There was a chair in the corner facing the wall and I figured there was some meaning to it. “Look at that chair,” I said to my friend, well, I call him my friend but only for convenience sake. I knew him too well to be an acquaintance and cared for him too little to be a true friend.
But we all have those.
And my friend, an old man with long whiskers and garish green sunglasses said to me a most curious thing.
“I will not look,” he said. “I never look upon the dead.”
I am angry that we are not eating pie. I am viscerally fucking disgusted that we are not eating fucking pie. Who arranged this shit. Who can I direct my anger towards! The whole of life.
No, no, that’s ridiculous. I’m not angry about the pie. I am very, very sad about the pie. I am in the pit of despair about the whole of life and the possibility of the whole thing continuing for another day.
What can I tell you about anything? Expect everything. It’s all going to befall you and there won’t be a thing you can do about it. Stop making plans. You aren’t going anywhere this summer. Don’t be an idiot. Stay in bed and wait for death like a human being.
As for me I’ll stay in my chair, gnawing at the bedrock beneath the guilt and regrets of this decade. And there’s no use crying now, if you haven’t already started. There won’t be any pie in the great black void below the earth.
I was at home and sometimes I did this thing where I left the house but I never wanted to do that thing which was a kind of death and when my hair started to turn gray I was happy at first but it was all in one spot and looked weird so I realized I had forgotten what I had learned about life as a little kid which was nothing that you hadn’t heard before even though you never listened to anything.
Well it’s not going so bad, today. I think the key was taking a shower. I took like an hour long shower and shave and got dressed in actual clothes and suddenly I didn’t feel like I was fucking everything up. So simple.
On the other hand it’s dark now. It’s almost six. And now I am starting to feel like I should be drinking, fuck it, I earned it, at the same time I am thinking I didn’t do shit.
The cold facts are that I took a shower, shaved, folded laundry, called that old dude, deleted a hundred and fifty emails from my inbox (down to 800 now), read twenty pages of Les Miserables, checked my blog stats thirty times, listened to Marc Maron interviewing Ian Edwards for 90 minutes, listened to some news stories, washed the dishes, and completed the first exercise in John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction.
Well, I think that is pretty good for the first of two days off, the one where I’m not supposed to do anything, but I’m sure it’s not enough to fend off the crushing weight of responsibility that 9 o’clock will bring. I’m trying to view this shit objectively.
Well it’s going better than I thought it would. But then again, I make that pretty easy. Ha! That’s pretty much my strategy. I’m pretty sure when I die I’m going to be relieved. “I knew this was going to happen. Son of a bitch! Oh well.”
I am sitting next to my front door (on the inside of my apartment) on a gray rug that I stole from an absent minded somnambulist. I am sitting here drinking a beer that I don’t particularly like and I am thinking about what I did today. Only I’m not thinking of events because I can’t remember them well enough to make sense of them. Instead, I am thinking about this moment and what does it mean to be a man in Nautilus brand sweat pants two sizes too big with frayed bottoms drinking a beer in the dark at one in the morning while my wife sleeps and my good friend reposes on the love seat with his feet over the side and his breathing slow and shallow and that’s what makes me think he is asleep, too.
The reason I can’t think of the things I did today is that I am not the person who did those things. Maybe half my cells have died and been replaced since then. My mind certainly can’t process the past in a satisfactory way. It skews even the present, but not as viciously as it does the past. The memories I have now are only a representation of the person I’ve become since those memories allegedly occurred.
Anyway, it’s kind of nice here, now that I think about it. The beer is not tasty but it is alcoholic and oftentimes that’s what matters.
(Just now, by the way, I think someone built an entire jungle gym right outside of my door and then dropped it down the stairs. Either that or Charles Bronson is escaping this building’s stairwell using only a tin sledgehammer and a baby’s rattle.)
It’s nice here and besides I have had a nice day. I didn’t expect it to end this way, but that’s okay.
See my friend came to visit me and I had to work. So I was away for eight and a half hours and they were thinking of coming out after I got off. But then I texted them at midnight to say what’s up and got no reply. Then I walk into a dark apartment and so it goes.
A rolling tide of black clouds ferried the evening in among an austere graveyard.
Close to the gated entrance, a small stone decorated with freshly cut flowers watched over two men who bowed low to the hard earth, digging.
“All her life, striving.” Dennis tossed his words like so much dirt. “And hardly a proper burial.”
Patrick’s toothsome smile reflected cool moonlight. He took a rose from the arrangement. “We live and love, because she lived and loved.” He extended the flower to his brother.
Dennis accepted it and dropped it into the slowly opening grave at their feet. “The rose will wither before dawn. Our fate is the same.”
Patrick’s laugh, clear and delicate as fine crystal, echoed eerily off the faces of the proud stones, rising toward the heavens. He sunk his shovel into the loam. He tilted his shovel and watched the stuff accumulate along the mound. “Each stroke we make, even here, makes a difference.”
Dennis nodded. “Further and further we delve into the dust. Each stroke one stroke closer to a grave.”
Patrick scooped the rose from the pit and replaced it at the foot of his mother’s headstone.