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My Favorite Word Is “Snout”


Rebecca Gonshak


’m excited to get back to where I can have parents again. I’m lying face down under a blanket. I remember really liking blankets once. Maybe I’ll like blankets again someday. My mind drifts as I remember all the things I used to like. My body. Netflix. Sloths’ faces, which look like the Tinder profile pics of an earnest nineteen-year-old who is not looking for a hook-up. I never really liked the man, but I try to reassure him, show him I’m not having a “bad trip” after all. My thoughts occasionally steer towards DEATH, but only for a second, and then something wise in me returns to interconnectedness and wonder and love.

An hour ago I destroyed everything, but really only a beaded necklace that chose tonight, after  ten years, to snap and scatter. Mollusk John has a rabbit named Fibonacci. There are big knives on the kitchen table. I thought I was a very dangerous person.

I drove to Macomb, Illinois to spend the weekend with a biology grad student who I call him Mollusk John because he studies those, and there are too many “Johns” in the world. He insists he is not a nice person, but he’s always nice to me. Unfortunately he overuses the word “belligerent” to describe things that are not warlike, and he has a pebble-sized lump on his back that I never ask about and fear touching.

I think I know what it will be like. Another man, who I also met on OkCupid, grew psilocybin from a kit he ordered off the Internet. We gulped it down with lemon juice, which he read works as a catalyst. It felt like swallowing someone else’s vomit, but I didn’t think of that until after.

He lay on top of me and kissed me, and with my eyes closed I saw brown and green and thought he was a jungle man painted in muddy leaves. But I didn’t really think that. It was just in my imagination.

This time we chop it up and put it in peanut butter sandwiches. He says he won’t give me a full eighth since I’m new to shrooms and all drugs, but I say, “Give me what you’re taking.” I know I like to tingle with white wine; I know pot “worked” for me at least once, and I don’t know much else. I’m a little nervous, but only about the taste.

“Atoms, Motion, and the Void” is a British podcast, but I will never be able to tell you what it is about, except that it is very scary.  

Suddenly it hits me. I see beautiful colors and patterns. Whatever I want to see is in front of my eyes. I want to be inside a beehive, and I am, a dome of dripping gold, bees drifting from pocket to pocket. My body…is a big ship. And like the beehive it is broken into thousands of compartments, and the compartments are full of people.

I do not imagine I am a ship. I am a ship, and I am a girl’s body. But the people, I think, are not real because I’m not afraid of crushing them.

Ego-loss is the word, but I’ve never heard it. It’s the biggest secret revealed. I am not a woman. I am not an American. I am not in the twenty-first century. I am not confined to my body. I do not belong to my parents, and they do not belong to me. Nothing belongs to me, and everything is mine.

I get up to pee.  

I come back and sink onto the living room floor. He laughs at me, and I laugh too. It’s beyond words, but I search for them anyway. I never knew it was possible to not be yourself. I didn’t know that was something I wanted.

I tell Mollusk John I need a glass of water. I take a drink but it pours out of my mouth. I can’t remember how to drink water.

I am dehydrated. If I can’t drink water, I will die. I took a serious drug, and I didn’t know what Serious meant, and I didn’t know what death was, and now I do.

I’m twenty-one-years-old. I don’t want to die. I’m just a child.

You’re not going to die. He is trying to be a parent, but I never belonged to him, even when I could belong to people, and he is on drugs too, and he has gone down a dark path of drugs and unlove ever since he was a teenager. But I have been loved, and I am still a child, and now I will never get to be a woman.

My only hope is to throw up, but nothing comes out except spit. We’re all going to die, but I’m only scared because I am. I am still everything, but that isn’t enough. I want to be something. When I’m no longer something, I’ll be everything, but that will be the same as being nothing.

I make Fibonacci anxious. I see the big knives on the table, so I crouch down on the kitchen floor and grope for the objects around me. There’s a bread maker on the floor. I say that is absurd. Blue plastic beads scatter.

Mollusk John is like a parent. He leads me to the couch and covers me in a blanket. You have to calm down.

I am the same person I have always been, and I’m totally new. I am so grateful to the man. I know now I will always be a child, and I will always be loved. I am a donut,

I tell him. I know it may seem silly, but I never want to forget that I am a donut.

There’s about an hour left, and I’m drifting in and out of John’s living room. It’s like the last week of an overseas trip. I list the friends I can’t wait to see again. Kristin, Teresa, Anna, Yvonne. I’m excited to eat my favorite foods. But more than anything, I’m glad I will have a mother. I think I will tell her about this someday.

The world is so beautiful. There is language. I only know one, which is a shame, but the English language is so full and flexible it would be enough all on its own. But there’s more even than language. There are dogs! With fuzzy, nuzzling snouts! God, who came up with the word “snout?” What could be better than its silly serious sound! When I say it, I bounce a little, like I’ve been pinched by a dog snout.

Quiz question:

Which of the following is true?

Mollusk John has a snail named Fibonacci

Mollusk John has a snail named Fibonacci

Mollusk John has a rabbit named Fibonacci

Mollusk John has a rabbit named Fibonacci

Mollusk Fibonacci has a snail named John

Mollusk Fibonacci has a snail named John

Fibonacci has a Mollusk named John

Fibonacci has a Mollusk named John

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Issue 9


September 22, 2017

My Favorite Word Is “Snout” was written by Rebecca Gonshak, who is an MFA candidate and exploited freshman English instructor in Spokane, Washington. You would be surprised how shy she is in person. Swipe her right on Tinder.

i dont feel like fininishing this website right now and i am sorry

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Issue 9

This writing was originally published in Opium Magazine, and is not listed in the archives.
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