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Stay Focused

January 27, 2010

As just sort a cosmetic comment, I really don’t like the way that wordpress auto-formats stuff. Maybe I just haven’t figured everything out yet- upon copying and pasting this work from a word document that it has added spaces between the lines. Which I don’t really like. Does anyone know how to fix this?

But relating more to the work at hand, this was the last fiction I wrote before I had a breakdown some time ago.

 

Stay Focused

by Alex TB

And then the fortune cookies come to the table, with the check

One, already cracked open.

“Stay focused; keeping to your goals will lead to success.”

Lucky numbers.

The other, absent.

A shrink wrapped packet of air.

Nothing, but it floats in my glass of water.

Thoughts of imported beer, primetime, a rave, the cat, the cubicle.

I was thinking about something else that seemed important, but I’ve forgotten already.

Denise fiddles with her fork in noodles with one hand while doing something on her phone with the other.

I tell a joke, but she doesn’t get it.

I begin to try to explain, but I stop in the middle of the sentence.

“Nevermind. It’s not really funny.”

A TV behind the bar silently shows static.

It’s late, but there are many people.

Chattering, passing plates, eating and drinking, laughing.

The sound levels out into a quiet drone.

I ask her,

“What do you want to do now?”

As I take out my wallet.

“I don’t care,”

she says, without looking up.

Jackson takes care of the bill and we walk.

Grant takes care of a little black dress.

Hamilton, a pack of reds

and Lincoln two scoops of ice cream,

one vanilla and one chocolate.

Below us, vents emitting warm air,

we stand in front of a wall of screens,

licking at the remainder of the cones.

It occurs to me, as I watch them, that I haven’t blinked in minutes

and I don’t feel the need to.

Little faces moving their mouths,

not making any noise.

Wheels spinning, smiling teeth

Fires, stock prices scrolling.

The colors blur together and I space out.

“Remember when George passed out in that alley?”

she says, giggling.

“No,” I say, in honesty.

“I don’t. When?”

“Oh, I don’t remember when. It was a while ago. I thought you would have remembered.”

I try to remember,

try to think back.

Alleys?

It sounds familiar.

I remember a circle of light.

Later, after I finish

she rolls over and falls asleep.

I thought that was my job.

I get out of bed

The room is cold.

I flick the light on in the bathroom and it hurts my eyes, unadjusted.

I open the medicine cabinet

then close it,

and my eyes meet my reflection’s.

We both look down, away.

Little numbers and letters.

I don’t know what they mean.

I pop it anyway and look at the reflection again.

He doesn’t look familiar.

I want to say, “you look different,”

but I know he’s thinking the same thing.

We laugh a little.

I feel like we have to.

I flick the light switch and he goes away.

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