Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dodging Responsibility.

Shoe polish kicked my face back up at me, a reflection sharper than any other. The deal was done – laid upon whatever table stood, and those greasy, little hands were clapping somewhere. I knew in my head, at least.
I took to the street that Tuesday morning and walked North. Hands stuffed in my pockets, I stared down, watching my mirror image come and go on those black shoe tops. Occasionally, I’d glance up, catching myself in the store windows. A smile would form, but the sight read incorrect, sending eyes only back to feet.
The sun lit the breath seething from my mouth, and the top button of my wraparound, grey coat wouldn’t clasp, creating a breach for the chill.
The mantra rolled on repeat. I knew better, but like any addict my decay knew a certain righteousness. It stoked me even, this Negative, moving me toward the social cusp while happiness left others tolerant and slack. I took odd pride in the thought. That the lie failed to bait me as it did so many. Maybe I was necessary.
Calexico. A classic pit stop of a town, it sat beneath foreign objects, forcing the natives to sniff out their old haunts. The city planners, happy with any opportunity, couldn’t draw fast enough. They were ready to execute and frame the new model. A fact visible with each and every drudge across town.
At 3rd Street, I turned left to head up Heber Ave. Already late, I couldn’t care. Five minutes meant nothing; ten just as so. The new gig left me anxious and ill, and this Tuesday deserved a bullet, certainly. I wanted nothing but that twin size back in the dark. Beds were meant to be crawled into, I thought, not left.
My skin itched, and I wondered if the guy with the shaggy, black hair and declarative eyes could tell as he approached, parallel to his side of the sidewalk.
“Bet he can,” I told myself.
Five feet off, and I still couldn’t decide whether or not to smile at him. It seemed too painful – a disingenuous ploy to secure a destructive end. Instead, I flirted with the sidewalk, and he passed on, like so many others.
Twelve minutes now.
The deal clung to me. I’d work – writing travelogues, freelance lurid tales of the underground for foreign magazines – all in hope of moving on and up to the wanted role. Which made sense. The world favored those roadblocks, but they never sat well with me. I grew tired of wasting effort on the mundane, having my true desire undercut by the lobby, and those greasy hands rubbing laminated the whole emotion.
At the end of Herber, I sat at a coffee shop. I needed the kick today. Inside, the baristas scuffled about, and the literature hounds, with their scarves, hung onto their conversations and faces.
I waited and caught the early morning sun beams streaming through the front window of the shop. They danced down to the table which sat dead center of the frame. I wondered what made those beams seem so sharp, crisp and directed. Like crystals.
Cell phone vibrated. Messages sprawled across the display.
“Where are you?”
“Ur late!”
Now they own me, I thought. Even here on the street.

No comments: