by Garrick Sherman
Looking through coin-operated binoculars at the ocean. Nothing much to see. Hear waves lapping, but don’t see the shore. The binoculars don’t look in that direction. The swish of the tide becomes a beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
Wake up. Hit snooze. Peel open eyelids, but the world is blurry. Shut eyes and fall back to sleep.
Blowing bubbles on a balcony. Too many bubbles. Can only see the road below through the warping of the soap of the bubbles. Caught in a bubble, and floating away, unsure but calm. It’s normal. Beep. Beep.
Wake up. Turn off alarm. Peel open eyelids, but the world is blurry. Shut eyes and rub with hands. Open eyes. See the slight light leaking through the blinds. Kick off covers and sit up. Swing out of bed, and dress. Open window shades, and see the world past the screen and the glass. See a neighbor walking a dog; see a bird perched on a roof; see a newspaper in the driveway.
Look at the bed. Feel like crying. Breathe in deep and hold it, then leave the room.
Go to the kitchen and make toast with juice. Look at the table and feel like crying. Eat standing up.
Driving to work. Bad traffic. The radio is a mess. News reports wars and wildfires. Nothing but eighties music. Flip it off and sit in silence.
Typing nonsense at work. Not sure what the assignment is, but already asked twice. Can’t ask again. Make it sound good: “The inconsistent parameters indicate a heightened level of variability.” No one reads this stuff anyway. Who cares? It doesn’t matter.
Watching TV on the couch. Flickering images. Tune it all out. Think about movies where lonely losers are revealed watching TV in the dark, eating Chinese food, long greasy hair. The camera pans from behind the television. There. Flickering images. Meaningless flashes of light and rolling laugh tracks.
Look at the couch. Feel like crying. Go to sleep.
Wake up. Peel open eyelids, but the world is blurry. Don’t move.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
Raise arm. Hit snooze. It takes effort. Go back to sleep.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
Wake up. Turn off alarm. Go back to sleep. Not going to work today.
Wake up. Peel open eyelids. Look at the time. 10:28. Still too early. Go back to sleep.
Wake up. Peel open eyelids. Look at the time. 12:15. Still too early. Go back to sleep.
Wake up. Peel open eyelids. Look at the time. 2:03. Still too early. Close eyes, but can’t fall asleep. Reach over. Feel like crying. Cry.
The pillow is wet with tears and snot. The world is blurry. Look at the time. 3:16. Still too early. Get out of bed. Leave the room.
Stand at a window. Stare outside. Start to think about—no! Blink. Breathe. Go to the bathroom. Make toast with juice. Look at the table. Feel nothing. Scratch. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
Go outside. Feel a cool breeze. Still in pajamas. Who cares? It doesn’t matter. Get in the car. No license. Who cares? It doesn’t matter.
Pull out carefully. Drive for hours. Rolling plains and hills and silence. No bothering with the radio today. Know what it’ll be: wars and wildfires, and eighties music.
Warm sunshine streaming through the windshield. Roll down the window. Fresh air. Hair flapping in the wind. Feel—pretty good! Look at the passenger seat. Feel like crying. Look away. Feel better.
Turn onto a dirt road. Never been here before. Drive for miles. Enjoy the bumps; glad the shocks are no good. Feels like a roller coaster. Smile. Stop smiling. Feel like crying. Hold it in. Keep driving.
Park the car next to a lake. Look at the blue sky. Look at the blowing grasses and the deep brown dirt. See a deer; see a flock of birds flying swirls like gnats; see a lone house atop a hill, but no road to get there.
Look at the lake. Imagine being submerged in water, nothing but water. Bubbles. Floating. Look at the passenger seat. Feel like crying. Cry. Feel like ripping open, feel like pouring guts and breaking bones. Look at the passenger seat. It’s blurry through teary eyes. Feel the pain. Tear the seat, rip it to shreds, pull the shreds from the car and throw them in the lake. Scream. Cry. Fall to the ground and water the grass with tears. Stop crying. Fall asleep.
Wake up. Look at the car with its destroyed seat. Hate the car. Find a stick. Prop it against the gas pedal. Turn on the car. Jump away from the roaring self-destruction as it races toward the lake. Watch it splash, then sputter, then sink, its death roar rattling the wilderness.
Smile at the car’s execution. Look around at the wilderness and the dirt road. Feel the fading sunlight and the cool breeze. Feel good. Smile wider. Look up at the house on the hill. There’s no road to get there and no car to drive. Decide to go anyway.