A day.

“At times I wonder if you can feel me staring at you.”
“That’s a strange thing to admit to.”
“What?”
“Staring. I mean. At me. And admitting to it.”
“Oh. Well. Do you notice?”

There’s a long heavy pause that hangs in the air, right in the space between our heads. I stare directly at my feet. He stares directly ahead of him. We don’t make eye contact. I’m not sure we ever do. Even in different situation, different places. It’s all the same anyway. We can’t look at each other at the same time. It’s just too much. So we stare at anything else until its safe. Pathetic. So pathetic it induces a desire to grind your teeth until they’re gone or pick at the skin around your nails until you bleed out. It’s enough.

“Of course I fucking notice.”
“Hmmm.”

Some sick satisfaction. Inhale smoke. Exhale. There’s a lack of caring. I wanted him to notice me staring so he knew that I didn’t care that he noticed. A broken head is what lays dumbly on the stump between my shoulders. A dumb, dumb broken goddamn head. Inside of it on the messy blackboard I give a tally mark to the column under my name. Point one for moi. I’m winning the game no one else knew we were playing.

Eff Ehm Ehl.

“It’s cold. It’s not just cold outside but it’s cold inside. My skin is cold. Every inch of it. I’m currently buried beneath a pile of blankets and im trying really hard to pretend that I’m not actually me. Under all of this heavy fucking cloth I am trying my damnedest to believe that I am a sentient being that represents all of the guilt that real me carries around all day every day.”

Annie is kind of an interesting girl and we are kind of an interesting situation. I don’t know how else to categorize us. She calls me on my cell phone a lot but it’s never followed up with any sort of sexual intercourse or even sad, pity cuddling. Not even once. But she always calls me. I’m always that first person on her list of who to bitch to, who to sing to, who to read her short stories to, who to cry to, and who to fall asleep next to without being next to them. Listening to someone cry themselves to sleep then slowly work into a snore that rolls like the engine of a speeding train- its somehow one of the most sad and annoying things to be exposed to all at once.

“Like princess and the pea. Do you remember that children’s book? If I have it correct the princess could feel a pea, the tiny green vegetable, through what one would assume were super comfortable mattresses. I am the pea. I am the guilt. I am burying myself in a million blankets. There aren’t enough in the world… Is it not just so fucking cold right now?”

Beyond the end of her receiver I can hear rustling and then a slam that indicates her shutting her bedroom window. I imagine her chain smoking sadly from beneath a hazardous amount of sheets, comforters, and quilts. Ash everywhere but where it was meant to go. I bet she lights each one 65% blind due to everything going on around her. The apartment cat had probably made its home at the top of all of them, curled up happily while her owner nearly weeps beneath her.

“I have never once in my life been any good at the first month of the year. The snow makes for difficult driving conditions and terrain. The temperature very rarely reaches anything above terribly uncomfortable. During the day while you’re working things warm up just to get miserable once you meet up with the outside world again. During that time things melt but just enough to freeze over so by the time your foot hits pavement you’re probably going to slip. I would anyway. I do. I fucking hate January.”

She sighs softly into her telephone and her lashes probably flutter against her cheeks softly before resting there, shut. She used to do this when she vented anyway. She used to talk for hours with closed eyes and I always told myself it was because she trusted me not to go. And I never did. I never had any desire to. Which is probably why I ended up slowly getting pushed away over time. I know she keeps me around just for these moments where no one else will do.

“Plus I do this dumb thing where I tell myself that every year will be different, better, clearer than the previous one that can certainly go eat a bag of dicks. Rabble rabble angst bullshit. It’s not times fault that I’m a miserable cunt. I’m a miserable cunt for the sake of being a miserable cunt and that’s all there is to it. No fault, no blame. We can blame it on the long winters if a scapegoat is honestly needed. But Time has never done anything to me except exist and attempt to coexist with people that want to change it or take it back. I get it Time. You and me? We’re cool.”

I sigh at this point. I’m trying very hard to care and I don’t know… Normally I would. Normally I do and I want to. But she’s right it is cold. And I’m miserable too. She catches this in the small puff of air I let go of and hurries on with whatever it is she needs to get out. I don’t know why but whenever there’s that weird fast forward feeling to her words I have to think of How I Met Your Mother. An excellent show with an excellent episode where Lilly can tell when Ted is lying. Because she can tell, due to Ted doing something that gives him away, he reminds her of her childhood dog who would shit in her home. The dog would give her this look when she got home and she would just know that the smelly deed had been done. So, she began asking Ted where the poop was whenever he got that look on his dumb face.

Where’s the poop Annie? You’ve had me on the phone for twenty five minutes now. Where in the fuck is the poop?

“It’s me that I have the problem with. Nothing new there. Did I ever tell you about how I cheated on my boyfriend last January? What a nightmare. I try to blame the snow and cold for that too. Everything bad just seems to come with winter yanno? It’s exhausting and seems to be the second longest thing in the world next to only death. I’m sorry, was that dark?”

Oh, there it is. Ding, ding, ding.

It takes so much out of me not to sigh again. I don’t care that she was dark. If the mentions of death are dark then my nickname should be something queer like Midnight. She was not at all that dark. She just wants to be. She wants to be depressed. She wants to be sad and brooding, but she’s not. She wants to be miserable and creative but she isn’t. She wants an interesting life but as time goes on I think we’re both starting to notice that she doesn’t have one.

“I’ve been trying to be a little less gloomy but it’s been a real trying task. I’m a happy person and all but sometimes I think I don’t know how to show it. Or if I do know how to show it, it becomes uninspired and familiar. Perhaps even predictable. And no one likes that. But anyway how have you been then?”

Another sigh slips past my lips and I rub the space between my eyes with the pad of my thumb. What is there even to say? If her life is boring then my own is painfully despicable. She had her drama to feed on at the very least. All I have is her and she’s not getting any more interesting. Any more exciting. Any more inspiring.

“I’ve been… okay,” I start slow as to not snowball in the same fashion she just had. I could complain for the next half hour as well. I could talk about how upset I’ve been and also how happy I’ve been to be her best friend the last few months. Even if that means just through shitty cellphone conversations and then specifically just through cellphone conversations. It’s good and bad and annoying. Yet I keep on clinging.

Annie and I used to be real best friends but her boyfriend didn’t like that so naturally she went the way of her fuck stick and found other uses for me than pizza hut lunches and punk shows. Since her boyfriend was super insecure she never left the house so a friend that could sit on the phone with her for hours on end was perfect. And who better than someone who was already biased and oh, perhaps once in a great while- in love with the thought of her?

I am the perfect friend. That’s why even though Annie feels guilt right now, she does not feel guilt for fucking two guys that weren’t me and telling me about them. Or one of them. The other is that good, no brainer fucking because her boyfriend seems like he’s not good at much of anything else.

In high school we dated for a bit but it was short and kind of waded back and forth from hot as fuck to not worth the seven bucks you paid for the show. We would have fun going here and there and supporting one another but she was always so bothered by my lack of interest in sex 75% of the time that she didn’t know how to be happy with me. I always suggested to her to be a depressed creative mind then try and get the dick she doesn’t even have yet hard. I’d rather chain smoke and not be alone in my sadness.

Funny how those tables seemed to have turned a little bit there. I can hear her opening her window before lighting another cigarette like Margo from The Royal Tenenbaums. Minus the glamorous fur coats and cute haircut.

“I’ve been working quite a bit and just trying to keep myself busy… You cheated on him?”

It hadn’t even registered at first what earth shattering information this was. If she was willing to cheat on the douche that told her not to see me anymore, maybe she would be willing to finally go get a fucking slice of pizza. Though even after that I’m sure she never told him, never got caught. I’m probably the only one that even fucking knows. Goddamn.

“Yes. I did. I’m not even sure why. He’s a really great guy. I know you don’t necessarily think so nor will you ever but if you could trust me on that- he really is just… Just the greatest guy yanno?”

And without missing a beat, I have her cornered. Trapped like that writhing fly she truly is. If I had silk to wrap her in I would. I’m just not sure if I mean that in a weird fetishy way or an angry kill-y way. Why did she have to be so attractive and smart and funny yet also dumb as a bag of dirt? “You don’t know if you love him anymore.”

She scoffs, “of course I do… I think.”

I decide to go with the kill-y way and start slowly wrapping her and her couch with her phone receiver in hand. I mentally wrap her up from head to toe and simply throw her in some dumpster before I realize she’s talking. I would be worried about missing something important if I didnt already know everything coming out of her mouth was useless babble.

“Annie are you telling me this because you miss me orrr… I really don’t understand why you’re doing this.”
“Neither do I.”
“Well.”
“Do you want to come over?”

Then again, maybe she was the spider. Always so sure of herself. I’ll take what I can get when I actually want it.

A day at the races

Some time ago
There was a boy
Who liked to bet
On the same tired horse
And when said horse
Could no longer perform
The boy beat the horse
Well passed doornail dead

People say insanity
Is doing the same thing
Whilst expecting different results
Well, I’m not quite sure
What that was but
Id say it wasn’t too far off

“I tell you this because as an artist I think you’ll understand.”

The fog was thick last night, it rolled in heavy and laid over southern New Hampshire like a wool blanket. It made me itch the same way. I used to think I hated driving in the snow and the rain. Turns out I just dislike driving in said weather and truly hate traversing the highways of my state while fog is a variable. Fuck fog. Driving up route three, I followed the car in front of me as if it were the small vehicle on a GPS app. Leading me. Guiding me. To my right and left, nothing but thick white. In front of me a set of headlights danced.

What’s eerie about fog and what doesn’t exist with other weather is the call. There’s something extremely dark and depressing about driving in what I can only describe as a tunnel of nothing. Eventually a ditch feels a bit more welcoming than the road. As we approached the toll booth I could have been anywhere. The lights that normally signalled to drivers that they were nearing the states approved panhandlers weren’t visible until I was all but on top of them. It’d be so easy to really fuck up.

After thirty minutes of fog I began to feel very lonely, even with Aj in the passengers seat- that shit, it has a way of making you think things you wouldn’t normally conjure up. Like what if while I’m doing sixty five in this fifty five, a deer were to spring out? I wouldn’t even see it coming. Or a car that was having issues. Or a person crossing the highway back to their car issues. Everything just splattered across pavement like some never before seen or sold Van Gough. Beautiful. Magnificent.

Or the worst one I think, probably, would have to be the thought of how a highway densely layered in fog kind of just feels like life. Like how you’re waiting for the end to come so for the first time in x-amount of too many years you can finally see and feel something different. Even if that different is just black, a void. It’s something.

Bahumbug

From my bedroom window I can see the neighbors house that’s set on the corner of my street. Laying on my side, my entire body feels as though it’s become one with my mattress. My childhood mattress at that. The floral pattern  wanting so badly to eat me whole… Outside its raining as the Christmas lights in my neighbors windows twinkle through the downpour. Their mud room has six thin windows all in a row and each window has one of those fake candles in them. Six thin windows, six little plastic candles, six tiny fake flames.

My vantage point from here on the shitty floral print mattress, the tiny electrical faux-flames, they wink at me. They say, Hello creep across the street. Hello weird onlooker, window peeper I see you there. And I smile. Hello shitty decorations meant for a consumerists fake holiday. Hello tacky light show. They wink. We both have each other figured out. On the same page, if you will.

Red. Blue. Green. Red. Blue. Green. Over and over and over. Slowly folding into each other. Each fake candle changing all at different speeds and its at this time that I notice the son of the woman that owns the whole building is getting into his truck to leave for his job. Across the sea of blankets the alarm on a phone sounds and I realize that I’ve been watching these lights for far too long.

Isn’t that a wonderful example of what Christmas truly is? A good distraction from the important things at hand? I hit the snooze button and continue my visual conversation. My important things can wait longer.