The Seizure Realm
by Abbey Jasmine Watt
Editor's note: 'The Seizure Realm' was the third piece published in our Tan Lines series in Summer 2017. The series also includes 'A midsummer night's heat' by Sabrina Sanchez and 'roots' by Amelia Stanford.
Kayvon was a 23-year-old adult who still hung out with high school kids. His brain was fried from years of Xanax and psychedelic abuse, and as a result, he had a tendency to repeat the same story he just told five minutes ago, with (remarkably) the same exact intonation.
He had a tattoo on the inside of his bottom lip that read "trippy", which he enjoyed showing to people.
He lived in a 2 bedroom house in my ex-boyfriend's neighborhood with another young man named Bobby G. (the G wasn't a real initial, it stood for "gangsta"), and owned a few large guns that he showed me one time, for "defense purposes". About a year after I moved away, the house would be raided by police, tipped off by neighbors suspicious of an unending parade of cars in that driveway, and we would never hear from Kayvon or Bobby G. again.
During our high school years, because of his proximity to school and his proclivity towards giving away free drugs to pretty girls, he became our favorite dealer. He would text us "Blue Dream" or "Sour Diesel" and we would go to his house, avoid eye contact with the angry looking dad watering the lawn across the street, knock on the door, and step into a drab, gray, beer-can-littered living room. He would open a safe, take out a scale, and put our little treats in a baggie.
I would fumble in my purse for a moment like I was looking for money, and he would say, "Don't worry about it, ladies. This one is on me. Issall good."
"Aww! Thanks, Kayvon."
One time, I noticed the absence of a lumpish presence. "Hey, where's Bobby G?"
His face pale, Kayvon shut the safe, slowly walked over to the once-white couch, and sat, shaking his head. "Craziest shit, man. Scariest shit. Bobby G. had a seizure. Xanax and vodka. He's at his ma's house."
Alexander was my best friend and, though I didn't know it at the time, my future husband. The summer before college, he made some extra money running our friend's mom's boutique while she was away on vacation, so of course we used the store as a smoking den during the closed-hours.
We took my car, picked up Kayvon, who was "stranded at McDonald's", bought a sack of green from him, and invited him to smoke it with us back at the empty boutique.
We went into the loading dock, opened the back door to a view of a scorching-hot strip mall parking lot, and took several bong rips, laughing at nothing and everything.
It was the middle of the afternoon on a Sunday in July, and the Tennessee sun was harsh. The temperature was probably 104. I had not eaten or slept since the day before, stressed because I was fighting with my ex-boyfriend. I did not hydrate that day, it slipped my mind.
Common seizure triggers: overheating, poor nutrition, lack of sleep, stress, dehydration, mind-altering substances.
Staring at the hot concrete,
I feel faint.
My head hurts.
Waves of heat take on a hot pink color,
the color of vibrance
Rising high from the ground, wrapping the nearby dumpsters in a smothering hug,
lifting the sick-fish scent from the dumpsters up with them,
traveling into the sky,
back to the sun, then to the ground,
back and forth,
no wind, only heat.
The pink waves hit me in the chest
encircling my head in an uncertain cloud of fuzz.
I know this feeling.
The inside of my head goes electric,
then darkly quiet, with a low, loud hum.
I turn my head to warn Alexander of the impending fall
his head is shrouded in a blue light
Kayvon's is a cloudy orange
a dark aura floats between all of us.
I see they are laughing together, loud,
but I cannot hear them in my mind,
which attacks and defends itself.
In an instant, I sit down on the floor, lean against a locker and everything else is closed out.
All I can do is sense.
The shapes of their bodies are
moving in frames
I hear far away sounds of fear in their echoing voices.
Kayvon's shape claps its hands in my face to try to wake me.
I muster a lucid thought: "That's annoying."
He doesn't know any better. Nothing he does will make it stop.
I begin to see clarity through the dissipating haze. Yes, this is the world I live in.
I can speak.
His face was the first thing I saw, looking me in the eyes.
Horrified, Kayvon unfroze and spun with his hands on his head, "Yo, what the fuck was THAT?"
Alexander said, "I think you had a seizure."
I said, "I think you're right."
Our resident expert Kayvon chimed in. "Naw, man, I saw Bobby G. have a seizure and it didn't look like that. You fainted with your eyes open."
"They're called petit mal seizures," I answered. "They are... smaller than the kind he had."
"Wow. It was like you went retarded. That was scary."
"Yes." They stared at me like I was some sort of alien. "Well. I need to sleep now."
Alexander grabbed my arms, lifted me up and helped me walk to a couch in the boutique.
"Annie, when's the last time you had... one of those?"
"I was fourteen and walking through a movie theatre parking lot. It happened, and I forced myself to keep moving my feet as it was happening until we got across the lot. Then I sat down and let it finish. Two years later, they did tests on my brain to see if I could drive and said that I had somehow become immune to the disorder, because my brain was showing seizure activity even while I was sitting up and talking to them coherently."
He knelt down next to me and pushed my sweaty hair behind my ears.
"Alex, I need you to get me some food and water."
"There's pop tarts and koolaid in the employee fridge."
"No, I need real food. Please take my car, drive Kayvon home and bring me real food. I will be resting on this couch."
"Okay.. should you call into Applebee's and cancel work?"
"I can't cancel 3 hours before I have to go in."
"But this is a medical emergency--"
"If I don't go to work, I have to tell my folks I had a seizure, which will worry them about whether or not I can survive college on my own. They will not want me to go."
Alexander squeezed my hand. "Okay."
I woke up to see him holding a Chik fil A bag and a large water. He brought it over to me and watched me eat.
As I finished my water, I had a thought.
"I am glad it was you who saw that."
His green eyes widened and he nodded. "Me, too."
"Now you know."
And we laughed for a long, long time.
Thumbnail Image by Blake Brown