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I picked it up, inexpertly rolled and dimpled with air pockets, the sweet scent of escape reeking through its crinkly exterior. A frigid breeze ripped through my coat, cutting a jagged swath of cold into my body, down to my toes and numbing my skin. My friends all held the same dazed look, the shock of winter permeating their souls.
“What the hell happened to global warming?”
We shivered and nodded in unison, our teeth chattering, and then giggled uncontrollably, sobering up when we saw the one homeless man in our town who purveyed our recycling bins and patronized the couples who strolled along the park.
“It’d be just like an eternal summer. We could beach it everyday.”
“Yeah, but the Earth would explode or something.”
“Who cares? We could enjoy ourselves before everything disappeared.”
We walked on, crunching snow beneath our feet, each of us lost in thought.
“I did a current events project on the Kenyan genocide.”
“I don’t understand people. I think I hate people.”
“I don’t hate people, I hate current events.”
We laughed again, easily switching from talking about genocide to the sketchy looking teacher who liked to pat our arms whenever we talked. I gave the joint to my friend after taking a hit, breathing in deeply and closing my eyes as the smoke burned my throat, dove into my lungs, and then clamored around my head, knocking down my anxieties and building up a barrier of calm.
“It’s ridiculous really. All these people messing around, messing everything and everybody up, and then we’re gonna end up cleaning it up. Us! Look at us! We can’t do anything.”
“I think we’re productive.”
“No, we’re not! God, we’re not going anywhere, are we?”
“Aren’t we going to get food?”
“I don’t have any money how are we going to get food?”
“Can you guys shut up?”
“No, you shut up!”
“Chill, guys.” The philosophical debate ended, the horror of reality dispersed and we kept walking, step after wayward step, following our hungry stomachs to our next destination.
We follow this pattern of remark, realization, ambivalence, and retort all the time, ending up disillusioned by our detachment from life beyond savoring every moment with each other.
One spark and we incinerate, blazing our way through whether blinded by passion or grounded by reality, we live, constantly searching. And we’ll ignore everything around us, so focused on enjoyment, on immediate rewards, pleading apathy to the self-destructing world that inundates our consciousness.