My City Was Gone

It’s pretty outside today but my feet are cold. I left the door open earlier and it hasn’t warmed up. It’s me and the animals and the rest of the world on the other side of the balcony.

You ever wake up and remember that you went to sleep, but you did it in a bad way. You pulled your arm muscle, let’s say, and you woke up and it was gone? Today it was as if I woke up and the whole world was a pulled ligament.

I remember that time in Cleveland, with John Ray and the rest of the Rust Bucket Henchmen walking across the bridge and talking about e-commerce. That was a time in the nineties and the world could have been ours, but we were in Cleveland. John Ray’s girlfriend went to Clemson later and stopped being his girlfriend. John Ray got a job at a gym. He’s probably in good shape. I dreamed I saw him and his sister. I liked his sister a lot. She was older than he was and I was older than she was and I saw her in my dream I said, “Hey, I was sorry to hear about your father’s death.” We were in my parent’s kitchen.

I remember we went over to Cincinnati and pretended it was a big deal. I went to Hooter’s for the first time and it was even worse than I thought it would be. When I was a kid my grandmother would joke about going to Hooter’s. I always thought it was just a bar. I didn’t really have a good concept of what a bar was.

You ever wake up and start making your bed before you got out of it? You ever live your life in fear of what actually happened every day? You ever plan for every contingency? You ever design a cage for a rat? You crawl inside, and you think about things sometimes. It’s comfy sometimes when you’ve built it right, and maybe you can see the clouds on the back of your eyelids and your eyes get crusty after a while and you remember you went to sleep. You ever do that?

I remember pretending I would be there for John Ray, but I only liked his girlfriend and his sister, and he was a good guy too but I was only pretending. And then one day the whole city was gone.

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