Dance music. Little girls shrieking, running, spinning, sliding in stocking feet. I squint and tighten my face against it.
A woman speaks to me. I tuck the grimace into my purse but it catches in the zipper. I fumble. I answer.
She can't hear me. I lean closer, grateful at least for the chair under me. I never know how to stand, what to do with my arms. Now our faces are three inches apart. I swallow the bad taste in my mouth but it sticks to my tongue and when I talk I see my breath singeing the air, curls of smoke, black. I wish I had a mint. Gum. Something. My throat blisters and peels.
Sound vibrates in my chest but the air eats my words and I don't know what I'm saying. She smiles and nods.