I feel like I’ve been through a war. It’s not quite 8 in the morning and I’ve slept close to a collective 45 minutes in the past 30 or so hours. I’m finding aches in muscles I didn’t even know I had, random cuts and scrapes all over my upper body and bits of dried blood on pieces of skin that haven’t been bleeding. I’m finding the remains of thick black x’s on the back of each of my hands. I’m finding tears in my shirt and stains on my pants and I feel like I should be able to sum up this train wreck of a morning with some brilliantly metaphoric statement. I feel like I should be taking some poetic discourse to describe all the ways I’m crumbling. I feel like there should be words for this, but all I really feel is defeated.
It’s bitter cold, especially for how close to spring it’s getting to be. My house keys are lost somewhere in Northeastern New York or Southwestern Massachusetts and I’m hiding from March in the library amidst bearded old men and over-caffinated students. Less than twelve hours ago, we were playing a basement show in Springfield. I can only remember it as a series of still life portraits: water color and small canvases, far from precise. My mind’s taken out all of the sound and movement and detail and I’m hoping that with a few hours of sleep it might give these things back to me, but I’m not expecting much. My memories are just scenes in a gallery:
1.)I’m splashed with cheap light from the southeast end of the room.
2.) I’m punching a cement wall.
3.) I’m being crawled on by kids with fingers pointed and mouths gaping open.
4.) I’m breathing in dust and dirt and probably asbestoses.
5.) I’m hating myself in a public forum that I’ve tricked into thinking I’m happy with who I am.
All these are hanging in a display in the back of my head with white walls and white floors and white lights. They’re displayed for no one to see. What the library sees is a dirty kid under over-exposing fluorescents that hasn’t showered in days. They see me nursing a broken finger. They see me with a stretched out shirt and a scratched up neck. They see me coughing debris out of my lungs. They see me somber, with my hood up and my head against the pillar. They see me collapsing inward. When they were all sleeping, I was navigating through Connecticut and New York and New Jersey in a van begging to be cleaned out and that sometimes has trouble shifting gears up hills and that I’m sure at this point has seen more of this world than any of the people looking empathetically at me right now. They think to themseleves “We all have our low points.” They think to themselves “I hope that kid is okay.” They think to themselves but they don’t know what it’s like to watch a new city emerge on the horizon of the highway at night or sleep in 5 minute intervals between bumps in the road. They think to themselves, but I think to myself too, and the pity is mutual.
I parked the van around sunrise today after dropping everyone at their repsective houses, slept on the couch for 15 minutes and got a ride to the train to go back to the city. I boarded in a sea of men in suits and ladies in dresses. I am out of place everywhere I go. They all seem so animated and real and I feel so removed. Almost every time I ride the train I fall alseep, but this morning sleep would not come and so I put in my headphones and listened to a girl from Georgia sing a Bob Dylan song that I almost knew the words too. I’ve always hated Bob Dylan, but I’ve always loves they way people loved him. His words came out of her mouth as we passed the heartbroken remains of industry that wall in these train tracks. I believe in you, even though we’ll all be a number. The melancholy of these long abandoned factories always seem to be reflected over everything in its wake. They sit in stoic silence. Unaffected by their ruined walls and windows and their utter loneliness. They await their inevitable fate, dressed in funeral suits of new graffiti and old ruse. If I could I’d tell them sorry and that we never end up the way we planned to be. That we all crumble a little more every day. That it isn’t just them. That we’re all in this shirtstorm together. Please. We can’t go back. I believe in you.
I’ve been looking for a quieter place to sit, but at this time of day, everyone is either alseep or awake with a purpose. No one is waiting to console me. A girl I spend years in love with is sleeping through my frantic phone calls. A friend I haven’t seen in months is on his way to class. No one is directionless but me. Everyone is somewhere. No one is pointless but me. Everyone is someone. I’ve never been angerier at myself for losing something. All I’ve wanted to do all morning was go home and let my bones collapse or sit in the shower until the water runs cold and then shake in the shower until someone finds me. All I want to do for the rest of today is black out until next week or so, but I know I’ll spend the afternoon writing apology letters to old friends.
You know the way something you say stops sounding like itself or like words at all when you say it enough times in succession? It just becomes a sound that becomes a noise that become increasingly awkward to make your mouth form. Like your lips and cheeks forget how to stretch the vowels and your tounge forgets how to snap the consonants. I’d bet money that after the series of phone calls I’m about to make, the word “sorry” turns into a mess that way. How do you break news to someone you haven’t seen in months? How do you know who knows already? How do I know this is still Mel’s phone number? How do I know I didn’t just leave that broken, pathetic sounding message on a strangers voicemail? Why can’t people just record a greeting for that? Why would someone just leave the default message? What good does it do me to know that I’ve “reached the voicemail box of 267-XXX-XXXX?” Why don’t we think of days like today when we live every other day? Why aren’t we always prepared for things like this and why the fuck isn’t anyone up at 8 in the morning waiting for this phone call?
I’ve found myself huddeled in the corner between a staircase and the side of the building, hiding from the wind. I didn’t want to disturb anyone studying in the library with my sadness. They’ve got lives to lead, even though I feel like they should stop what they’re doing for this. Isn’t stange how the world keeps going even when we feel like we’ve stopped? Isn’t strange how the world can keep going without her? Isn’t it strange that I’ll wake up again tomorrow morning?
A girl walking by spotted me in my cement hiding place and asked if I was okay. I wanted to scream “Fuck! No, I’m not okay. My friend just called from another country to say we lost April Ann: just asked me if I could spread the word because he’s stuck down in Mexico. No nothing is fucking okay. Nothing is okay because she’s dead and I’m alive and because no one is answering their phones and because someone in New England has my keys and because buildings are dying and because no one but you stoppped to see if I was alright,” but all I could manage was, “I’ll be fine, thanks.” I fucking hate crying in public.
“Please. We can’t go back. I believe in you.”