PROSE

 

When The World Is All Wrong

Alex Ziperovich

 

When walking on the street in the rain feels like being water boarded, when your mirror seems to be growing a deep hatred for you every time you look into it, when the girl you love becomes a living example of the pain you inflict, when your mom that died a thousand times in a thousand different ways trying to keep you alive won’t stop loving you and you don’t know why.

 

It’s then that you begin to imagine that you’re in a place that doesn’t want you around, a place where you don’t belong. Like a couple checking into a glamorous hotel dressed in rags carrying ripped suitcases. Like an obese freshman in high school eating candy in the bathroom stalls during lunch, trying desperately not to bump into the other smirking students in the halls. Like a student at a university addicted to heroin wearing long sleeves on hot days, telling people he’s just hung over when he comes in with skin a shade of gray, losing consciousness by the end of most classes and being woken up by a knowing looking professor full of judgment and disdain. Like a bird that can’t fly. Like a cheetah that can’t run. Like a cloud that can’t float. Like a beach with no ocean. Like a man with no penis. Like a writer too addicted to drugs to write or find happiness or anything that isn’t meaningless.

 

You walk and you try to be something, anything that makes you worthy of your surroundings but you fail and you don’t know why and it tortures you. The women all look at you as if you were a mutant even though you aren’t bad looking and the men look at you as if you were a used Kleenex. Sometimes the only possible thing you can do is stare deep up into the sky and mouth the word WHY?, at whoever’s up there pulling the strings, laughing hysterically as we die.

 

It gets too hard and you think about giving up but you keep pushing because you know other people have it worse but it’s too much sometimes. You think of buying some kind of gun just as a novelty or for protection and you start visiting a pawn shop and some gun stores.

 

One day you get the feeling that a beautiful woman is beckoning you with her eyes at a bar as you sit stooped on your stool with your morning boilermaker attempting to feel human and so you gather yourself together and you try to stand tall and you try to make eye contact and right as you begin to introduce yourself she nods her head like you gave her something she didn’t want and you realize she wasn’t looking at you at all but at the man next to you, to the left, and he didn’t realize it until you had sidled up to her close with all of your hopes and your dreams of something new, something better and real.

 

That day changed everything inside you and after your shift at the factory or the plant or whatever you call a place where you lift raw hundred pound bricks of frozen raw beef into a grinder all day you go to your roach filled apartment and you lay on your bed staring at the cracks in the ceiling and you patiently decide that life is too difficult for someone like you and that you weren’t meant for it in the first place and that the only crime would be continuing to suffer and pretend, being in a place that doesn’t want you, has no use for you except lifting frozen bricks of meat.

You hear a man and a woman through the paper thin walls making passionate love and you listen to the forty five minutes of the expression of the beauty of humanity and then you hear the clicking of cigarette lighters and something about the fact that they both needed to quit before they had a baby followed by soft laughter and even softer words impossible to discern, sitting there in the darkness. Awake all night just listening to nothing but knowing. You just weren’t built right, like cars that are lemons or children born blind and deaf. Not right for the world under any circumstances and as you accept that you feel a wave of serenity wash over you as you realize your only possible solution and you find comfort like you’ve never had and the darkness hides your smile.

 

The next day you enter the pawnshop for that shotgun with the wood grain paneling that you thought looked so bucolic and sophisticated at the same time, something a writer might use to kill his wife after a passionate argument or maybe something an artist would use after walking in on his wife fucking his best friend to kill himself. With a slight light in your eyes you buy the gun and the owner of the pawnshop looks at you, he’s come to know you to the extent that anyone could know you as you visit almost every weekend looking at the various firearms for sale, and he smiles sadly and breathes a statement to you: “Much of a hunter you must be. What kind of rounds do you want? We have some ammo here too that works with that shotgun.” Your answer, “The strongest.” He smiles sadly again. After you pay as you’re walking out the door the owner calls out to you with that smile full of melancholy and understanding and you turn around and listen, “Goodbye buddy. Life is hard but think on it, not that I give a shit of course.” He winks and you look back with your shotgun and your ammo and you wink back. “Of course.”

 

 

 

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