The End

May 08 2015

Look, this one is gonna be brief, because I know you’ve got listicles to read. Fourteen lines is really pushing it, man.

It was fast-approaching my thirtieth birthday. I got to thinking about the prose and poetry I’d written for someone I really cared about, and how she’d probably never seen the vast majority of it, and wouldn’t ever see it, unless I brought it to her attention. I got to thinking again about how she’d been there for me in the absolute worst times of them all, and I honestly thought she was the kind of person who’d appreciate the mythos her idealized memory was a major player in. I had already started trying to publish a lot of this shit, and I thought that she should see it first. So I sent her a message, maybe the fourth or so I’d sent her in years since we’d stopped really talking, to the effect of, “This is the last thing I ever need to say to you, here’s this story I wrote about you, or someone like you, and all I really want for my birthday is for you to read it.”

And she did. 6 o’clock-ish the next morning, I look at my blog, and there’s a couple of hits on the piece and the index. It was obviously her, and that was my birthday wish, and there was nothing else to say, and I thought, “Wow, she actually gave a shit,” and I was happy and sad and mixed-up all day.

I made a couple of posts on a social media thread I started, about a show that’s, like, a major hit—you’ve probably heard of it—and how, if I had to make, I dunno, one last statement to the world, it would be appropriate if it were about how I think the show kinda sucks. Like, every time I sit down to try to watch the show, it’s immediately violence and titties, and characters motivated by power and selfishness, and it’s, like, really incredibly cynical and voyeuristic, if you ask me. It doesn’t shed any light on the human condition, I think, unless you think that people are selfish and violent at their most natural, and it’s somehow profound that the show admits that—but I think that’s actually pretty crappy and cynical. Someone challenged me on whether I’d really sat down and, like, perused the books, but I just have no fucking desire to make myself an expert in that, so I guess they win—and they can read whatever the fuck appeals to them, with my blessing.

I did that, and I went to work, and I kinda did a shitty job, but I love my office, and it seemed like people kinda understood. Somebody said on the way out the door toward the end of the day, that we should “get out and enjoy the weather while it lasts,” looking at me. It was kind of a funny thing to say, because we’re just getting into spring, and the cold weather is just on its way out. I couldn’t concentrate, and I left.

On the ride home, I was thinking about how Katie had actually read the story I sent her—that person I hadn’t really talked with in years, her name is “Katie”—and I was all depressed and happy and kinda fucked the whole way home. I’d been feeling really messed-up, lately, and I’d told her, “You saved me, and I never really thanked you,” and I thought, “She does it again.”

Someone in the office had said a funny thing that day, about how they had asked someone for a favor, and that person had asked for a favor in return. It was the kind of thing they knew they’d have trouble remembering, (to return the favor,) and they had said that to the person doing a favor for them, and they asked us all in the office at lunch if that was wrong. Like, if a person does you a favor, and they ask you for a favor in return, and you don’t think you’re constitutionally built to remember the favor they asked you for, is it wrong to say that to them? I thought it was, that it’s kinda like saying, “I tend to swing my arms in circles while I walk, and I’m not good at watching where I’m going, so I’m just warning ya.” I like the person who asked that, though—she’s really cool—and I tend to do the same kinds of things, I think.

So I get home, and I’m all messed. My folks notice, and I don’t know why I tell them, but I tell them that I sent that story to Katie. (My mom had read the story before.) I tell them I’m sad, but I’m happy because she read it. And my brother says, “Like, yeah, she clicked the link.” I know for a couple of reasons that I’m not gonna pontificate on that—no—I mean, it seems more likely that she at least read it, even if it wasn’t like a life-changing experience for her and she still doesn’t have anything to say to me—but he has take that from me. “It doesn’t even really matter,” I say, “if I just go on thinking she read it, and that’s a pretty crappy thing to say to me,” but he goes on about it, and he talks about how I’m off in my own world all the time, and I’m fixated, and he doesn’t wanna cook with me when I’m off on another planet like that. (We’re both vegan.) He’s the kinda person, though, where all the cooking has to happen not a second before or after he wants to cook, and he admits that, but he doesn’t want to change it. And I told him how he sounded kinda cold and conceited—and he even agreed—and I told him how it reminded me of one of my roommates who didn’t even wanna talk for fifteen minutes a week with the person they lived with, and they’d go out to the bars with people they gave a shit about and then study for MCATs, and that was fine with me, for her to choose her priorities, but she didn’t understand how—that was her prerogative—but it was mine to feel hurt by it.

Katie read the story, and I never tried to talk with her again. And if you don’t like or understand it, stop fucking reading.

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