The things you think of, late at night when the hours have stretched long past the point of no return. You are just trying to calm your mind down You just want to let it all go and surrender to the mercy of sleep.
First and foremost: You are absolutely certain that there have been roughly seven thousand, seven hundred and sixty nights that you have spent just like you are spending this one. That’s twenty-one years. Twenty-one years of sleeplessness and dread coming for you at night. Twenty-one years of late night hours passing in crawling flesh.
If your feel like being honest, or melodramatic (you can’t always tell the difference.) you could call it an even ten thousand. Ten thousand, nine hundred and fifty-seven point twenty-seven. That’s roughly thirty years. You did the math. You remember being six years old watching the crack of light from the hallway in your childhood room, waiting for the radio to lull you to sleep.
“This is Power 96! Greater Miami’s party station giving you greater South Florida’s dance hits all night long.”
The red lights on the clock radio change almost imperceptibly. 2:27, 2:28. It’s a school night, even. You wonder how you will pay attention to you lessons tomorrow. You wonder how all the other people up this late at night are occupying their time. You wonder what the streets of quiet neighborhood are like this late at night. You get a sinking feeling that the clock might as well read 2:28 AM for the rest of your goddamn life.
You think of all the time passed since your childhood room. You think of all the nights, in all the rooms that led to this one. Childhood, childhood’s end, and adolescence and onto the rigors and ruins of adulthood. Each year, you swear is gonna be different. Each year you find yourself right here; in another empty feeling room, late at night holding court with your own ruined nerves.
You think about them. Oh, how you hate thinking about them. Really, you just hate thinking about love. You loathe thinking about anyone you’ve ever thought you loved, or said you loved, convinced yourself you loved. You convince yourself that love is just some bullshit word lesser humans say. Something we say to justify our appetites, or fill our cavernous voids. The thought of being vulnerable right now makes you shudder.
The hours crawl, and you convince yourself you’re so above it all. You find a certain sickness in being soft. You hate yourself only a little bit for letting them in. You marvel at how we reach into each other and sink our teeth into the most tender parts. We get a taste of forever. We sate those hungers. We come and go.
The minutes pass like pouring rain flooding gutters outside the window. You are absolutely sure now, that you have never been loved, and have maybe never loved anyone in return. You know you have been everyone’s favorite maladjusted mutant since the day you rode your skateboard to the cemetery in eighth grade. Rumbling wheels rolling past crumbling civil war graves, she’s standing there beneath the graveyard trees. You make out in the summer breeze. Her mouth tastes like cigarettes and lip smackers. You finish kissing. She makes a joke about your dick, and you skate home.
“My friends will never know.”
“Oh, I know.”
You laugh to yourself as you skate home, because it’s all so fucking hysterical. It’s all so fucking cheap.
You wonder what that girl grew up to be. While you’re at it, you wonder about the boy who called you a faggot every day, but then asked you to suck his dick in the locker room when no one was around. You wonder if they grew up bruised and without hope just like you. You could look them up on facebook if you wanted and make fun of their ugly kids and shitty tattoos. It’s not that late. You remind yourself that you don’t actually care, and when was the last time you went to Pennsylvania anyway? You certainly fucking write about it enough though. Six years in a place that felt like it was too small raised by people who wouldn’t let you stand tall, and motherfuckers wonder how you got so hostile.
Like you could ever stop. You know some things they’ll never know.
The hours crawl behind four walls. You’re spiraling now, remembering it all. You remember every last step and misstep, stumble and fall, all the time hard spent with so little to show at all. You are absolutely sure that the world you knew is gone, and everyone else has moved on. You are absolutely sure that you are still staring out through alien eyes and the world never actually had a place for you at all. The hour is late now, and no one is going to call.
You have now convinced yourself you can’t breathe, even though you can. You worry you might just die in your sleep. This is a familiar and funny dance you’ve danced before. You think of it as a well-known, and much loved song. Coughing black mold out of your lungs and clutching at a lover’s sheets for a bummer of a summer. There’s no lover-comfort offered tonight. You wouldn’t want it anyway. You are alone and you ask for no quarter.
You smile. Finding glory in the rasping pain of being alive. A moment’s certainty creeps in. Maybe death is still stalking you, but you are pretty sure it’s neither heaven or oblivion waiting for you in the sky above. You thank your blessed and still breathing body for pushing through the night. You give thanks for all the nights before this one that could never hope to swallow you whole.
You think about your reckless and not so reckless youth rusted and left long behind. In the morning the light will creep ever so slightly through the blinds. You think about your excuses. You think about your failure to thrive. You think about your failure. You still worry there might be no future, even though you’re living in it. You still think dying young is stupid. You still feel too obstinate to do anything other than die of old age. So you push through, like always. Most of all; you soften and think about love, and how you are luck to have loved and been loved so much.
Or if we truly are in the end times, you could at least go home and die with your friends when the hammer fucking drops and it’s lights out on the world one last time. That doesn’t sound like the worst option either. You always had a feeling you and your one friend were going to die in a hail of bullets together anyway.
You think about the hidden and holy world you inhabit. The world of fucked up noise filling crowded rooms made by mutants bruised and never quite broken, just like you. You decide there’s time for one more song. One more song to calm your nerves before the mercy of sleep, better make it a good one. You flip the record over. In the silenced that fills the air, you wonder if you’ve ever been home at all. The needle drops and a hiss, and the spirit of sound rushing to fill the void.
Of course. You don’t know where else you ever would have gone.