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Gridlock

I.

            Despite the clouds and the rain, if you look straight up you can see the sun reaching down at the earth like a hand clutching a hazy piece of fire. Sitting on a gunmetal bench, head rolled back, Friend stares up through the silver, wiry sheets falling from the thick gray-dappled clouds weaving and coursing through each other like ghosts, and spits.

            He leans forward and unscrews the top of the orange bottle of Celexa and throws a few more into his mouth, tilts his head back and spits them into the sky like the shells of poisonous sunflower seeds. The pills taste like hammers and nails, like the inside of brick walls, like hospitals and disease. He spits hard so they don’t fall back down onto his face. He aims at the flickering sun and imagines hitting it. There is a small tapping sound as they fall back to earth, tiny obscene pink chunks melting into the asphalt around him.

            Friend’s decided to stop taking his antidepressants today. He grips the open bottle like a baseball and throws it hard away at the gutter, its minuscule contents scattering in the street. A gleaming black crow swoops down from the phone line and pecks at the ground before lurching angrily back into the sky in what Friend presumes is disgust.

            He stands and hawks a big, pink clot of bitter chemistry out of his mouth and watches as the collection of tiny pink tablets grudgingly make their way down the street and are washed away, their pink tails disappearing after them. The rain picks up and in a few moments, everything save the orange translucent bottle is gone, wiped from the street and erased from sight.

            Friend walks over and nudges the bottle into the drain with his boot. The sun emerges from behind its veil of clouds, casting an elongated shadow of Friend down the street. The sluice of rain trembles on Friend’s head as he stands there, staring into the gutter.

 

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