2017: Welcome to the New Year

I feel very stuck. Clogged, sometimes. Stuck is a better word. It’s sticky.

I wake up every morning with a familiar taste of regret in my mouth. Regret tastes like blood, or blood tastes like regret — I spit blood into the toilet as I relieve my at-capacity bladder. I should’ve brushed my teeth when I was younger and older.

The regret clings onto me as I enter into the bathroom to take a shower. Even as my cotton wife beater, blue pajama bottoms and striped boxer briefs fall to the cold morning floor, the weight of regret sags like my Frontal Upper [Private] Area. My shoulders round over and my neck juts out far in front of the rest of my body like I’m determined to win a leg race with my nose. I look like a fleshy turtle who writhed out of its shell and gorged on all the canned food left behind by our dead cats. I look like I have an invisible noose strapped around my neck and I’m being led without resistance into the shower chamber.

I get through my day only after my long, long nights. The hours before bed go by quickly, but the minutes leisurely stretch themselves out like a sad and boring bunch. I lay awake looking at the darkened ceiling as my mind inevitably schemes. My thoughts run inside the edges of my small corner of hope, and I plan my escape. I have a spoon stashed under my pillow. I just need a map to figure out which way to claw out of here.

I search for different ways to supplement my income. I think of different skills to invest in. I think of how much time I can afford to sit down and read anything substantial to justify the closing ceremony of the day’s allotted hours. I think about the out-of-reach magic number and the unknown variable that I’m solving for. I think about which self-help book will help me the best.

But sometimes, like yesterday, a reprieve interjects. It hurriedly whisks me away from complaining and self-woe. I run into a patio full of chums, and now my eyeballs stop looking down at the garnered belt of fat around my stomach and sides. Giddiness permits me the opportunity to look up as I share a plate of good food with friends. My eyes find light upon a horizon I hadn’t planned for. I’m talking. I’m laughing. I’m beaming. I’m not stuck. I’m not stuck at all.

I’m surrounded by friends I’ve known since elementary school, middle school, high school, and what should’ve been college school. I’m catching up with my old pastor and friends whom I haven’t seen in too long. I’m awkward at first, shy and unusual, but I’m comfortable and myself by the end of the night.

And as we part ways, I make my round around the loiterer’s circle. I only want to stay longer, but I’ve been out long enough. I bid them good-bye and goodnight, around the circle, individually, and I come to realize as I pull myself away from the last person I see: I’m not stuck — I’m embraced.

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