I sip. The room is quiet and dark but light is starting to peak through the edge of the blinds. You hate these blinds, but you say you won't have to put up with them much longer because when you get a bigger place you'll get those nice, slated, big Venetian blinds that look like bamboo. I take another sip. The table is small and crunched up against the windows with a refrigerator off to my left that hums and dares to vibrate the two bottles of rum and Poland Springs gallon of water off its top like it is slowly shaking off a responsibility. It never does, and the day it might I won't see it. Another sip. A red, red, red countertop glistens only on the parts you wiped down this morning from a casual spill of white, white, white cereal milk. The vague memory of wiping down a white wall that had suddenly turned red comes to mind, knocks on the door, a d leaves again. Ding dong ditch. I take a sip. The tea has been gone for minutes now. I bite into the delicate metal tipped rim of the cup, china with a hint of industrial revolution around its revolution. It is the same temperature of my mouth. I bite harder, and harder, and harder. The front door opens to the coffee shop and there are strange looks from the entering customers at the person silently staring at the window. There are teeth marks in my waxy cardboard travel cup. There are steel holes in each of my heart valves. Spilling red, red, red.
I put up a screen in the middle of the living room. It was a soft Gray, like the streaked marble tile that he had laid down in the bathroom downstairs. His own two hands, laying down grout while sweat pooled in that small Valley between the shoulder blades where a tattoo that he was embarrassed of lay as well. Like a thrown away mural at the bottom of the Clear Lake. The screen took up the entire center of the living room, one burnt October orange wall to the other. I looked at my work, the screen fit in perfectly between my horribly artistic and forgotten vinyl records and his atrociously new and modern flat screen TV. The screen felt like two sides to a world that had broken into a million pieces. Just two though, we can pick up the rest later. That's way too many worlds for someone on a budget, a tight tight budget. The screen loomed over the whole room, it even started taking up room on the ceiling and crawled its way to the front foyer and started dribbling itself up the stairwell like it was searching for the eaves of the attic and wouldn't rest until it found that one Skylight that we hadn't fixed yet. What it would find along the way; weird dabs of spackle that hadn't been sanded, molding but still held bent and broken and deformed Staples, a dust rabbit forming in the corner like it was Easter. I stood back and admired the screen as it changed from a soft clouded gray to a dark Angry Cloud. As the screen divided me from the rest of the house I calmly pocketed my lighter and walked out the back door, wondering if my sleeping other half upstairs would admire the screen I put up in the living room between him and the stairs.
Nothing has meaning, any of it. Meaningless, voids, blackness, darkness. all of it is on a path and you're on that path and we're all on that same god damned path and you know where it's taking us? to the end, that's it. No, that doesn't mean a thing either. It's all the same, where you're going where I'm going where she went where he was all of it. There's not a sunset that's going to change your life, you're not going to find God in a puddle, you're not going to see a forest and just KNOW that it has something to do with what is coming for you. Bull shit. you're in control, here and now and then and forever you make the choices. You are driving, who would get into a car and just say "Go" and not think they can pipe up if you're heading towards a cliff? Guess that's what the taxi fare is for, guess we're both supposed to veer into oblivion. Horse shit. Control the wheel, be the driver, race down the cliff for another day and another sunset and sunrise and tell yourself where you're going. Symbolism, hot patootie, you know what I see when I look at a rose? My grandmother, because they were her favorite. you know what that rose means to me? Seeing my wife smile. Symbolizing love and friendship and that's for the english teachers of advanced lit to tell ya until you pass the test and get on out of there. In the mean time, eat the food and love the art and see the colors of the ocean and stop assigning your arbitrary shit to random acts of consciousness and just. Fucking. Live. There's a lot to life, everything doesn't need extra meanings.
"Rare" she ordered, picking up a wine glass in the palm of her hand and sipping her Chardonnay. Obviously an amateur trying to look fancier than she appeared. She batted eyes that were poorly lathered with eye liner, she 'coyly' adjusted her somehow ever falling nylons that just couldn't seem to stay put on her thighs, and she placed her glass down far enough across the table to let her hand invitingly rest near his.
"Now, tell me, your mother had such wonderful things to say about you, what did she tell you about me Erik?" As he debated recalling his mother's desperate pleas of 'She's not that bad' or his favorite 'Just don't look at her fake tits' he couldn't help but smile. It was 8:07pm, he'd already been on this horrid date well past his usual time allotted to this triviality, and she had yet to drop a common line like 'Our families really do get along well'.
Even so, he adjusted his tie again and started.
"She said you had a sense of humor I would enjoy, and that you knew your way around a dart board." She faltered, ignorable brown eyes widening since this was not what a lady in waiting should be known for.
"Oh my, what a charmer I must sound like! But really, I wouldn't go anywhere near a dart board anymore, I much more care for my poetry now." She tried to recover the slip of humanity with a dainty hand laying across her doctor approved chest.
"Ah yes poetry," he said honestly, pulling away from the table and pushing it back in while grabbing his coat from a near by hook. "My boyfriend also enjoys poetry, but he's begun reading more Tolstoy lately. Maybe you'll meet him soon, you can discuss your literary background."
She had the flicker of annoyance pass through her brows, but they stayed in place with the same look of shock and a devilish conviction only found in those in he midst of an act. The waiter came by the table and placed her food down, wafting with heat and a delicious aroma that made even his stomach grumble. Before the gentleman, he placed a take out bag and a slip of paper. The man signed it quickly and finished placing his coat around his shoulders as the waiter departed.
The woman looked none the darling wilting rose as she had when she first walked into the five star restaurant, no not a trace of the comfortable vixen remained.
"You fag, you've turned down every girl from our family, even fucking Melinda who's a dyke herself! You're gonna hear from my father, you're gonna be the reason our families go broke!" As she shouted he calmly placed the take out under his arm, and with the other hand swiped a finger through her garlic herb potatoes.
"Mmm... Harold, your brother is doing a great job with the food!" he shouted to a nearby table, the man smiling back at him. "And Amanda, my guy is going to need your services tomorrow, I think he pulled his tricep when we went to the gym and you KNOW he won't listen to me." He said, getting a chuckle and a light hearted reply from a woman near the back of the room.
The woman across the table from him looked uglier as the room got smaller and smaller, filled with people who were not on her side.
"You hold white wines by the stem sweetie, red wines in your palm. Enjoy your dinner, my family IS paying for it after all."
I always hated the phrase "The difference between extraordinary and ordinary is that little extra". It's aggravated me since I was little. What's to say someone plain, middle of the road, average can't in their own way be the center of someone's universe? What's to say, the girl with a stable job without drama and who's always going to pick up the phone when you call, isn't the sun to someone's day? Ordinary, so demeaning. To say that something is ordinary almost comes with a taste in your mouth of plain white rice. No salt, no seasoning, barely enough water to make it wiggle down your gullet. Some people need the ordinary, some people want the on par and long for the mediocre. Some people cringe at the extraordinary, want the simplicity that comes with consistency. How is that a bad thing? Yes, it's always nice to strive for that 'extra', to get our your crazed sense of self and wave it like a light wave of brilliance. To go over the top, to not stop, to jump and hop on any chair or stage that gives you the time of day. To stretch yourself so thin, so minuscule, so soccer mom of the year there for everyone to cheer at the highlight of the Facebook news feed. But, what about the person with the same number for ten years? The one who always had that red backpack you could see from across the street that no matter how many feet or years came between you, it was them? What about the kid, struggling just for a B to pass his class, not top of the Dean's list but trying his hardest for a state of "Just enough"? The difference between extraordinary, and ordinary, is just five silly squiggles and a change of perspective.
The kids sat quietly at the high glossy Ikea kitchen table. The father sat quietly at the high glossy Ikea bar stool. The mother walked quietly around the low, gurgling, radiating oven like it was a clock at a train station, never the right time but you still had to watch it. Closely, just in case, you knew what time you had to be ready for, but still watch in case a minute slipped by without telling you. A ding, a nice soft quiet glossy Ikea ding. And there, it was done, the feast for the evening. The kids turned, the father turned, the mother stooped down low and calculated. “There” the father called “Just what was needed”. Placed at the only high glossy empty seat at the Ikea table, on the bone white Martha Stewart china, with a delicate Saturday Night Live napkin and the Right Wing stainless steel cutlery was the all American meal of the evening. “When do we get another dog?” asked the all American daughter. “Next thanksgiving” said the all American mom.