, so please listen along here while you're reading!
I feel myself cringe anytime I am referred to - veins withering inwards like birch bark in a bonfire. It pains me to be perceived, to know other people know I exist - it is uncomfortable enough when that is just a secret between myself and I.
It would be so simple, I think, to leave the fire at midnight, take a backpack and go. Pack a juice box for the road and a crumpled twenty dollar bill for life and then be gone. Just leave the mystery of a half-eaten s'more in my wake. And there is no snow on the ground so I cannot be traced by my footsteps - the sound of them as they clatter against the street. I could be traced by my tears as they leak off of my face and dry into the sidewalk like a stain, but I know by the time anyone thinks to look, they will have evaporated in the daylight.
I could just run and run and run until my lungs ache and my rib cage creaks and my skin smolders. I could be an angel under the streetlamps and fly away from all of this. Fly away from myself, if I could just grow a pair of wings. I don't want a pair of wings - that feels like too much responsibility - but anything to be gone from myself. I think I could run away to the Atlantic. Swim across the ocean. Discover my doppelganger in Europe. I think we could trade lives. They might like my life more than I like mine and I would like theirs simply because it is not mine and it is not me. I need to adopt someone else's personality, fold it into my own like kneading dough. I could be god or a baker, just for a little.
Maybe my doppelganger is a baker. I could make croissants in Paris. Eat Nutella straight from the knife. I could climb the Eiffel tower and then maybe I'd fly, maybe I'd grow wings and stretch into someone else's body, until the way my skin rubs against my bones no longer feels so foreign.
Or maybe I would drown in the Atlantic and maybe that's another way of flying away from myself. Or I would not get further than to the end of the street before I would look back and see the edges of my house slumping into the skyline and I would think: I will be there tomorrow. And I would realize, this is not something that is escapable. I would walk back home, picking up my footsteps where I left them behind in the creases of the road and the skid marks burned into sharp turns. My footsteps waited for me. They knew I would be back.