Yesterday, I came home to find this woman in my house. She was sitting in my favorite spot on the couch hunched forward with elbows on knees, her hands held up her head. She was counting out loud her tears as they dropped from her eyes straight onto the carpet, twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five. I pretended she wasn’t there and sat down on the opposite side of the couch, pulled a cigarette out of the plastic container that was on the living room table, flicked my Bic and lit my cigarette, I dropped the Bic to the floor and leaned back.
My eyes focused across the room to the computer screen where photographs were displayed one by one. There were photographs of what had long ago ceased to exist, a city where I no longer can be, the face of who I no longer know, and other faces I haven’t seen in person for years, some faces even more than that. Who are these people? What, what, filled my mind but I had nothing to say.
The cell phone rang and buzzed, I looked over to the woman who still hadn’t moved, why isn’t she answering the phone? She’s strange, I thought. I looked at the phone on the marble table and was hypnotized by the ring buzz combination. When the phone settled, I stood up, bent over and smashed the cigarette out in the ashtray, “that’s it for me,” I said, the woman started laughing but she didn’t move.
I went through the open sliding glass door and stood on the back patio and wondered when the grass had died. I looked up to the sky and asked, as always, “how can the sky be blue in hell?” A bird flew overhead, loudly, I yelled over my shoulder to the woman inside, “wow, it’s a bird!” I can’t believe a bird flew by. I recalled the first and last time I saw a small airplane in the sky, so long ago, my gaze remained fixed on the sky. I thought whether anyone knew I’m alive? I should water the dead grass.
When I turned on the water for the hose a stream of water shot out through a small cut in the hose and cold water hit the side of my leg. I always forget about that cut. I sprayed the water back and forth over the dead grass and counted each back and forth up to five, then I took a step back and started again. Between the old wooden boards of the fence are gaps, I looked for a moment at the one I used last year to witness the shooting across the street. Three, four, five. Someone started to yell, “Give me your hand, now! Stop, I said stop, give me your fucking hand.” I dropped the hose and went to the same gap. The deep voice repeated the command. I couldn’t see what was going on but I thought is was someone resisting the police. I climbed onto the garbage container and looked over the fence and across the street.
Unbelievable, what the hell is she doing? A fat woman, I assumed to be a stupid mother, was yelling obscenities at a young child who stood not far from her. Immediately, I went into protector mode. I watched as the fat mother took hold of the child’s shirt and yanked her forward. She cursed at the child and that was enough for me. I became infuriated and yelled, “Hey, what the hell are you doing, dumbass, you can’t do that to a child, damn, seriously, you need a parenting class!” She kept on walking and I jumped down from the container. Right, last fall, after I was beaten by a female gang member the advice given by a friend living in Colorado, “don’t agitate the natives.” I forgot about that. I picked up the hose from the ground and started to count again, one, two, three.
My mind drifted to thoughts of when, when was the last time I had a conversation with someone? The checker at the supermarket she was the last one I could remember. I decided she didn’t count; all she said to me was 52.74, and I replied okay. That was three weeks ago. Have I eaten? I don’t think I’ve eaten today. Whatever. Does anyone think about me, I’m the only one who gets forgotten. I don’t belong here.
I finished watering and went back inside. I sat down on the couch in the same spot, I hunched forward with elbows on knees, my hands held up my head, I looked over to the woman but she was gone. I started to count out loud my tears as they dropped from my eyes straight onto the carpet, one, two, three…am I ever going to wake up?