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It’s cold as hell and the sun is a white hole in the bleached blue of the sky.
There are these kids all over the place, little creatures with bright eyes and tangled hair, yelling to each other as they dodge the arc of wildly punted soccer balls. Most of them aren't wearing coats. I feel like I should take mine off and give it to one of them, but they don’t seem to care. The way they’re running around grinning like maniacs you’d think this was the best day of their lives.
Grown ups move on the periphery of the excitement, marching along like close-lipped automatons. I keep expecting them to make some kind of some kind of sound, but the trees have lost their leaves so none are left to crackle underfoot. All I can hear is the arrhythmic patter of various kinds of soles hitting the pavement.
Do you ever see people in their private, intimate moments—like when they stop in front of a store window and have to fix their hair a little or sing along with the radio as they cruise the freeway—and you suddenly have so much love for them you feel like you’re dying?
People are people and every time I think about that I feel so sad and filled up I can barely breathe.
I cross one leg over the other, sinking into the unforgiving planks of the park bench, and fumble with a cigarette, finally managing to light the damn thing and clench it between my teeth for a long, dizzy drag.
I repulse myself for indulging in such an unpleasant habit, but anything to stop the hammering in my head, my chest, my heart.
All I want is to be home, sitting in fluttering firelight while skimming a novel of trivial importance just for the pleasure of it, fingers curled around a mug of coffee so black it makes my teeth vibrate, exempt from this churning loneliness. But I can’t. I’m no longer welcome there. The battering of fists, knuckles, and kneecaps I received earlier is still embedded in my flesh, making it ache and throb. My mouth is full of the warm, stinging memory of salt and iron.
Blood. As thick and bright as paint.
I struggle to my feet, but when I walk forward I move like someone who’s already dead. Stiff and jolting, a pile of badly connected bones. I clench my jaw and pray the tobacco's chemical miasma will engulf me soon.
The funny thing is that I always thought getting thrown out would feel like this excruciating, roaring pain, the fierce kind of grief that turns you into a cadaverous beast. I didn’t think it would be like this. There’s no power in it, no control. You spend all this time convincing yourself that you’re indestructible, but Newton’s never wrong and you fall, fall fall.
Maybe it’s the sleeping pills I take that are responsible for this sudden plunging sensation, but they can’t be, because I stopped taking them. Because they’re a human invention and I don’t have a use for that anymore. I don’t even feel human.
I push up my sleeve and stare blankly at my watch. The hands are ticking cheerily away. Time doesn't matter, I realize. It doesn't matter how many hours, minutes, seconds, and heartbeats have elapsed since—since then. It doesn’t matter, because it’s never going to get better, not really, because it’s never going to stop hurting so why keep track of time?
It will hurt until the minute I die. That’s precise enough for me.