I felt jealousy pass through my body like an opossum racing through the back alley connecting the row of houses to which I belong.

Ego is an unfair enemy. But like the word diet, it has been over designed. These are words that are supposed to indicate a description of a system, but are now synecdoche for force.

I consider the ego tonight as I wake up from a 24 hour cold that flattened me, completely. I slept upwards of 12 hours during the day with a debilitating sore throat, headache, chapped lips, insatiable fatigue and thirst. It’s a simple cold virus, I’m sure of it, but feels like a necessary come down from too much psychological activity. I thought I was fine in this space—delirious and shiftless, drowsy but happy; kind of like the pleasant feeling of needing to sneeze once. An autumnal gesture. 

I would close my eyes and immediately start dreaming. In one dream, we are playing with a box of cigarettes and I keep imagining how the individual cigarettes have to be measured, how the packets are measured, how the carton is measured, all to serve particular consumers. The bodega, the duty free, the smoker, the quitter. Cigarettes must be measured by centimeters but I am convinced cartons are measured in inches. All inches describe are rectangles. In another dream, we are working quietly side by side facing different directions, until I occasionally remember we are the same person.

I felt jealousy pass through my body like an opossum racing through the back alley connecting the row of houses to which I belong. My admiration of your admiration in the passage of my ego, in an ecosystem that requires a hierarchy of beasts who scavenge for tender. I need to compost. If I could commit to the ecosystem that way, the opossum would stop scaring me, and perhaps find its natural home inside food I didn’t want anyway. 

Jealousy met with my spectacular imagination, powerful imagination, easily transforms into fantasy, conspiracy. And I watch it play out like a movie. Gabrielle and I just had a night chat in my back yard drinking hot and then warm and then cold water. She said to stare jealousy in the eye and I would find that it is just my ego taking advantage of fear of lack, but jealousy never appears where there is no reason. I am not jealous of cosmonauts or doctors. I am jealous of people who have what I have. Isn’t that something? This was profound for me to realize. 

The conversation about jealousy was not triggered by any specific incident, except that we were discussing the futility of a mind spinning in circles inventing dialogues and fantasies and conspiracies where there is not enough information to complete a story. A literal opossum passed through the back alley and I told her that’s what jealousy felt like in me. I would see it, be scared and then remembered it’s as scared as I am, has more to lose than me.

I have everything I need inside me, but do not know it, and when I see someone else with what I have, I remember how badly I want it. How do I remember not to forget what makes this all so memorable, so when I start missing it I do not resort to jealousy?

What happens when I catch an opossum in the act of tearing through my trash only to remember, again, that we are the same person. I may covet a kind of attention from you, but it’s just me looking in a mirror.