I notice my last few sparkly threads of self respect straying from the forearm of my sweater as I take my infiniteth sip of beer. Conversation happens at me and I know the words won’t be remembered come morning on either end. We’re strangers pretending to be friends.
I press the finely coarse threads between forefinger and thumb, rolling them into a tangle. They tug loose quickly. I pretend I did not intend to wind up holding the snarl, continuing to curl it until the only conversation is the one I’m half-heartedly having in my head. Squishing my self-respect pancake flat with a final pinch, I flick it into the corner and walk over to a friend pretending to be a stranger.
I ask the question I know the answer to. There is no need for this to be a question, yet I can’t stop from heating the wax that will seal this deal.
He gives the answer I know he’ll give.
The general idea of this response is the only part of this interaction I’ll remember when I awake. Everything else is in a fuzzy third-person camera shot in my brain, two people having what must have looked like an uncomfortable conversation. Not only had I killed brain cells, I apparently drown my eyesight too. Envelope stamped shut.
I can’t help from beating these god damned dead horses, from shoving on their bellies for one final lungful of truth. I want them to gasp their eyes open, lock with mine, and fill me with reality. It’s a strange preoccupation, to require words when I’ve already read between the lines. In my childhood home, silence was wielded brazenly. It’s presence could mean I had committed the slightest of infractions (dropping a fork on the hardwood floor) or the most heinous of crimes (misdirecting the hose during car-washing). I was constantly required to try and read a lack of words which were swathed in the pretense that I was loved unconditionally, and it’s created a dead horse beating adult. Who doesn’t want to grasp or guess – who wants to just know.
I fish my self-respect from a crevice on the floor on my way out, tucking it back into the cable knit on my sleeve.
Mildly relevant, and more to come on this subject.