Fingers strum against the brass metal strings of my fathers guitar, plucking and grazing as I look down at the the small pin prick collected in a bunch in my left elbow crook. It had hurt, but that’s the point of being human. Perhaps the soul’s purpose for living is to feel. I still remember the sting as metal collided with tender skin, tender muscle. I focus on the pain, the only thing that is real to me anymore. An old familiar sting, tearing a hole in myself as i try to kill it all away…But i remember everything.
Looking up through the tears in my eyes, my world warps as the musky creme walls turn a sunset pink with clouds of purple. The oak floorboards now dusty like the sahara dessert. The coffee table shifts into distant mountains. The floor lamp now an over hanging palm tree. The old cactus plant that my father once loved so dearly morphs into an old familiar friend, orange, mattered and in the form of my childhood bear. He stands, shoulder torn open and stuffing puffed out, surfacing to the top as he turns to face me. I keep strumming, louder this time. A background tune in time. His left eye nothing but a hanging button, the right attached ever so perfectly as he looks me in the eye.
“What have you become, my sweetest friend.” He tilts his head as he tries to sum me up, watching me strum my guitar.
“Everyone I know goes away in the end.” I sob, tears threatening to fall from red rimmed eyes.
“But you could have it all.” His soft voice claims, broken, lost, but determined to make me feel better once again. With outstretched arms he captures the surrounding dirt land.
“My empire of dirt.” A piece of his paradise.
“I will let you down, I will make you hurt.” A tear slips down the sharp edges of my thinning face, into the crevasses of my lips where it continues to slip off my chin into the sand below my feet, a stain in time.
Upon this liars chair, I sit wearing my crown of thorns. Distant thoughts of memories I can not change, but can not spare. My fathers smile, my mothers kindness. Full of broken thoughts I can not repair. Beneath the stains of empty, disregarded needles and time, the feelings disappear.
“You are someone else.” I look up, facing my childhood friend, solidly accusing. Time had changed us. His legs move like they shouldn’t as he stands before me, soft hands resting on my right knee.
“I am still right here.” He swears, a promise, five words that hit me harder than home. I continue strumming,
“What have I become, my sweetest friend.” I sing to him “Everyone I know goes away in the end.” He smiles, his stitched smirk blowing in the soft breeze, strands frayed and worn. Just like myself. He backs away.
“And you could have it all.” He calls back, as I drop my head in shame before raising it again, tracks of tears now cold in the breeze. “My empire of dirt."
“You wont let me down. You wont make me hurt.” He smiles again as he stands beneath a breaking sun ray. The tear in his shoulder healing, his left eye now reconnected, his fur now smooth.
“Time to fix yourself John.” He’s right. I strum louder, feeling the recollection of my love in the moment. No longer willing to see, I look to the floor, squeezing my eyes shut.
“If I could start again, a million miles away, I would fix myself.” I open my eyes to the musky creme walls, wooden floorboards, the oak tabletop pushed against the wall and an over hanging floor lamp. On one final strum, I let it ring into the silence of my New York city apartment.
“I would find a way.” I end, as a passing truck sounds it’s horn.