I’m starting to manufacture deadly symptoms again. It seems the strike is over and the workers are back on the assembly line, efficiently building sure signs that I’m dead in two weeks. When this happens, neurology and its neuroses are granted sharp focus, while everything else loses its character and blends into one overexposed floating orb of wasted energy.

Most of my day now is wasted energy. Giving everything to nothing. Only small fractions go to love, lust, and logistics. Then I start to wonder how long I haven’t been thinking about the things I care about.

Just as I’m trudging up some hill to prove I can, I see I’ve gotten nowhere. Wasted energy. I eat a lunch filled to the brim with protein so I have the strength to sit in meetings. Wasted energy.

I feel like I could go the rest of my life on one meal and twenty meetings per day. I will forget to eat, and even if I remember, I won’t be permitted to act on that memory. The world is spinning, and if I don’t keep pushing it ‘round, I’ll skip off its surface and leave everything and everyone behind. They say money is evil, but I don’t blame money for anything. I blame the callused hands holding it and the soft hands reaching for it.

My callused hand is clenched tighter than ever now, and my soft hand unvaryingly reaches, the metronome to the orchestration of the entirety of my time on Earth. I don’t know where joy goes and I don’t know who is responsible for misplacing it. I don’t know where easy goes, and I don’t know how it gets going.

Did you know that you don’t have to do something dangerous to prove you might die today? You just need to listen to what people say and give them a fucking break and stop thinking in terms of challenges and goals. What is nebulous is real, and if you can’t handle it, sell your soul and move on.

I have nothing against the selling of souls, but I do righteously oppose pretending like it doesn’t happen. We move from one transaction to the next, and — hold on, there’s the phone. Let me get that…

(One party talks and the other listens. Because that’s how it works around here.)

It was her again. Always interrupting. Telling me what I’m doing wrong and somehow remotely affecting my every move. Hundreds of miles must have linked arms so that her messages could get to me. People say I’m letting it happen, but I swear there’s a fence and it just gets dug under or ripped through. Because some of the most terrible things are the strongest. If you love something or someone, you will build a fence to hold them or it in. And every fence begs to be destroyed.

Anyway, she went on and on about the importance of things in her life and how they were important to my life, despite the fact that, it seemed to me, they were two separate lives. But I had been wrong about this before. Many years back, there was one life, and to presume there were two would mean this life was broken. She sucked attention out of every piece of flesh and fed on it with a beautiful spread on a table set for one.

She would say, “Oh, did you want to eat too?” and I would say, “No. I mean, I would. But then, I’d have to eat with you.”

Then dusk would come, and with it my favorite cheap wine, because it was a routine and she didn’t mind it because she liked it too. Had she not liked it, I would be selfish and disconnected. And yet, I hadn’t been plugged into her in forever. I mean this metaphorically and physically. Shit, I mean this in every way possible.

Today, she is so earnest about her love for everything and everyone that the love overshadows the care. I’m fascinated by the difference between love and care, because care is love without the proof. Care requires no label, while love has some kind of agenda.

The agenda of a fading ingénue is to outshine everything with its cosmetic halo. It’s almost sad enough to warrant an intervention, but only ever almost.

And then we all eventually say:

Dear ingénue: don’t tell me what to do, what to think, what to say, what to sell, what to fund, what to abandon, what to save, what to remember, what to forget, and especially what I am.

Anyway, there were more words exchanged, and it was a bloodbath again. I’m playing bocce and she’s in the Situation Room precisely targeting terrorist cells halfway across the world. It has always been this way, because I am not a politician and she hates herself enough to want to be.

I’m still listening to the voice on the other line. Like Saturn’s rings, it perpetually orbits without losing form or strength. Ice, I think. I’m still sitting in the same chair and wearing the same clothes.

And so if I am going to die soon, now is the time to lie on the floor naked.

Dusk comes again, and its colors haven’t changed. It’s April, and it could be any April. Until I learn to hang up.

Originally published at

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