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It was unexpected. Spent most the day figuring out how I was going to grocery shop and do laundry with the foot of snowfall. As the evening progressed, I read, but got bored with it. So I slept, went grocery shopping. The cashier looked like a regular middle aged man except for the fact he had long, lee-press on nails. Our exchange seemed awkward, probably because I didn't comment on them. Just ran my debit card and exchanged pleasantries. I checked on my mom later. But lost patience as S texted me through the conversation, asking what's up here.
The storm was over today, evident by the way the sun hit the glass of the aquarium. Most of the morning sounds outside were muted except the scrape of snow shovels, wheels spinning out, and a neighbor's voice through the wall. The night before was crazy, James thought, wondering if there would be any consequences today. He avoided logging onto the usual social apps, except once, doing so out of habit. He quickly closed it again, the sound of a new email irrelevant. James not so much wanted the silence. He needed to change the way he felt about himself.
Fidgeting. The older man was dressed in a suit and tie. He asked after my mom at least 3 times, as he slowly fiddled with the release form. He even asked me about getting life insurance for myself. How old are you? He asked. Thirty-three, I said in my computer desk chair, facing him on the couch. Aware of the white wintry light beyond the slats of the blinds behind him. I am older, I felt. And the pictures I stumbled upon almost 10 years ago with my ex didn't help. In these same apartments, grinning, being silly, cuddly.
Colby found the Inn at its usual place in the alley, behind a 4-story office. The words, Net Shaped Solutions, lit up the street in red, throwing splashes of color on the puddles around him. He stepped behind the dumpster and closed his eyes. The sensation was that of snapping a picture. Suddenly the brick wall in front of him changed to the wooden entrance of the Inn. A Tiffany lamp stood in its window. Colby reached for the door and found a room that was always whatever he wanted it to be, except for the red coffee mug.
Unusually nervous in the car with her. She seemed to notice my fidgeting. Once there, doc didn't say anything new. My magazine had an ad for FOX's Gotham series which featured all of the show's villains. I recognized some of them from watching tv with him at his place, sometime around the beginning of last December. In the soft glow of his floor lamp from IKEA, I didn't see that he'd been letting me down easy. All the villains on the glossy page wore his intentions in dark leather and crazy suits. Yet another show I will never watch again.
Justin texted Mike at dinner and let him know his plans were cancelled, so he's free to stop over before 11pm. Mike said he was going out with friends, but would let him know if he's back before then.
So Justin wrapped an afghan around his shoulders and opened a book. The story was getting better. But at the end of every chapter, he felt restless. Taking a break to watch the fish, pacing. Watching the clock, he extended his availability by an hour.
Mike showed up at 11:45, ready to remove Justin's dorky glasses.
Derrick struggled to get his emotions under control. He hoped looking at neat product on shelves at the drugstore would help. The caps on some bottles of cough syrup were purple with stars. The caps on other, less expensive ones with the same ingredients were a pale violet. Soft fluorescent lighting illuminated the gray carpeting. He took out his phone. Vlad said he was heading home--apparently he was going to wait. Although Derrick didn't think a reason for not being around was warranted, he sent one anyway, remembering Vlad's laugh. His strong arms. Had to take mom to clinic.
I knew I shouldn't have trusted that my clothes would be dry after only 90 minutes in the dryer. But the sheets felt warm, and I didn't want to pay for another cycle, so I took them out along with some towels and whites. I noticed the first signs of dampness in the tips of my socks, and my t-shirts seemed heavier than usual. Next time I'm going to the laundromat if not for myself, but for my boss, who once complained that some of my shirts don't smell laundered. I've had a dozen jobs and never heard complaints.
Was tired today. Worried that I wouldn't be able to stay on top of things, but the day went well. I was in my element. Humm. This brown compared to that one is too bright. Not milky enough. Needs a shot of white. A handsome salesman who looked around my age walked in end of day. Purple dress shirt, a little stocky but fit. His eyes were alert and kind, with a professional edge in his brow. Offered me a better deal. Tonight, E was descriptive and poignant. She brushed her short blonde hair. A sheen. People can revive me.
It's annoying sometimes on my days off. I'll get up, make coffee and sit down with a book, but not even a couple hours later, I'll feel like going back to sleep. I'd make today different by grabbing a fortified breakfast at Athena's, asking for coffee refills often. That early (I believe it was only 7:00) the patronage was light, and the waitress was spunky. Some people seemed to know each other, and I could sense an invisible sense of community if I just came more often. The new paint store next door was strategically owned by Benjamin Moore.
Miranda was tired. She felt a temporary weight off her shoulders as she watched Jon put on his shoes. He was tall, with dirty blonde hair, and exuded a laid back kind of charisma. As he struggled with his right shoe, Miranda smiled and made a comment about his big feet, watching his body language. She hoped he would turn and offer her a hug. But he reached the door without doing so this time, ready to drive home in the snow. If only she'd brushed a wrist against his waist, and she was hesitant to ask him for one.
Dream: Something was seriously wrong with the food processing industry, but no one could identify it yet. People were dying horribly after eating certain types of bread and other baked goods. The grocery store in town was full of angry residents, who demanded that the food they purchased would be guaranteed safe. Whenever we made a delivery, we had to park as close to the entrance as possible. Inside, the yellow afternoon light seemed impure. Some items were labeled safe, but the price was more than double.
I had no idea where such and intricate dream came from.
The new transparent filter had 3 components. A sponge, a bag of carbon and a bag of pellets. First he rinsed the sponge. Next he flattened the carbon to fit snugly against the sides of the basket, on top of the sponge. Last but not least were the pellets. Apparently this is where the beneficial bacteria would propagate, given their rough, gritty surface. So Jebediah dumped the tablets into the mesh bag, closed it with a locking mechanism, and trimmed the excess material. He placed it on top of the carbon. That night he sat contentedly and watched the fish.
Abigail found herself immersed in lush vegetation. It was dark. Recognizing her surroundings by color was impossible. Rather, it was the shape of the leaves she brushed aside that she recognized. Were these corn stalks? Up ahead, a sulfurous light appeared, exposing some of the green. But it was merely the hermit making his rounds. The hermit found meaning in even the simplest life events, like buying a Muscle Milk and coffee cake from the gas station on a snowy morning around 6:00 am. He would relish in the young attendant's brief attention, imagining a felt connection, knowing differently.
Steam rose from a pot of boiling spaghetti, causing drops of condensation to roll down the kitchen window. Michael looked out at the rest of the apartments in the courtyard. Maybe one out of the 12 he saw had a light on inside. Where did everyone else go? No matter. He couldn't think of anywhere else he would be. The temperature was below zero. He'd had a few sips of Chardonnay, and he already called his mom for the second time that day to remind her to take her pills. All of the other chores were done earlier, shivering outside.
The engine sputtered before it ran. Nickel sized flakes of frost decorated the windshield and obscured the black and white. He was a conscientious driver, sensitive to people in his blind spot, occasionally impatient with lights. His coat felt bulky. Slowly, the car began to get warm. Fifteen minutes later and there was a main thoroughfare, lit with sulfurous lights. East and westbound lanes were separated by a median and left hand turns were prohibited. Downtown appeared with quaint street lamps. Some buildings came into view like ghosts. The stage was set, but he wanted more. A drop of Moscata?
It's a luminescent night. There's the bright white of my laptop. The wall in front of me is divided by the entrance to the entrance to the bedroom and the bathroom. Rippling crystal casts geometric patterns on the wall to the right while malleable green casts a halo on the wall to the left. The readout on the digital clock says 11:31. The name of my tv says VIZIO in muted yellow. I need to replace the bulb in my fiber optic display. Its quiet. The heater just clicked on, soon to blow waves of air my limited space.
I signed onto the app this morning and went to my messages. He changed his picture again. It was of his feet lounging in a folding chair by the pool. Deleted. His new screen name. Most of his information had been deleted. He was last on around 3 am. I felt obsessive about this most of the day, frequently checking my messages. Aware that each time I tap the application, I'm lowering my shields, setting myself up for attack, made so by his continued absence. But I just met him two nights ago. Remembering my dad's strength and reserve helped.
Simple tiredness and exhaustion are two different things. When I'm just tired, my eyes droop, but when I'm exhausted, I feel it from head to toe. My eyes don't necessarily droop in this state, but my mind and body feels misaligned with my intention of enjoying more of the evening. I'm reading, but I need to reread often, as if the words are just there to see. Monday was a mistake. Or was it? It doesn't matter anymore. I raised my shields and changed my picture to an acrylic. Deleted my stats. Escaping into myself like steam from a cup.
Writing this from the laptop. Doing so from my new phone feels like cheating for some reason. Like I'm not giving the act of writing more accommodation. Treating it like just another app or text message, often looked at idly during the day when times are slow or uncertain. The increased use of technology has gotten a bad reputation, and I have to agree. I've seen it on the bus. During lunch hour. The phone has become like a tangible object in all of our attention spans. Whenever it gets boring, we grab for it. Oblivious to the present moment.
This time, this place misused, mistakes Too long, too late, who was I to make you wait? Just one chance, just one breath Just in case there's just one left 'Cause you know you know, you know That I love you I have loved you all along and I miss you Been far away for far too long I keep dreaming you'll be with me and you'll never go Stop breathing if I don't see you anymore On my knees, I'll ask last chance for one last dance 'Cause with you, I'd withstand -Nickelback, Far Away, tribute to my twenties.
Corey observed the time on his cell phone. It was already mid-afternoon, and he'd missed a breakfast invite from Steve. Rolling over, he got out of bed and used the bathroom. The mirror told him he didn't look like himself: his face was sweaty and lined with sleep. Quickly, he washed his face with a decomposing bar of soap, the soft mush of glycerin on the top giving his skin a slippery feel. He rinsed and repeated. Thought about spending the day in bed, but he had to do laundry. Last night's exhilaration giving him the courage to continue.
There was one envelope in my mailbox today. Former-fitted, colorful, with succinct handwriting. A birthday card from my dad. I skipped up the stairs and opened the door with a whoosh. Cold air tackled me on the way down to my apartment. In my kitchen I opened the card. A folded bill was inside. The card was humorous, featuring a hippie bird wishing well, a hippie bird day. In his own words, he wished the same for me. The year, 2015, was written in the upper right. I still remember the easy days with him, when the 2000s began.
It's a feeling of acceptance. Mindfulness that is. Simply seeing things for what they are with nothing coloring your perception. I did that today while trying to match a light blue color, surprised that it didn't actually contain any blue; rather, a few drops of green, black and umber I believe. So this is where I'm at right now. A world. There's compulsions and habits, all there in an attempt to feel things are worthwhile. All there to keep going. Our lives being like trains: long, complex, limited to tracks. The blue needed more warmth, so I added some yellow.
I'm just not much of a gamer anymore. I grew up on Nintendo, Super Nintendo and N64 though. And soon, my annual walkthrough of Super Metroid will come due. The perfect game to play in the early Spring, IMO. It's a ritual I've only done twice since moving out of my dad's again. The first was in 2012, when all the space, not so much physical, but emotional, was laid out like an unfolding map. Thinking of the call center's older woman who loves talking. Next year, I thought of the smell of hose water, fountains and mulch, guiding Samus.
There's a party store next to an abandoned night club in a quaint strip mall. The Secretary of State is on the other side, along with some salons and a Mediterranean restaurant. I'm pretty sure why the club never made it. Outside, a large earthen planter was full of cigarette butts and empty beer and soda bottles. The strip mall as a whole was a longshot from being considered upscale like downtown Plymouth a few streets north. Inside, the large party store was empty and smelled musty. There were shelves of microbrews. The place seemed forgotten, not conveniently located anymore.
Today was my birthday. I spent most of the day at home. My friends were all working, and it was cold outside. The book I'm reading is about an underwater research station, trying to dig for alien artifacts beyond the earth's crust. A very enclosed environment, as my apartment was beginning to feel as 5:00 rolled around. Not having any plans, I decided to go out to dinner, debating whether to eat alone or with Steve. He showed up after I ordered and we walked through IKEA afterward. I felt him occasionally eliciting responses: nothing was on my tongue.
Her complexion turned red as the pent up stress was released. She had her boss on the phone, and a triumphant smile. You guys can go ahead and go, she said. So I did, taking my birthday cake, pizza and bread with me. It was a long day, almost 12 hours, but I bought a couple fish and a couple beers on the way home. That night, I put up hexagonal pieces of mirror from IKEA on the wall, smoked, drank a little, watched the fish, changed my profile picture. That's when I noticed the white spots on the fins.
The Tip Jar