He can’t figure out why, at this moment, he feels that last night would have changed anything. There was supposed to be an asteroid. There was supposed to be a plague. There was supposed to be meaning. The red box of cigarettes gave him some meaning.
As he stood the blood fell from his head and he couldn’t see for a moment. He thought he was being transported to another planet. At 11:30 the world doesn’t look different. It is the most meaningless time of the day. As he regained his sight he saw the blank wall in front of him. Wild thoughts of spitting against it, of smearing blood. The Matisse print would have to stay. That would say something.
He grabbed his key and his water bottle and his lighter and his cigarettes and snuck out of his own bedroom. The hallway was still dark. The stairs cold. He almost tripped while shutting his eyes to avoid the bathroom mirror. This is my day, and this is how it starts.
The air was fresh as the fog rolled over the cars in front of him. A steady friend. He feels like fog, driving people inside, away, away from itself. His lighter didn’t work and for a few seconds that task occupied his mind. Exhaling, that was his first sigh of the day; it felt like his first breath. He sat with his hood on and watched the smiling walk by. They rarely say hi and are more often scared. Let them be.
He heard the electric bus roll through the stop sign and thought about the times he ran to catch it. It was more important than life at that moment. He knows it is going to happen. He steps off his stoop and lurches forward. He starts his sprint, holding his bag. This is why he likes sneakers. The bus doesn’t have to stop. At that point he gets angry at himself when he misses the bus. Not because he failed, because he cared so damn much at the time. A bus passes by dozens of times a day, I never notice.
He had wanted a cigarette and now that that was over, he didn’t want to go back inside. He thought about walking around with his slippers on. He thought about taking the bus without a wallet, without money, he smelled too clean to get away with that. As he gripped the bridge of he nose, knowing damn well that physically it doesn’t do anything for him, he smiled. He had nothing to smile about. He found everything funny. The night before was melting and with it the unrealized ambition.
He was a man coming to terms with his ununiqueness. The face he saw this time in the mirror was defiantly his. It made him angry. It usually makes him angry. Not for what he sees but the fact he will never see himself. Not as others, not even as himself. I don’t know me.
He sees things, he makes thoughts but he will never see who he is. He won’t know if the shirt he is wearing fits or not. He will never see if the double chin he perceives is real. He has seen photographs but it was never the moment. It was through a filter. It was through light reflecting caught by a camera. The anger mounts, it fills his fingertips. He makes an impotent fist.
Back in his room he rips open the blinds. He looks at the bed, his TV, his books. He looks at his hands and there is some relief. I can see you. He is a student now. He wants documents, essays, he wants experiments. All of them on his hands. Then he shoots his slippers off to look at his feet. He brings his foot up to his face.