The young man emerges in front of the condominium where he lives. He greets the old receptionist who unlocks the door for him. The door was custom to be locked past the certain threshold of night. The young man mumbles a chimera of mandarin and cantonese expressing thanks. He is stopped—he has a package waiting for him. A package?—he does not know what he ordered. The box weighs quite heavy—the contents couldn’t possibly be meant for him, most certainly not his mother?—yes, no, the label reads his name.
The second door on the second floor succumbs to the key and the young man is home. The young man places the package on the floor, because anything that comes from the outside couldn’t touch the kitchen counter—the surface, because germs linger on the surface, and because germs have been morphing mean in recent days. The young man stands around. He understood common sense enough to leave the box alone until morning—a morning with sun, as mother had been sleeping, and making unnecessary noise was a mistake learned and self-corrected long ago. Stealth—self-taught to great use, however, meant that he had the choice of opening the box—and he does so because he can, because he refuses Curiosity credit, and because it was a box that needed to be opened simply by virtue of what a box means.
—The insides dark stare back. The young man doesn’t react, as he had been high out of his mind, and wasn’t sure if what he saw was a cruel joke by someone he knew, or if he had finally killed himself—and hell had been, by the margin, better than he expected. Neither—the young man is usually wrong. And it’s not only the young man’s fault, because everyone shifts through difficult situations like clothing—a moment in anticipation hardly relevant to think about, waiting—really, once feeling dirty, to sum the feeling most of the time, until at last to wash off—and it is normal, after, to fiddle with the clean until dirty again when silence caresses sleep too alive to remember the journey; the young man of young men going to his room to lie on a cloud—not the end. Something is moving behind the wall, he thinks.
I am not wont to be fond of the vile taste that permeates the mouth on the morning-afters. Vile by a valley voracious still dry—the appetite pleading an alarm clock, as it will, on the worst of days. A right hand of habit blurs my eyes until clear of rheum and dust. Where is this tissue from?—oh, let’s toss that. I restrain a scream alongside stretches to further relax tension in the shoulders and spine, and I mend cricks to the tune as to instill habit by repetition—a trick by levity, so it should, but by the book—I think not. Had I showered? Demure to be spread on my chair, yesterday’s shirt—ah, so I did. The yawn comes and feels pleasant. Sleep in smog I would not say is so bad a practice moreso than the onset of habit—by which I’m guilty, yet who has not a shameful habit?—if not shame the pillows of our mattress, beckoning us familiar allure intimate on the daily—I am but normal! Normal, then, did I again stretch and yawn, check my phone to two messages: one by my friend, and one by my fawn, and drink water from a bottle half-empty until empty—still desiring more.
I am become phone: the stick man speaks to the straw man, and the lover speaks to the love. Chat concurrent!—to appreciate tiny beauty in the portrait ugly, I find, can brighten any day—and people call me a pessimist! People like people willing to use pessimism colloquial, that is people I hope to know but don’t at the moment, so that is no one. I used to converse with my cat, but not anymore. I hear my phone ringing.
. . . I am not irritated by the slightest, if you will, whims to bow to complains just to waltz hips aligned; I am patient, I’ve been patient, and can be for more than I want to. What then, raging tantrums by isolation a beast in shadows—but what then! The sensible and sane choice to feed and sate on the occasions, to awake and repeat again, to repeat and awake again, if not to fear the hydra or it’s illusion emerged from the haze upon approaching! I wish she would not subvert my words; damp clay, and her fingers molding loquacious blame—my frustration at the artistry! I compliment her work, yet, and all is fine. Love, doves with wings loose, not really love, actually, I really only loved once, really.
You disseminate familial love, romantic love, and another love that you know is love because it doesn’t feel like anything like the first two, and it’s been gone for a time you don’t want to describe, because you know the exact time and date of when it left, and waking up reminds you that it’s gone—the medication to help you sleep also gone. Kneading your green cotton blanket amid your fingers, you listen to your latest excursion speaking sharp to your balloon about your medication and the night. A toy knife—and you bounce back lackadaisical, because you know she holds no ill-will in her words, and it’s an innocence weaved of silk that rubs against disgusting you quite ecstatic. You promise a promise you promised before, probably. You like going to bad places, but coming home doesn’t work as a remedy anymore. You end the call and the voice that had accompanied you leaves. You mourn for the girl. You ponder your next meal, but decide to refrain from going outside, as the journey takes a fair while amidst expenses, and you can be patient.
When you walk out, your mother is in the kitchen already. You don’t hate your mother, because you had realized that the infection began earlier in the chain, and once you had compared your rust—minor flecks to her orange complexion, you had felt your blood pale by how you treated the woman as you had for a while, and you swore upon a terrible event that you would mend what’s left by the needle—needleless or not. Yet, still, there are days when you forget this, and you nonetheless unleash the suppression. You feel good. You feel horrible. You feel horrible. You remember who you can be when you are not you. She gets out of your way after ending her cigarette. You don’t say anything, because there is nothing to say. You search for your medication because it has been a nice companion with coffee to begin the morning. While you look for your lighter, you see something moving, you think. Your box enters your peripheral.
You remove the contents from the box and place it on the counter. You take the box out into the balcony. When you were a child and mother became a demon again from a recurring habit by the month, you would retreat to the attic and beat up boxes to vent your pain and muffle your fear while your cat napped away content and spread care-free. When you were done destroying the boxes, your trembling body would collapse, and your cat would stroll over and jump into your lap for bum pats and chin scratches. You had forgotten about mother and mother’s screaming. You had been happy. You break up the box like a normal human being and set it aside to be tossed later. You pick up a note that had slipped out as you dismantled the box proper: ‘Sorry about the backorder! Here, a complimentary case of INABA Churu Lickable Creamy Purée Cat Treats Tuna Recipe and Chicken Recipe Canister of 50 Tubes in addition to your original order! Won’t you please leave a review on our website?’ You fold the note, because you lack the method to properly kill the note, properly, by the measure. You pick up the container resting on the counter—the cover cat kinda’ looks like yours. You laugh. You laugh. You cry. You laugh. You’re home.