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At this height I feel sublime, like I’m floating above a snow globe lighting up the plot with my big stupid face. But I am not in the mood to take a photo. I want to hurl. Though I will be stay still and smile so I can Saran wrap this moment for later.
You can see the whole town at the top of Hallgrímskirkja. Up here in this monumental tube, you can marvel at the completed set of Reykjavík 101. Which I do, between begging to be squashed and squeezed out in a smooth paste straight into oblivion, do not pass Go.
When it’s this chilly there is nothing to smell. There is a vague quality of being thin, sharp, and unforgiving. Like a single mom police inspector on the hot trail of a cold case. I try a bit of spotting in the distance to keep from unraveling. I lock onto Cafe Loki, sitting blissfully in the prime corner spot down the street, its pale yellow shell not so much screaming for attention but clearing its throat. I would love nothing more than fly there to get a latte and a lobotomy.
The airline said they still don’t know where my luggage is, but they’re working on it. They do not realize that tucked away in my precious cargo carrying approximately 20 pounds of cardigans, beneath the hair iron and falsies is a neoprene pencil bag encasing a bottle of generic Zoloft, and within those lily white tablets, my peace of mind.
The withdrawal was immediate. I was expecting it to hit, but I’m still pissed off. The fact that 50 mg of anything could have such a colossal effect on my entire being is outrageous. That I wouldn’t also be able to still look simple yet striking on this photo tour is the other blow. I had imagined this moment in Italian lace, not my mother’s clothes like I’m going to buy bulk salad.
Speaking of my mother, she won’t stop scowling at me every time I forget to act natural. It is impossible for me to relate that this has absolutely nothing to do with her soon-to-be new husband who took us on this trip in the first place to get me on board with the program. Nothing at all. After waterfall #1, we hit waterfall #2 and then we go as far as a giant body of water that stays on the ground the whole time. On the way back I run up to a horse and pretend to give it a kiss and the resulting shot my never-father takes really is the best photo of me ever taken that I think it must be fate for the two of them to find each other. For dinner I have the horse steak.
Alone in my hotel room it’s just me, myself and my nausea. It’s 10pm but it looks like afternoon delight outside. I put a hand down my mother’s thermal leggings to sooth myself. It’s not entirely loveless. I know how to me faire chouchouter, you know, chipped Chanel nail polish and all. I imagine I get a call from the reception desk.
I’ve been watching you.
Oh? That’s a gross invasion of my privacy.
Actually, if you read the fine print of the Terms and Conditions of your rental, you’ll see it’s all kosher.
I turn over on my belly and I start to ride the crests of my knuckles.
Why don’t you tell me something more interesting, big boy.
Björk goes to my hot spring.
And then he is dry-railing me on the bed in his tweed pants. For a devoted employee, he is rather reckless about the damage the headboard is doing on the wall.
I’m close. Say it.
I don’t want to.
Oh please, I came all the way to Iceland.
It’s not a party trick.
Switching the channel to watch him fuck the brains out of a local sends me over the edge. When I finish, I look out the window and see the hot hotel girls stalk away with their long legs and long hair to their main event. The tag of my rice toasted matcha once told me the sincere belief that life actually happens when we’re not looking and I really haven’t been settled since.
“I think I’m depressed,” I said out loud for the first time to the campus nurse practitioner who practically throws me the pills on the way out. I was tired of crying. I was watching X-Factor auditions hours at a time, utterly exhausted from being moved by human achievement. I thought I was doing something brave and unprecedented by asking for a little help as I lay dying of thirst. And then I find out that water is all around me.
At waterfall #3, I can’t hear anything. I can’t move my face either at this wind speed. I am pure feeling. I love when nature externalizes my insides. If I take the plunge now and get swallowed whole on my way down to the floor, I’d hope my eyes stay open.
About Lisa Deng
Lisa is a multi-disciplinary clown based in LA where she enjoys collecting languages.