THE BAD DAY
by JACK TOM
I woke up in the morning all twisted around. FUCK THEM, I thought. FUCK THEM ALL. I pulled on a pair of pants that weren’t as dirty as the ones I’d ruined the night before. I stepped into some shoes and climbed into a t shirt and was on my way. I made it into the kitchen, stopped at the fridge and pulled out a beer and slurped it right down. It hit the spot and I opened up the door and walked out, with that feeling like, THIS IS THE LAST TIME I’LL WALK OUT THIS FUCKING DOOR and then I started down the street.
There was a small child riding around on a bicycle, a little girl, a little blonde girl, and I thought, HEY, IN FIFTEEN YEARS YOU’RE GONNA BE SUCKING SOME GUY’S COCK AND NOTHING WILL MATTER. THEN MAYBE YOU’LL GET KNOCKED UP AND HAVE SOME FAMILY AND THEN YOU’LL DIE, JUST LIKE THE REST OF US. SO KEEP RIDING IN CIRCLES, BECAUSE THAT’S ALL THIS WORLD IS, GOING AROUND AND AROUND AND GETTING NO WHERE.
I kept on walking, trying to ignore everything. She drove by in her car and pulled up and slowed down and said, THE ONLY WAY THIS IS GOING TO WORK OUT IS IF YOU TALK TO ME. THAT’S HOW IT WORKS. WE HAVE TO TALK. THAT’S THE ONLY WAY THIS IS GONNA WORK. I looked at her and said, BABY, I’M ALL THROUGH. And then I said to her, without ever having had the thought before that second, I’M GOING TO VEGAS AND I’M GOING ALONE. ALONE, YOU HEAR ME? I’M OUTTA HERE.
She started crying and I did too and then she said WHY CAN’T WE MAKE THIS WORK? I kept walking and those salty, booze-filled tears slid down my face and then I looked over to her and said, A PERSON CAN’T EXPLAIN ALL THE FEELINGS THEY HAVE. SOMETIMES THEY JUST HAVE THEM, AND THAT’S IT.
It was a good line but she was smarter than that and she said, WHAT DO YOU WANT? I stopped for a second and asked her, WHAT DO I REALLY WANT? She nodded and said, YEAH. I had the ammo to blow that question out of the water because I’d asked myself that question my whole life. I WANT TO NOT EXIST. I JUST WANT TO NOT EXIST. IF I DRINK ENOUGH, I CAN MAKE MYSELF NOT EXIST. GETTING DRUNK IS LIKE NOT EXISTING, IT’S LIKE HEAVEN OR DEATH, AND THAT’S ALL I’VE EVER WANTED FROM THIS LIFE.
She screamed BUT WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO NOT EXIST? And I screamed back I JUST WANNA BE ALONE. I could sense that neighbors were peering out from behind curtains. FUCK THEM, I thought. CAN’T YOU UNDERSTAND THAT? I DON’T THINK YOU CAN. I DON’T THINK ANYBODY CAN. I’VE TRIED BEFORE, TO EXPLAIN THIS DESIRE, AND NOBODY HAS EVER UNDERSTOOD! I JUST WANT TO BE ALONE BECAUSE THEN THERE IS NOBODY ELSE THERE TO HURT, AND NOBODY ELSE THERE TO HURT ME.
There was a short silence and I knew she was taking every word I said to her beautiful, huge heart.
Then another thing came out of my mouth which was just like the Vegas thing. I hadn’t really thought about it before I said it. I JUST WANT TO BE ALONE AND LIVE IN A CAVE!
There was another silence, like she was giving the idea some thought, trying to think of a cave where we could make this happen.
AND I WANT SOME CRAYONS OR SOMETHING, SO I CAN SCRIBBLE ALL OVER THE WALLS! BECAUSE WORDS AREN’T LIKE PEOPLE. THEY DON’T WANT ANYTHING FROM ME, THEY JUST WANT TO BE PUT DOWN ON THE PAGE. THEY CAN’T HURT ME. IN THE END, THEY CAN ONLY SAVE ME.