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The Citizen Awakes

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The citizen awakes. The citizen awakes after an 8-month sleep with a heart the size of a grape. The citizen awakes when he cries because that’s all he can do. And after he’s done crying and he’s all full and his parents are asleep and he cries again, the citizen awakes. The diaper reeks when the citizen awakes. The citizen awakes and he wants—needs—that new Power Rangers action figure, the blue one with the dragon sword, because it’s just amazing and his mom won’t even consider and he cries and he screams. He decides that mom is so not fair, and he sprints into the living room and grabs the picture of the old man holding his mom as a baby and smashes the frame on the ground, and when mom sees she says words that he’s never heard and didn’t hear since; after that he goes upstairs to his room and doesn’t come down for the rest of the weekend, and the three weekends after that, and when he finally comes down, he gets the Power Rangers action figure, plays with it for a couple hours, and it soon becomes lost in his endless mound of Power Rangers in his closet as it has been replaced by the yellow one with a laser spear; immediately following this the citizen awakes. The citizen awakes with a Power Rangers shirt on a day when his mother had to drag him out of the All-American minivan made in Japan, bright blue and dented and loved oh-so-gently. The citizen, thinking the girls are icky, sees one so beautiful that he knows what the other boys say about them are lies, awakes. The citizen awakes and he still thinks about the girl, and she’s an angel; he sees her everywhere he goes and he knows her voice her eyes her smile her hair her hobbies her. While he does things that don’t belong on paper he thinks about the girl and he thinks about the boy whom she’s with; suddenly the citizen doesn’t like him and suddenly he wants to cry—the citizen awakes. The citizen awakes with perfect grades and the girl goes off to do things that he’d cut off his right arm to participate in; he takes a walk with the sun to his back and this will be his last one. The citizen awakes with a knife in his hands and he doesn’t know where he’s at; he knows d*mn well where he’s at yesnoyesno he has to say something he says something to her. The citizen awoke a few days ago and he found him at her house and they were still clothed but they might as well not have been; get the h*ll away, the boy said and the citizen went nowhere and there was a fist and someone was on the ground; where did the knife go; it’s stuck in his arm; whose arm not the citizen’s arm. The citizen awakes with grades a memory, and she doesn’t look at him anymore; the boy is in the hospital and the citizen walks the halls with the people parting like he was Moses; he might die from the citizen and his f***ing crazy ways, they say all around him. The citizen awakes with a needle in his arm, her face plastered into his mind just one kiss just one word pleaseplease help me it’s goneitisgone. The citizen awakes, frozen in time and it’s wonderful; who is she and she doesn’t exist but he does and he loves him. The citizen awakes with tears in his eyes, and he feels bad about it and it’s all about her again. The citizen awakes to visit the hospital and tells the boy he’s sorry. He tells the boy that he loves her with all of his heart, and he just cries after the citizen awakes. The citizen awakes after he tells her that he loves her and the police are called but he’s gone anyways and jail is just jail it’s not the end of the world anyways and what the h*ll are grades? There is poison everywhere. When the he goes to the city miles away from suburbia and he still has to sleep under streetlights because he can’t sleep in the dark, the citizen awakes. The citizen awakes and he steals money from suburbia and his parents and Indian-owned grocery stores and pancake shops and drug dealers for more needles filled with funny liquids. The citizen awakes to stick more needles into his arms and soon his arms don’t cut it anymore. When he’s hungry, the citizen awakes and raids trashcans and takeout windows. The citizen awakes for more needles. The citizen awakes for two years of needles in his veins and he’s on the corner begging for pennies, telling the pedestrians that he’s hungry but he’s not. The citizen awakes and sees pictures of himself in Walmart. At night, the citizen awakes and thinks of the girl and mother and father and even the boy and they all think he’s dead; he should be dead. The citizen awakes six months later and there are more needles and then he sees the girl and the girl sees him with Abercrombie bags in her hands; the girl cries the citizen cries they all cry and the citizen hugs her and the girl hugs the citizen; the girl smells like flowers and the citizen smells exact like a person in his situation should smell like; the girl tells the citizen that the boy and the girl were engaged to be married, but she broke it off: the boy was sleeping with ‘like fifteen girls’ and the citizen laughs because the citizen knew that the boy was an ungrateful pig. The citizen awakes and he laughs and then they tell each other that they’ll have coffee on Thursday evening and so they have coffee on Thursday evening, in a dimly lit cafe. The citizen had awoken earlier that morning and showered in a public shower and went to a thrift store to buy new clothes a size too small because that’s all they had and she tells him the truth. When he hears what she has to say; the citizen awakes and the citizen hurt her on that day, when he drove a knife into the boy’s arm and she cried about that for two weeks but in the end she never figured out why she was crying—maybe it was over the boy, or maybe it was because that there was this underlying voice telling her that the citizen was just misunderstood and he just wanted to be loved, and a part of her would always love him no matter what the citizen did. And the citizen awakes after they stare into each other’s eyes and it’s beautiful and the girl asks the citizen to drive back with her and he agrees and so they go and when they get back, he kisses her and she doesn’t fight it because it’s just f***ing how it’s supposed to have been since day one and, for some unknown reason, the citizen thinks of Power Rangers again. The citizen awakes and he knows that the knife years ago has been forgiven she forgives him she forgives the knife she forgives everything that has ever been in doubt of being forgiven. This is what the citizen awakes for, this is why he’s been awake for so long and he loves her and she loves him, or she thinks she does, at least, and there is nothing in this world that could ever be greater than this. The citizen awakes to see her lying next to him in suburbia, and the citizen looks at his arms and he loves her so much. The citizen, shaking and wanting to cry, awakes to write her a note about how a citizen such as himself is not a positive impact on society and being with her would just ruin everyone in her life including herself and she is going to do big things in her life and the citizen is just too far gone and has done too many unspeakable things to ever change and to ever show the girl the love he feels for her and she deserves and this will be the last time she will ever see him, alive at least, and that he’s loved her since the first time he saw her with a Power Rangers shirt on the first day of kindergarten and that, no matter what, do something with your life, because you only get one and the citizen realized that too late. The citizen awakes with a PS to tell his parents that he’s sorry for what he’s done to them, but he’s at peace with himself and he wishes them nothing but the best. And with that, the citizen awakes; he walks out of the door and pauses once more to see the most beautiful thing he has ever seen, and he hopes that she truly does do something with her life, and she truly will end up in the arms of a man that loves her as much as the citizen does. He closes the door, the citizen awakes. Four more weeks pass, and the citizen moves north, where one cold night he falls asleep under a streetlight having stuck countless needles in his legs and his neck and his hands and he is ready to go to sleep and never wake up, and the citizen sleeps. The citizen sleeps, he watches from above, in the puffy winter clouds, as they lay his body into the ground and the girl cries on the shoulders of the citizen’s mother. The boy is there too, but he doesn’t say anything, and he can’t decide if he should be angry or happy or sad or hurt and while he’s just staring at the citizen’s coffin, the girl approaches him and rips the diamond-studded ring off her left finger and places it in his hand, the citizen sleeps as he watches. The citizen sleeps, and the girl drives off, so incredibly awake.



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