I AM A BIG BUTT
there are so many beautiful arrangements of words
hemingway vonnegut shakespeare
but no matter which way i arrange these words
you won’t shine your
or contract your
so who cares?
tensing and untensing
past tensing is all i am
passed passing and gone
we passed each other
the passing tents are where we were
its simply past tense now
an interminable dense feeling in my stomach and my brain
a cloud of razor butterflies flowing through my chest
my hepatic vein working overtime
The first line had to be “I can’t do this.” and no one could say more than ten words at a time. That kind of killed my dialogue options, so that’s why I’m not super proud of this. It’s kind of here just for the sake of it being a complete record of my writing.
stop white knuckling and let it float away.
let it get caught in the never-ending fusion of the sun.
the things i tell myself as i watch you float away into another galaxy
gravity keeps me stuck in the same place as you fly to the adventure of a lifetime. im just a man, just a kid, the emotional range of an infant. worthless words written on worthless paper by a worthless person. i feel myself decaying.
let yourself leave the ground.
nothing will ever grow again anyway.
We’re standing at the top of the hill that we’ve walked up and down a million times. She’s telling me goodbye and I’m crying and I want to grab her keys and throw them far away. Far enough away where she’ll never find them and she can’t leave me and we won’t grow apart and she won’t fall in love with someone else and I won’t die alone and sad and crazy. But I don’t. Instead she’s hugging me and she’s crying. She takes a step back and she looks me in the eyes. I see my future reflected back at me out of her brown eyes. She blinks but her eyes are closed for an eternity as I realize the sky isn’t bright anymore and the grass doesn’t dance and the air is sour and my heart is in my hands and it’s festering from the inside and I’m choking and suddenly I cough up a ring that I gave her. Now I’m coughing up every gift I ever gave her in reverse order and finally I’m holding a deck of pink cards, still wet with my saliva.
She finally opens her eyes and I tune out everything but her voice and she says she’s sorry and the frayed wires of my brain can’t say or do anything so I stare through her listlessly and she’s crying again and I’m shutting down and I have no response and my mouth is sewn shut and my throat makes a funny noise and she telling me she loves me and I manage to croak out a reciprocation and she looks me in the eyes and I just concentrate on exchanging my carbon dioxide for oxygen. She blinks and flickers and I feel myself fade away and she’s telling me that it’s time to go and I sigh and my stomach is in my feet and my head is in the clouds and I can feel my blood pumping to my entire body all at once. She’s about to turn around and I want to say something but I have no words and suddenly existing is as hard as the struggle of Sisyphus and my hands are there one second and they’re mere outlines the next and I blink and she’s gone.
“Yes ma’am, I found some of his belongings. No, I don’t think it was suicide, but he didn’t try to get help, that’s for sure.” Her soft green eyes locked with the cops.
“I’m sorry.” The cop spoke again. “Would you like to see what I found?”
She nodded silently, wiping tears from her eyes.
“I’ve got a journal with mostly irrelevant entries, a few letters addressed to one Natalie Ayer, never sent, and some paperwork from the nearby hospital.”
The alarm clock screams in its usual tone, it sounds like it’s almost angry at me for all my sleeping bullshit. I smack the button to make it shut up. Here I am again. A morning where I’m too tired to move. I’ve got a job to go to. I don’t mind though. I’m doing okay for myself. In fact, I’m even feeling a little bit optimistic about my life these days. I can exist. I can stop thinking about what happened. I can try to move on.
Did you ever have one of those nights, lying in bed, wishing that your life was simply a dream? Like it was some fabrication of your fucked up mind that produced some sort of nightmare for you to live through while you took a rest from your amazing life? Yeah. Me too. It never is though. I always wake up to my dull life as a convenience store cashier. No, don’t worry, this story isn’t gonna turn into the literary version of Clerks. I don’t give a shit about my job there, and the less I talk about it the better. I can feel the misery building up inside me already. I should change the subject. Let’s talk about the good in my life. I have a steady paycheck. A girl who I love, though maybe it’s unrequited, I’m never sure. We do spend a lot of time with each other, sometimes talking, sometimes cooking, sometimes writing, sometimes having sex. It’s complicated I guess. She isn’t around that much. I’d like to say that I don’t care, but I do. I really do.
I’m going to work today. I gotta run the cash register from open until close. It’s okay. It’s not like I have anything else to do except hide in my apartment and smoke weed and eat too many chips. I woke up this morning with a bitter taste in my mouth. I woke again but my life still wasn’t a dream. I’m disappointed again, of course. I had a few hours until I had to leave. I talked to her this morning. She didn’t really respond. She never does unless I ask her a question. I’m losing her, I guess. I’ll still try. I’ll always still try. I’ll probably always fail, but you never know, I guess. I knew that this day was gonna be a bad one. I swiped my flask from my bottom drawer. It was full of some sort of poison to intoxicate my mind. Something to get me through the day I guess.
Work today wasn’t that bad. I was tipsy by closing time but my flask was pretty much empty. I didn’t mind. As I started the arduous process of closing up, I thought about an interesting conversation I had with a customer. He was an older man, buying Chesterfields and a lighter to go with them. As I rang him up, he looked directly into my eyes. His hair was just a white wisp, and his eyes were a deep blue.
“You’re miserable. I can see it from the look in your eyes, and the smell of alcohol on you. What’s wrong?”
There was no one else in the store, so I decided to indulge him. “I’m working a shit job, I have no friends, and I have a probably unrequited love who doesn’t like to talk to me anymore. I’m slow. I’m in terrible physical shape. I don’t think I could outrun a turtle. I keep waking up and hoping that my life is just a nightmare a more successful version of me is having. It never is though.”
He smiled a little. “It’s funny you say that. I had a rough patch in life where I felt the exact same way. Want to know what I did? I spent more time in dreams than I did awake. I took am unhealthy amount of sleeping pills almost every night, I slept for days at a time, waking only to feed myself so that I didn’t die. Maybe I was trying to break through the barrier and come out on the other side and live in my world of dreams. It never worked, so I had to rebuild.”
“Well, cheers to you for trying, at least.” I said as I took a swig from my flask.
“I guess so. Just remember it’s not worth it to live your life in dreams. Reality will always be there to drag you back, kicking and screaming.”
“You know what? You’re right. I have to stop trying to exist in another world, and start living in mine. This world is what is real.”
He smiled a genuine smile. “You’ve got it now. Fare thee well, young friend.” He lit a cigarette and walked out of the door. I never saw him again.
By the time I ran through the conversation in my mind, I had almost finished up the routine closing tasks. All that was left was to take the garbage out to the back alley and lock up the rear entrance. I lugged the garbage can out to the back alley and finally got it in front of the dumpster. I was about to lift it up to flip the garbage in when I heard a voice.
“There is a gun on the back of your head, turn around slowly with your hands up.”
I complied. I was facing four masked people. One of them was holding a gun to my forehead, the other three were huddled around behind him. This couldn’t happen now, I had such a will to live and to make my life better than it was. The man holding the gun asked for my wallet. I told him that I didn’t have any money on me. That was the truth. He demanded it again. I handed it to him. He opened it and found a ten dollar bill. Shit. I forgot about that. He told me he didn’t like liars. He said liars made him so angry that he wanted to kill someone. He cocked the gun pressed against my forehead. I begged for my life. I knew he wasn’t going to spare me. At that point adrenaline took over. I saw his arm twitch. I sensed that he was about to pull the trigger. Once I saw his finger start to put pressure on the trigger I deftly ducked. The gun went off. The three guys behind the shooter gasped. They were yelling that they didn’t think he’d actually do it. The shooter just nodded, full of pride. I ran. I think they were so shocked they didn’t come after me. I forgot about my job, about the store, all I did was run, all the way back to my apartment.
When I settled down, I realized I was really tired. It all hit me at once. I didn’t want to watch TV or go online or do anything but sleep. I crashed on my bed and the world went black almost immediately.
I woke up really warm. I still had my eyes closed, mentally preparing myself for the new life that stood before me. A life where I would improve everything, I’d stop working at that shitty convenien—
My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a seagull cawing. I was confused. I opened my eyes to a blinding sun in my eyes. I was lying on a beach. There was something in my hand. I looked. It was another’s hand. I looked over. It was her. We woke up lying hand in hand. I stared at her beauty for a few moments before she woke up.
“Hey.” She smiled. “I guess we fell asleep on the beach again, didn’t we? We always do that when we go for late night walks.” I was confused. Wasn’t I just in a shitty apartment in the city? She noticed the look on my face and gave me an odd look. Then her eyes brightened. “Oh don’t worry. I know you’re concerned about it being your turn to cook breakfast this morning, but don’t worry I’ll make it. You can just repay me in bed tonight.” She smiled and kissed me. When she pulled away she had a look of worry on her face.
“What’s that on your forehead?”
“What are you talking about?”
“It’s a red circle, like someone shot you and the would healed. That wasn’t there last night.”
“I’m sure it’ll be fine. No big deal.”
Her words made me understand exactly what had happened. I couldn’t acknowledge it though. I buried it deep and never thought about it again. My life was simple. I lived in a house on the beach with her. We were happy.