AFTERNOON

The ride would be fantastic, he thinks. Imagine an hour and a half or more spent inhaling the same air as his love. Letting the ears grab each sound byte with the enthusiasm of a hi-tech microphone. Photograph each expression of his reaction for the future. Fighting against his grain, he gate crashes their moment of friendship and makes himself comfortable in the rear of the car. As the vehicle races mercilessly through the humid streets, a conversation begins. Between them! He has a strange view of himself from the backseat… Like a tourist. They chatter incessantly in the front. He asks her a million questions and she lights a cigarette before answering them patiently. The worlds seem divided in the rear view mirror. And a distant squeaky voice gets aggressive. It’s coming from somewhere near the cranium. `You are not there!’ it says. `Face it… Accept it… You are just not there!’ He breathes faster trying to extinguish the burning shame that surges through his body. The voice gets louder and he looks out of the window to distract himself. Even the street urchins seem to be laughing at him. Respite comes in the form of the blaring music system. They have just turned up the volume of their favorite song. And for a moment he feels relief. Then the screams return. `You are not there… Just not there!’
`But I am right here… watching him… smelling him… loving him!’ his veins throb. Silence. Laughter. And then a whisper. `You are not there! Just not there!’ He feels a tremendous urge to enter their conversation like he always does. He averts it. Not today. He doesn’t have the liver to digest the magnanimity with which they would embrace his entry. He might just throw up at his own degeneration. `Don’t look at them, look out of the window. Don’t look at him. He might smile!’ The salvos of the mind are powerless against his morbid fascination to witness his own breakdown. The final judgment is etched in stone and tears. Now he just needs to get used to the echoes. `Just not there!’… `Just not there’… And hope that soon they will turn from spears into needles!

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