The Paris Review

Freud Fainting

Seymour Chwast, Freud Had It (detail), 1970s.

Yesterday, inexplicably, I fainted. I was stepping off the subway and I collapsed onto the platform. I’d known it was going to happen for maybe a minute beforehand. I thought if I could just get to my stop, sit down, and get some fresh air, I’d be okay. But as soon as the doors closed at the stop before mine, I knew it was unstoppable—I crossed the threshold from “might happen” to “will happen.” A grayness clouded my vision. I made eye contact with a woman and absently wondered if I should tell her I was about to faint, if she could read it on my face.

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