Pulling out the thumbtack that was holding it up he opened it and dumped it on the bed. He knew what was inside; the book he was reading, two New Yorker magazines, headache pills. It didn’t occur to him that two of those pills would help his swollen head. He was searching for something new. A clue to who he was put there by someone else.
The bag proved useless. He was too logical to decipher what the contents actually meant. The book and the magazines were there to ease his bus trips; the pills were there to ease his head. I read and get headaches. Other people do too.
He threw the bag aside and it hit his trash bags full of cans and important envelops. The noise of the cans caught his ear. Are we what we don’t want? The bags were spilled, liquids running together and mixing with the ash and dust on his floor. He drinks bottles of flavored water, soda, tea, beer. Nothing.
The envelopes were not his to interrogate. The wrappers of food long since passed through him were meaningless. Scraps of paper were misdirecting cues. Receipts and tickets stubs all held the past. He found numbers that held his attention. 8945373624. He kicked bottles by walking the two steps to his bed. These numbers are something. Are these numbers me? He added them together he divided them, he multiplied them. He realized that he was not numbers. Numbers don’t breathe, more importantly numbers don’t laugh.
He tossed the numbers on the floor. The piece of paper flew into his closet. Clothes stared back at him. He stood but didn’t move forward. He twisted his head. He closed and opened his eyes quickly to see if he could change his perspective. He wanted to see who would wear those clothes.
They didn’t move. Without permission he inched forward. Aware of the bottles and trash, he shuffled his bare feet. He would hate to hurt himself at this moment of discovery. He slid by the closet door, careful not to touch it. He exhaled and extended his arm. He touched a shirt first. The fabric felt rough. He was confused that anyone would wear this material daily. The multicolored cloth held his imagination for a moment. Then with sudden haste he rifled through all of his clothes. Jeans, pants, folded and neat, a t-shirt, sweaters, button down shirts. Off to the side held his ties and his belts, different colors. Under that sat his dirty clothes bin.
He contracted his fingers around as much as he could grab. The hangers fought with no result. He threw them on the ash and dust, the still mixing liquids. How can I be something that varies so? I am not colorful.
He remembered his drawers. They too held misrepresentations. Why bother? He wasn’t going to find anything new. He wasn’t going to see his face in socks, in boxers. He won’t open a drawer and have meaning pop out. Soda stained a flannel shirt on the floor.
A door slammed and he felt a chill. He was stuck in his world for hours. He was on the verge of vomiting. He could not see straight but fought the urge to shake his head. That makes things worse. He hadn’t realized he was sweating. He could feel it on his whole body. Drops flowed down the back of his neck, behind his knees, on his upper lip. He was encased in sweet liquid.
His eyesight wasn’t failing him, it had just turned dark. The day had passed him. After falling to the knees he didn’t feel the pain on his bones.