Drinking my first beer isn’t really all that fun. I like holding the bottle, but it doesn’t taste great. I keep hoping it’ll do something to me, but that doesn’t seem to be happening.
The house is quieter now, but the pictures are all staring at me. I try not to look at them, but every now and then my eyes drift to a face or an arm. I realize that in most of the pictures I’m no older than twelve or eleven. Figures. Guess I really was a hatable teen, after all.
This wallpaper has probably been here for a very long time, by the looks of it. I absolutely believe that it will outlive me. I touch it, and sense that this thing is permanent, whereas I am- and always have been- intended to be temporary.
The microwave dings. I take my chicken and escape to the backyard immediately. Letting myself breathe freely, my nose is so refreshed by the autumn air. I used to hate this season, but it was mostly because of the association with school starting. Right now, in this moment, I find it quite relaxing.
Like a seesaw, my feelings on the chicken are the opposite of the season. In the past, I always liked this brand. Microwave food was most of my diet, and I was never dissatisfied with a meal like this, however childish it may be. Doesn’t really taste like much of anything right now. I dump the plate on the ground, along with my leftovers. I drink the rest of my beer, and throw it down too. For a little while, I just sit and stare at how the liquid flows through the grass and dirt, watching to see if it will reach the discarded meat before the ants do. It eventually does, but the path it takes is so visible I can’t help but wonder how long little things like this are planned in advance. If there is a god, I’m this beer to it right now as I think this.
I don’t much feel like heading back in yet. I go out front, through the gate of the fence. A neighbor I don’t know waves at me. I can’t say why I waved back. Even now, I guess I kinda just felt obligated to, even if it won’t matter. This guy’s probably never seen me before. Though I do recall his son or something coming over to our door one time. He asked my dad if he had a daughter. He told him to scream. So I guess the family must have seen me before. That was back when we first moved here, so that would probably explain it. It was the most I’d ever been outside in this place, besides right now. I didn’t especially like it here. Then again, did I ever like anywhere I’d been to before? Not like how other people seem to. Never got why people felt one way or the other about any given place. I mean… no matter where you go, in one way or another, it’s probably gonna suck, right? You can’t possibly find a place without bad people… unless you’re all alone. And if that’s the case, you’re probably bad anyway. Because good people like other people, and bad people don’t.
I stare down the road. Never been on a walk before. Not here. I look to the curb. Nobody’s outside anymore. The neighbor’s gone in. I’m all alone under the mousy fall sky. This is… kinda what I’d want. If I were to like a place. I decide I’ll give it a chance. I mean, why not?
I go around the whole neighborhood, but just like everything else, I don’t feel much of any way about it. I’m a little anxious the whole time that someone will see me. When I get home, that anxiety hasn’t left me. Now I’m worried someone’s watching me open the door to go in. This is even worse than it is for me normally. But that makes sense too, I guess.
Back inside. Not a thing has changed. My breathing slows as I swallow air before letting it out over and over again in a rhythmic fashion. Once I’m doing it automatically- after around an hour or so- I try to get back to thinking. That’s all I wanna do right now, is think. But as I look around the empty rooms, my mind just snares on all the tiny details I took for granted. Like how despite everything, their wedding pictures are still hanging in the kitchen. I wonder if maybe they did love each other, and just not me. I wonder if I was ruining it for them… whatever dreams they once had.
I go to the bathroom to change my bandages. How funny. This wound is from almost three weeks ago. When mom gave it to me, this stuff hadn’t even begun yet. Not to me, anyway. On second thought… I don’t need a new one. I throw the sorry bandage on the floor. I take the rest off after that, counting who gave which injury. Dad one, mom two. Dad two, mom three. A couple from myself. It more or less averages out in the end. One was from a girl at school. That one’s the funniest. Like, what did that have to do with anything? Wasn’t related to my home life at all, she just felt like hitting me. If that isn’t proof god just hates me, I dunno what is.
I lay on the couch. In truth, I think god just gets off on stuff like this. Maybe it’s like a snuff artist. Sure, there’s a point to it all, but it’s not a good one. I guess I’m okay with that. I don’t exactly feel responsible for my own actions, if that’s the case. All this is just a sick film. And I’m the star.
I pick up the phone. After thinking about how that girl hurt me like that… I actually cracked a smile. So the only thing that really makes me happy is funny things happening. I have a lot of power right now, with this little device in my hand. I could say something really funny, and it might just go down in history if I’m lucky. But… I mean, I’m not lucky. I’m not lucky at all. That’s my whole thing. I’m just gonna be forgotten, so what’s the point? I drop it on the carpet and lie back.
The popcorn ceiling above me is covered in tiny shadows formed by cobwebs over decades of existence without being able to be cleaned. Too much of a hassle? You know what… if I try to clean these cobwebs, I’ll be above all the people who never thought to do anything about them. The parents in my house… the family, likely families here before me… they’ll all be below me. And it won’t mean much, but maybe it’ll be funny. Maybe it’ll make me smile.
I stand atop the couch and reach out. Too high. I go to the kitchen and pick out a chair to set atop the couch. As I climb atop it, the wobbly platform sinks into the cushion as it shakes. I ignore it and stick out my tongue to lick up a single spot of cobweb. I manage to circle just one speck of texture clean before I fall. So unlucky. So unlucky that I forget to be awake for a while.
The dream is the shortest I’ve ever had that I can remember. By far the most vivid, too. I’m free. Floating in an orange tornado of leaves. Up, down, around- whichever way I feel like going, I can. But the feeling dissipates with time. All I’m doing is rotating myself inside of a larger vehicle. As the storm moves endlessly in a single direction, I’m just stuck, along for the ride. I stick my head out of the spiral of air to see our destination- nothing but a cliffside. No ocean or clearing below it. Just a boring chasm of darkness. So boring. So unlucky. But to our right, there is something more interesting. A shabby wooden house like the one from The Wizard of Oz. Outside is not Dorothy, but rather, a girl who looks just like me. She’s laughing, waving at me. I look back at the chasm, and know what I have to do. My only option. With all my might, I singlehandedly spin the tornado towards her, whipping it to the side. As it spins faster and faster, I begin to laugh. I like this feeling. This feeling is good. But as it crashes into the house, I’m surrounded by them. Pieces of wood. Pieces of the house. Pieces of their life. Pieces of them. As I vomit, my bile is shaped into the tornado, as it quickly devolves into a torrent of muck. I suffocate in my own waste, and as I awake, there is light in my eyes.
“Ma’am.” The man’s voice says in the same southern drawl I hear every day. “Ma’am, can you speak to me?”
“Mhm….” I nod to him. Oh, I think, seeing his navy clothing. An officer.
“Can you tell me what happened?” He asks, not really to me, but just the stranger he’s looking at. How I wonder what it would be like to know someone. Probably not all that great. I never much liked anyone I met. But maybe I was just unlucky. I certainly am right now, with this authority crouched over me. But I don’t really feel either way about my luck anymore. Just like everything else, it’s all a flat variable. Left side, right side. Option A, Option B. Even good and evil mean nothing when taken out of context. So now that my very life has been stripped of whatever context it had left… why, I hardly feel a single way about anything. All I’m happy about right now is that he asked me something that I could explain in plain fact. And that I did.
“They’re in the bedroom.” I state. “They were sleeping.”
Only he gets to see the bodies. I don’t remember what happened to me after that. I might be dead. I might be alive. All I know is that it doesn’t matter to me. Ever since I murdered those useless parents of mine, I haven’t felt much of a single thing. I can’t taste chicken, and I can’t enjoy a walk. I just float now. I float alone, in a world without up or down.
If I really am unlucky… I wouldn’t know.