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Detour Ahead

By Ya'akov


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PART I, "Hot"

    I walked in the door and was raped by the stale heat. The air conditioner hadn't worked in days and every time I thought about it my temperature rose. The clothes on the floor didn't help matters; they only served as stepping-stones on my walk toward my hell. I crossed the Styx of the stained kitchen floor. Three weeks down, a year to go. My new apartment, home sweet home.

    "Did you call about the a/c?"

    My roommate in a drunken stupor, "Wha? Huh? I don't think so."

    His eyes glazed over and I raged over.

    "I'm buried in debt, I just lost my loan, I owe Mom some 45 hundred for that stupid car, I'm gonna end up nothing, and its all because of that green backed god that everyone but me bows down to."

    "Why'd you lose the loan?" the sober one asked from his room

    "Dad makes too much money- you know, Dad, the meal ticket I used for toilet paper. I am just so damn buried, I don't know what to do. I can't afford this apartment, it's a hell hole, no air, the disposal quit yesterday, its a pig's sty, and I don't know what to..."

    I smashed my fist into the wall - crack and crumble - hole

    I felt better, and laughed about it. I hate money. Money is the fuel for the emptiness that is swelling on our nation, and our world. Greed, want, power, it's all the same. Money never gave anyone wealth, but It gave millions poverty. It's their fault though. And I'm right there with them. Too stupid to guide myself to financial freedom (oxymoron). Just hide me behind my chains, and bury me in the coffin labeled "In God we trust" Dead, I lumbered to my couch. It had been months since I slept on a bed. Between leaving my bed at Dads place, sleeping on Moms couch, and now here, my new rest spot. No bed, just a 12-dollar yard sale couch. Smelled like old alcohol and root beer. Musty and old, my place of rest - just bury me. I went to my couch and laid down in my anger. Sweat beading up on my back and brow. My eyes stung with the saline fluid my skin puked out. Might as well have been blood. Just jeans and nothing, I lay on the thin pillow I managed to steal from my roommate, staring at the ceiling, hating everything. Baking.

    I got up to read the thermostat. It was set for 70. It read over 90, 93, 97, What did it matter? Could have been a thousand. I didn't care anymore. Hot was hot.

    Dead, I walked back. Hell's fire licking my feet and lapping at my neck. Sweat soaking my footsteps, and droplets falling down like stockbroker suicidal burnouts. I had nothing. Dead, I stared at the ceiling from my couch. "Thirsty," I creaked.

    Dead, I walked to the refrigerator and dug around through the egg and the beer to find my water. Funny, tap water was in the vodka bottle that my roommates smuggled and supped upon a few nights before. The bottle was glass. Cold to the touch. The only thing cold in the apartment. I closed the refrigerator. Sealing away the only comfortable temperature within its icy prison. The door mocked me. It hated me too.

    I kissed the open neck of that bottle and showered my mouth with the water. Before I knew it, it was all gone. The only refreshment I had, gone. Over. Taken from me. I was less thirsty, but still hot. Maybe hotter.I walked across kitchen floor sticky with kool-aid and beer stains. I dropped the bottle on the ground. Adding to the style of the sty. I hated it. I hated everything.

     Dead, I lay on the couch. Staring at the ceiling. Not baking, but boiling with the water that I just got inside. Boiling, steaming sweating. This is life?

    Dead, I lay there and tried to sleep.

    Dead, I died.

    In that death what dreams come? Nothing. No relief even in the death of slumber. Only a few hours of sleep did I suffer in my sweltering humid hell. Dead, I lay, trying to recover from the pain that was compressing me to oblivion. No dreams, just blackness, hot blackness. Misery. Dead, I lay there. Staring. Waiting for the sun to rise and give me an excuse for leaving. It never came. Dead, I lay there, waiting, begging for an excuse to leave. My alarm clock hated me - jeered at me - mocking me with the indication of the Thursday wee hours. Life was becoming my cancer. Dead, I lay there. Ridden with insomnia, stress, and misery. In short, I was afraid. Afraid of today. Afraid of tomorrow. Afraid.

PART II, "Movement"

    A creaking door opens. The tell tale grunting said it was my drunken roommate. Dead, I lay there in total silence, observing. He could not see me awake. He stumbled to the kitchen and light warmed the room. It was a good light, emanating from the cool haven of the refrigerator. The clanking of glass against glass told me that he fished out a beer. Slowly, the light faded, the temple of my icy water and haven from this humid hell was once again sealed away. Dead, I lay there watching him drown his brain. Numbing him to the heat. He stumbled into his room.

    Dead, I lay there until the sun rose.

    It was dawn; the infant sun crawled in from the window. Warming the stale room. Illuminating the filth on the ground throughout the apartment. I stood up. Stumbled to the bathroom, stripped down and got into the shower. I turned on the water and sat down on the bench in the shower stall. The water was hot. So refreshing and relaxing. Cleansing and purifying, I let it run all over me. The energy that the water had was an escape from the apartment outside; it was just the heat and I in our world. This was a good feeling. Every pore I had, every hair on my body, every inch of skin was born anew. It was my daily
baptism. I was clean.

    I think I am the only one in the apartment that used the soap and shampoo. I turned off the water. Bidding the shower farewell, I slid open the door and stepped out. Looking down I see that there are no clean towels, only the wet and foul smelling urine soaked abominations that lay before me. I just stepped past, and opened the door.

    Naked and dripping wet, I made my way to the clean pile of clothes on the living room floor. I selected the least wrinkled shirt and some jeans. I shot a quick glance at the picture of my girlfriend, and was out the door. I closed the door behind me. I didn't have a key. I lost the coin toss, or it was taken, it didn't matter, I didn't care. I turned and walked to my car. Hubcap gone. Don't care. Door opens, seat awaits me, I sit, and am gone. I fly to the corner coffee store, and pick up some nice things for my girlfriend. Things I can't afford, but she's worth it. Coffee and coffee tumblers, a thermos. Stainless steel. I drive. Fall asleep at the wheel. Horn honk. Wake up. Drive more. Swerve. Sleep. Wake. Honk. Zombie. Dead, I drive to her house.

    I pull up to the curb, fall out of my car and stumble asleep to the door. I knock so that I do not wake those still asleep. It opens. The mother greets me and invites me inside. I walked in the door and was massaged by the refreshing cool. There was a scent of coffee and bread dancing from the kitchen. I made my way inside and found a heavenly comfort at the kitchen table.

    "Can't believe you're doing this, well, maybe I can believe it," said my girlfriends mother.

    "With a - yawn - smile on my face.

    My girlfriend turned the corner. Obviously as tired as I. I hadn't seen her this way before, and it warmed me. She looked so innocent walking around half asleep. So beautiful. We bid her mother farewell and drove to the school. Killed a bit of time there. Made small talk with old friends. Kissed her farewell. Left. Alone again. Brevity with her killed me as longevity killed me with the couch. I drove. I had nowhere to go. No one to go to, and no reason to care. That which meant anything to me anymore was behind the school's walls. Eight hours to go until I saw her again.

    I drove to the gas station. As I walked I heard a pop beneath me. I lifted my heel to see half of a cricket on the ground; I assume the other half was between the grooves of my sole. I walked inside and threw some of my money away on a small black box filled with twenty black cigarettes and a lighter. They smelled so sweet. Wait - I don't smoke. I lit one up in the lot and smelled the sweet aroma of clove and tobacco. It smelled like Christmas, incense, and potpourri. I dragged on the filter and filled my mouth with the toxic heaven of clove smoke and carbon monoxide. It tasted good. I breathed out and puffed it away. I never inhaled. I don't smoke. It tasted good. I just stood there on the side of the building smoking my life
away. At five bucks a pack it would be nice to save them. But after three in a row I trashed the pack and the lighter. I drove again. Hazy with sleep and too much accidental nicotine, I made my way to my mother's apartment. No one was home. She had left for work. I made my way to slumber.

PART III, "Couch Revisited"

    I fell away on my mother's couch. I covered myself in the blanket that my girlfriend bought for me while she was in Spain. I was comfortable. And I fell to sleep.

PART IV, "Stirred to action"

    The alarm clock screamed at me. It was three pm, and I had to rise to get my girlfriend from school. I stepped out side and was blinded by the sun. It was hot and dry outside. I walked to the car and got inside. Drove to the school and waited for my girlfriend's release. Waiting. Waiting. At last the bell rang and people began to pour out of the building. I made my way into my old high school and stood waiting for her to come down the stairs. I made chitchat with old friends. There she came, as beautiful as anything. Radiant with love and aglow with grace.

    "How was your day?"

    "It's gonna be a long year."

    "It will be ok, did you survive the math class."

    "Yeah, but its crap."

    "I know. Hey - I love you."

    "I love you too."

    We drove to her house, making small talk about school. Nothing monumental. I was happy to be with her. When we arrived we walked in and made our ways to the back room. There was a couch there. It is probably the most comfortable of all couches. Broken down, worn out, and tired - much like its two current occupants, my girlfriend and me. Her mother walked in and asked each of us about the day. She's a kind woman, and honestly cares, not like the indifference I get from my parents. We told her about the events of the day and I revealed the factoid of the hole in the wall. I was instructed to email her with details. I almost fell asleep on the couch. I leaned over and kissed my girlfriend, and began to drift away.
We watched her brother play videogames for 3 hours and then moved to the dining room for food. Family dinner was great; I feel warmth acceptance and family while sitting there. The highlight of the day. Talking and laughing over a well made feast. True fellowship. I am envious of those that feel this everyday.

    I kissed my girlfriend goodnight. 

    Drove home. 

    I walked in the door and was raped by the stale heat.

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