On Buttons


“What’s wrong today?”

“I’m sad.”

“About what?”

“About everything. About the inconsistent weather that rains of bipolarity, about the stray cats living outside our doorstep that we never feed, about the scarves I wear on warm summer days –”

She cuts me off.
“What use is it being sad about these inconsequential things?”

“What use is it being neutral towards them?”

“What else are you sad about?”

“Ignorance and petty misunderstandings. Torn shoelaces on new sneakers. Broken eyelashes that cling to your cheeks. Rolled up sleeves and too-short jeans, long jackets and polka-dotted dresses. Fringed hair that hides Michael’s eyes so I can’t tell what he’s thinking. Chipped nailpolish and cheap hotel signs, blinking with faulty efficacy. No one caring. No one caring about the broken-in soles of white flip-flops on the beach and the sand between Grandma’s toes. Why does no one care?”

“Why do you care so much?”

“The world is collapsing around my neck and suddenly I can’t breathe.”

“You mean your shoulders?”

“No… I mean my neck, what’s connecting my mind to my body. The bridge is severed there and neurons fire preoccupation, neon store lights and lost pawn shops. I tell myself I don’t care but the world tightens its grip around my neck and suddenly everything is in bright, vivid color again, reflecting off of cheekbones and materializing in dreams.”

“But if it’s only a dream…”

“What will you do when the subconscious becomes the button on your sleeve; what will you do when gravity tears it off and you can’t find a replacement in a small plastic ziplock bag, no string in the package and no button in sight?”


“You’ll sew these materialized dreams back together, you’ll scribble nonsensical verses and stage cues, but all the world’s a stage and your buttons are the actors and you’ll know the lines but won’t know the emotion to act them out.”

“Why are you so contradictory… stop…”

“Contradictions do not exist. A is A. It’s as simple as that, but when you put your hat on backwards B becomes A and life isn’t so clear anymore, with your bill facing backwards and your eyes facing the front.”