I Want To Know

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I don’t know how it happened.

I don’t know where you went after it happened.

I don’t even know if there is a ‘you’ to be after it happened.

There were too many chairs in the room and we had to stand in the back of the room. One lady with a red name-tag came into the room and looked at all of us standing in the back and told us we could go to the overflow room and no one moved. Most didn’t even look at her. She smiled unfazed and walked out. The music turned down low and the main speaker came forward to the podium and said somethings and all I could think about was how thirsty I was and how underdressed I was.

Erica sobbed and I put my arm around her and she buried her head into my chest and we stayed like that in the corner of the room.

The speaker stopped and stepped away from the podium and the music came back on and on the projector screen a series of your images flashed. Whoever made the slideshow chronicled your life with the images. You as a baby, toddler, preteen, teen, now, now…

Erica laughed at one of the pictures and she told me she took that one. She told me that you wanted a new Facebook photo and you two went into the backyard and started fooling around with the camera. Taking obnoxious modeling shots and then finally ending on an ordinary photo. Your smile was sincere like you just had a good time and someone had to take the photo of you because no one would believe how good of a time you just had. Your eyes said it all.

After the slideshow finished your dad, I think, walked up there and started talking about you. He made jokes. We all laughed. We all missed you.

After him your friends went up and all of them were funny. I think that’s how you would want it. I can’t see you not wanting it that way. Your brother went last. He said everything you’d expect a brother to say at a funeral.

And all of this left me with a yearning. I wanted to know what happened. I don’t know why.

I don’t know how it happened, so I’m filling in what happened.

The truck hit you and instead of you flying into the metal death trap, everything opens up into a blackness that you float into and careens you and takes you away. You merge with it. You become infinite. Everything lays out before you and finally there are no barriers holding you back. You run rampant, in the best way. You see time and space at their epicenter and are overwhelmed with whatever and all possibilities you could imagine, and more. You see us. You see me. You see Erica. You see everything. You see us in the corner wondering when we could get a glass of water. You see your family and friends in the front row as they sob and you wish to hold them and you see the ceremony finish and we all leave to go outside and we stand around in the parking lot. No one knowing what to say or do. Do we talk about you? What do we do?

What I did was stand on the outside of the crowd. Erica smoked and we had nothing to say. She was your ex-girlfriend, and I was a satellite of that relationship. We were close, I would say, and I hope you would too, but no one in that crowd knew it. I saw everyone hug your family and I knew I couldn’t do that because they didn’t know me and I wasn’t sad about that because I was talking to you in my head. Not everyone believes in that, but I do.

We stood there for a while. People said hi to us. We laughed. We didn’t mask the grief, we were in grief, and laughter was part of its process.

What I want to know is where were you then? Were you there? Did you see the preacher release the doves into the sky? Did you see me and Erica not knowing what to say to anyone and kick the dirt around on the pavement? Did you hear everyone complain about the weather? What did it look like from up there? What songs did you hear?

I had nothing to say to anyone. I’d never known anybody that’d died before.

It didn’t hit me when I heard the news that you died. It didn’t hit me there at the funeral, either. I lied and told people it did, but I can’t help but feel you’re still there. I can’t help but feel I can text you about anything like I always did and you’d reply in a few hours and we’d talk all night. Forgive me for feeling that way. Eventually I’ll delete your number and that’ll do me in. That’s when it’ll hit. It’ll hit me when I realize I’m not going to get your late night phone calls. It’ll hit me when I realize that all these stupid fucking scripts I wrote no longer have a director. It’ll hit me when I realize I got no one to run movie ideas by. I got no one to talk about movies with, no one that knows them like you do.

Forgive me but I still think you’re here. Whether you were in the crowd when the doves flew or whether you were in the back corner of that stuffy room standing next to us, thirsty and wondering when the whole thing was over so you could go get some fucking water.

I still think you’re here.

I want to know if you still are.

Waiter Letter 3

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Dear V.,

I’ll tell you one dream. I imagined I wrote it to her, your sister, it was just easier that way.

I’m sorry if this is a little much for you, but you asked for it:

I was outside my old house that I took you to. The one where I lived with my mom for my last year of high school.

I walked outside and my brother and your brother (that’s you, V.) were riding together in my brother’s truck. They insisted I get in and I did. Your brother explained at length how they had just moved here due to some European war. It was convincing and I was convinced and I believed him and didn’t ask why he chose this town over any other. Or why no one told me. Or anything.

But we drove out of my neighborhood and got on the highway that cut across the plains like a giant black scar pitted between dirt like scar tissue and the sun sank below the horizon as if someone far out of sight was pulling it down with a string.

A new housing development, your brother said.

We pulled into a neighborhood.

He got out and opened my door and I looked at my brother and my brother told me that he’d come pick me up later tonight or tomorrow morning or, never. I said cool and hopped out and me and your brother went into your new house.

He had me take off my shoes and we went into the living room where your mom watched television. I couldn’t understand it. It wasn’t in any language at all. Just murmurs. Your mom’s face was blurred as if some tear shaped form of water hung in front of her face. I couldn’t see the details clearly but I could tell when she was looking at me.

She asked how I was and I said fine.

She looked concerned. She asked how I was again and I said fine. She nodded. I felt, but didn’t see her eyes trying to pry me open.

Your brother grabbed my wrist and pulled me into the kitchen and he made himself a sandwich. He asked if I wanted anything and I told him that I shouldn’t be eating right now. He didn’t ask why and he ate slow like the meal was something he looked forward to. When he finished he pulled me along again and this time we went up stairs. I felt like a rag-doll along for the ride.

The stairs winded up like a corkscrew and your brother pulled me along quickly and I almost fell down a few times but I kept up alright. At the landing on the second floor I saw your door crackedopen just slightly and the light poured out from the crack making a scalene triangle with the point pointing towards me and your brother. I heard you sing and my heart moved itself into my mouth and I couldn’t breath because lumps began growing in my throat and my lungs felt too thin like they were going to pop and collapse like balloons. Blood swirled in my head.

But,

your brother grabbed me and pulled me along up the stairs to a closet and he stepped inside it for a moment and came out with a sling shot and pulled me back down the stairs to the landing where he readied his sling shot with some lego piece and aimed it at your room.

I realized what he was doing and I quickly walked to what I think was his room and I sat on his bed and rubbed my temples with my head in my knees. I heard your shout and scream playfully and your brother came into the room and hid himself behind the door and you came in quickly and smiling and stopped dead when you saw me and your brother came out from behind the door and pushed you further into the room and then he stepped out of the room and closed the door and you tried to open it and it wouldn’t budge and then you turned around.

We stared at each other for a time. Well, you looked at me. I looked everywhere else.

And then you came and stood by the bed and looked at me with deep concern your eyes wide and then you slowly walked towards me and I backed away and onto the bed and I told you to

fuck off

go away

stop

fuck off

and you kept coming closer and you were ignoring me and you crawled on the bed and I was up against the wall crying and I felt weak and embarrassed and I felt your arms wrap around me and I felt like a child and I placed my head on your shoulder and you told me you were sorry and we started kissing and I closed my eyes and fell into it.

A wash of purple came over me. I was in a strange ocean and I floated suspended in the color as it swam in front of me and I felt serene and at peace. I opened my eyes and you were there waiting for me and we kissed again and I was back at that place and also there with you and I could feel my troubles fade and then I opened my eyes again and–

I was in my room. The ceiling fan made droned and thudded in a slow rhythm.

I looked at my clock.

It said 8:34 a.m.

I rolled over and slept till noon.


Nothing else to report on my end. Just going to work everyday in this dead town. How is Europe?

peace,
scott

Title Track

Hey everyone, I got into a car crash. I was leaning over to roll up the passenger side window, because my car is old as shit and it has the old school crank mechanism that seems to utilize all your fucking strength just to make it budge a fuckin’ little, while I was making a left hand turn. I was t-boned. I’m really fucked up and internally bleeding and coughing up blood and my head is gashed open. I’m in the hospital right now and there’s blood smeared on my phone while I type this and they have me hooked up to optimus prime. The nurses were adamant about me not using my phone saying I needed to sleep. I asked the nurse, the head nurse (if there’s such a thing), on my team of nurses dedicated to saving my life, to tell me my chances of living. She hesitated and I had to nag it out of her telling her what I waste I am and how I’m not afraid of the truth. She told me it’s 10%. I have a 10% chance to live. My life, like everyone else’s, a monstrous mess of unidentified and unpredictable duration, has been narrowed down to 10%. My life is 10%. I’m 10%. That all I am right now in this moment is 10%. I will either die or not die and it’s a 1:10 ratio. Math comes back, my school teacher’s were right. I’m fairly confident I’m going to die tonight or tomorrow morning so I’m taking the time to apologize to everyone for my shitty attitude on life. I don’t regret my outlook, at all, it’s who I am. I have no regret right now other than that I know it was hard for people to deal with me and I wish I was better at maintaining it. I also love all of you. Even those who wronged me and aren’t sorry. I love you. I wish you the best of life. I wish you that statistics be in your favor and your chances of life are 9:10. My now ex-girlfriend usually keeps her instagram info blank, but today I unfollowed her and she changed it to “Everything was beautiful.”

And it was.

 

 

——

I got the idea of writing this last night while driving to get some pizza.

My Friend Nik

My phone rang, I rolled over and answered it.

“Hello?”

“Scott? Is that you?”

It was Nik. “Yeah. What’s up?”

“It happened again.”

My brain was sluggish, it was 10AM and I sleep till noon. “What did?”

“I keep waking up at a strange time.”

Of all the things, my brain went to dawn. I read in a shitty spirituality book that man’s connection to the sun is the most important aspect of life, and your ability to judge it is based on when you wake up. If you wake up at dawn, you’re fucking kickin ass in the spirit world. Based on this heuristic, my life was a terrible sloppy mess.

I told him the heuristic.

“That’s crazy, man, really, but I keep waking up at 9:57AM and I don’t know why. I don’t know what this means.” I wanted to explain to him the concept the circadium rhythm, your biological clock, shit, the fact that sleep and waking are fucking habits and nothing more, but I was tired of this.

I stayed quiet and stared at the ceiling. My life, at the time, was in shambles and directionless. My girlfriend whom I thought I was to marry dumped me for a pretty boy british dude who protested stuff I don’t think he understands. I lived with my dad. I was failing school. I was a vegetarian working as a waiter at a very low-end steakhouse. I was lonely, and I all I really had was Nik. I would talk to him occasionally, my best friend for five years, but he was developing severe signs of schizophrenia and was in complete denial about it.

For a while I thought it was my fault. We both got into drugs together, like learning how to swim or something sentimental along those lines. It was sentimental. We took ‘trips’ together, discuss for hours what we were thinking, where we thought we sat in the universe, what it meant to be a human, where we were going after high school. He once had a plan for our entire group to move to Austin, Texas, together, to stay together. Our group of sever were all going completely directions after high school and it was pretty scary, especially for him, he was the one that linked us all together. Through him I met and befriended some of the best people, and this would’ve been impossible on my own because of my introversion. So he wanted us to go to Austin, but that plan fell apart quickly. He could only get 4 of us. I left for Corpus Christi and never linked back up with any of them.

Soon, his drug use increased and he was going down weird thought pathways that he just shouldn’t have been. He felt like aliens were coming soon and were going to save the state of the world. For a while he was convinced Paul McCartney was dead. He thought he was gay. Then bisexual. He thought he had a crush on me. He got dumped (unrelated) and became a mess. He thought about suicide daily, which despite my extreme tendency to melancholy, I couldn’t help. His case was different. He wanted to go to the afterlife; I wanted to stop existing.

In result: I couldn’t stand talking to him. I dropped him for 18 months.

I received phone calls and texts from mutual friends. They said he was way off the deep end. He stole a car. He tried to fight cops on a neighbor’s roof. He told friend’s parents that he knew them from a past life where he was a Pharaoh and they his sworn followers. He stole another car. He was institutionalized. He was living with his mom. He ran away. He came back. He moved in with his dad. He stalked his ex-girlfriend. He stalked his ex-crushes. He lived with a friend’s mom. He stole her bike. All our friends hate him. Leaving only me.

When I came back to town to visit my girlfriend, I made a point to go see him. My girl and I went to his dad’s house and picked him up. He looked the same, acted the same, made shitty jokes, talked endlessly about Harry Potter, the only major difference that I could see was his sadness. Melancholy ruled him. All he could talk about was how lonely he felt, he couldn’t connect to anyone, he thought this was all a big joke. Something like the Truman Show; we are watching his life and he is the clueless actor.

“I know you know it, Scott.”

“What?”

“What this is.”

“What ‘what’ is?”

“I know you know what I’m talking about. I don’t know why you hide it. I just want to know. I just want to be free.”

“You are free, I don’t know anything more than you do.”

“You do know. You sit outside of all this. You’re time is done. You sit away from it all. You’re just here to entertain me, to poke me.”

I laughed, “Alright man, you know more than I do and that’s really it.”

He sighed. “I think I’ve come to terms with it.”

“That I don’t know? That was pretty fast.”

“No, my schizophrenia.”

“Yeah? That’s good man, how’d you come to terms with it?”

“A dog told me.”

I took him to a bookstore and bought him some books to take his mind off shit. He promised he’d read them. My girlfriend said she was proud of me for doing this, which felt weird. I just wanted him to fix his shit, this was entirely selfish. Delay the inevitable of his schizophrenia, which is fucking irreversible. We took him home. I met with his dad and he didn’t recognize me and freaked out when he realized who I was. He said, with Nik present, that he wished Nik would follow my way. I didn’t say it, but I agreed, but he ruined that for himself. He’s stuck and will never get better because bio-mechanics is a joke and for some reason schizophrenia is deemed necessary to exist. I don’t get it. This was the last time I spoke to him period. He vanished.

I miss my best friend.

It’s strange how connected people are these days, yet it’s still so easy to slip off the grid. Change your number. Delete your facebook. You’re gone. No one knows where you are. Worse still, most don’t care enough to find out. If I could, I’d drive by his house and sit with him and talk about the Strokes and the Killers and laugh about high school and the times before he went crazy and how beautiful Emma Watson is.

But I can’t. Distance is rough.