Toothdust by Stina Trollbäck

You’re walking. Got that? Okay, so you’re walking quite briskly. Your feet are sparking and you feel the blood circling around your fingertips. Or maybe receding back into your palms. You ball up your hands and raise your shoulders. Your nose feels like it’s just as red as the scarf you wear everyday in the winter. .

You’re following, I hope? You’re hearing thumps in your ears from your frozen over earbuds. Bass penetrates and floods through your body and alters your step. You keep walking and you’re walking with purpose. You’re going home and you’re walking the streets you know so well that you step over every crack without looking down.

Your knee is itching. Or stinging. It’s hard for you to tell. Your hair is sticking to your neck and your chin and you’re wondering whether static electricity is picked up or created and you don’t understand the complexity of its function. You’re moving along quickly and your eyes are on the clouds above you. There are only two big ones, but you’re remembering that your hair is just like the rest of the clouds. You have fluffy curls and you think they’re quite like clouds somehow.

But anyhow, you’re walking and you can’t help thinking that the water inside you should start freezing right now, and you picture yourself expanding because that’s what water does when its solid. And you don’t really know why you’re thinking these thoughts because you hate chemistry and you’re bad at it. You shake your head slightly and you laugh at yourself, but only for a split second because you start to realize that you just laughed at yourself in public and you think people are staring because you’re full of yourself and you can’t seem to realize that people don’t care what you’re doing and you’re not the most fantastic thing they’ve seen all day. And so that sinks in for a second. No. More than that, because then you start to wonder how you really look because your friend said you don’t look how you do in the mirror and you start to slowly feel your stomach churning while being frozen in space, stuck between the sloshing water inside you that isn’t nearly as frozen as you imagine it being. This spirals your thought to wondering whether your blue is her green and everything is just so perfectly in sync and opposite that it would somehow maybe work out. So then you picture yourself as having purple skin and realizing that maybe in some freakish way that could be normal for the man that just walked by. So normal that his line of eyesight barely scraped your face.

You start to breathe in smaller portions of air because your teeth are forming a coating of ice and the idea that you could be wrong about even inescapable facts and incidents of truth is irritating you. You’re escaping yourself and circling back to your ice-coated teeth and wondering if ice would keep your whites away from sugar and decay. And your feet keep thumping to the rushed beat of the bass and you’re cringing at the feeling of your thumb nail being too short and you wish it would grow out faster so you could keep living your life without uncomfortable nail lengths. And your socks are slipping down your feet.

They’re halfway now but you can’t stop to fix them because the lack of heat is crushing you, seemingly from the inside and you can’t keep walking to the beat of the bass and you’re suffocating in the frozen ice inside you that is closing up your trachea and you’re now thinking about how you know what a trachea is and wondering again why you’re thinking about science because you hate it and you’re bad at it. And you can’t breathe now and the oxygen already inside you is streaming slowly with your blood and your heart is slowing and you’re starting to cry out the ice that is melting off of your teeth and your teeth are disintegrating and you’re just crying because you know this is not how the body functions and blood shouldn’t keep flowing when you’re not breathing and you shouldn’t be able to stop breathing because of metaphysical things that aren’t happening and your ears shouldn’t be able to evaporate in the freezing cold or even evaporate at all because you’re real and this isn’t but it’s still making your knees swell and your heart shrivel and your lungs compress and spit out your own goddamn tooth dust.