on automatic pilot

I smile and nod but all the info seem to be bouncing off, unable to penetrate the deep recesses of my consciousness. She says a strange word and briefly, very briefly my synapses flash and burn. I draw closer. What I asked her. What was the word again. She repeats it. What is it. Something to do with something, she explained. Oh. I sat back once again and sucked on my 14th cigarette. I reek of cigarette. I wonder how my lover is able to kiss me at night. She is telling me something about her life. I think of questions to ask but I can't seem to piece together some words to form a stupid sentence. In my mind I am looking at myself. Slouched on a seat made of bamboo. It has a rather coarse texture and I could feel my skin grazing the little fibers on the surface of the material. I think of tiny splinters being embedded on my arm. I wince a little. She is telling me something about her work. I see my face. A bit weathered. Pimples breaking all over my cheeks. My eyes are sunken. I look like someone who worries too much. And yes I do worry too much. When I was a child, I would ask myself if it is really me. If the child that I see in the mirror is actually me. I would pinch myself and wait until I could feel the pain. For some reason, I have always been out of it. I seem to be always in a dream-like state and after 30 years I am still waiting to wake up.

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