We want to start over. We live in the city and we are tired of it. Of other people’s lives. Construction workers from across the street take breaks in our front yard, buying tamales from the smallest woman you’ve ever seen: “Tamale, tamale!” The good-looking girl next door has gotten a puppy and it cries like an infant, so bad that one night Monica broke into her apartment and came back with the puppy and crawled into bed. They had a good snuggle until dawn, when she threw the dog back into its apartment and shut the window closed again.
The worst thing is that now I’m unemployed. I am downtown enough to recognize people’s faces. I need some wings. The record store guy either wants to fuck me or kill me. Bits of the day stick bright in my mind. I dream in sheds. Both of us do. Yesterday Monica woke up and wrapped the clock in a thick towel and stuffed it into a drawer. “Fuck,” is the only thing she said. They say its depression, this exhaustion upon waking. Everything seems louder. I open the fridge and there are too many words on things—the milk cartons, the Hebrew Nationals, everything explaining, explaining.
Night is the only time I think clearly. I tell Monica I’m going on a walk, and I leave the porch and turn right. I walk by the brand new house, the one that’s too big for its neighbors. Its lawn is still rolled up into Swiss rolls, the grass an alien shade of dark green. I walk all the way to the big Freddy’s, which is lit up and turning people yellow, orange by the pharmacy. Check my blood pressure first thing. I like the pain it almost causes. It takes you safely to the edge of discomfort. I write my numbers down in a little black notebook. You’d be surprised how little they change. In years I’ve only seen them deviate by three numbers, either way.
I go upstairs to find some rain boots. The rain boots look like motorcycle boots…what a trip. Go to look at the watches, but the watches are also day planners, calculators and stopwatches. One says EMAIL. I can’t spend too much time thinking about that one. Think about stealing now. I always think about stealing. Instead I buy a pack of underwear and put a pair on in the stall. Still two left in the package. They’ll never know, I think. But I use self-checkout so the whole thing’s kind of a wash.
When I get home Monica is asleep in her curves on the bed. I get in; listen to her breathe. Hungry but afraid to open the fridge for all that noise. I chew on candy instead, hear the brutal fact of teeth working. Wait for the jaw to complete its task, for the next day to come.