When I awoke Magdelene was gone. Loneliness replaced her in the warm vacancy beside me. The 50-dollar bill remained on the dresser. I lit a cigarette and stared out of a window into the sky. It was blue and clear and silent and mundane as if painted by the brush strokes of an uninteresting person.
Then I remembered that I had to go to work. Then I remembered that I didn’t have a job. The recollection brought with it a silent regret. Not the incident that brought up the regret but the regret itself made me week. For the next 3 weeks I stayed inside. I watched movies and smoked weed in a desperate attempt not to think. Nearly successful, until the clerk showed up.
I was balled up under the sheets. Although my mother’s voice wailed loudly from the radio, I heard when the door opened and slammed shut. The music eased into a silence before the clerk’s voice, hovering close beside the bed said. ‘I am trying to figure something out.’
‘Go away.’ I said. I didn’t want to think.
Ignoring me he said. ‘If one has regret after a decision, was that decision an authentic one?’ There was a silence, not for a response, but for torture. I shook my head trying to shake him out of it, to no avail. ‘Yes, because at that moment the decision could had been authentic.’ He continued. ‘Then when you farther ponder on it you realizes that it was a stupid and rash decision. . .I am trying to figure something else out as well. You’re a fool so stupid decisions aren’t new to you, so why is the regret bothering you? Your authenticity remains in tact.’ Another silence. I shook my head again. He laughed.
‘Go away.’ I said again from beneath the sheets.
‘No.’ He said. ‘And stop shaking your head. That will not get me to leave but cause you to become dizzy. Though I question if you already are not.’ He laughed. ‘I care nothing about your regret or authenticity because we both know that’s not the problem. When things become too much for you, you crawl into solitude. When painful emotions, or the past, or boredom begins to seep through your weak suppression, you hid and try to push them back by not thinking. That’s what you did when you sold drugs; not going to the corner for a week or two. You did that in prison as well; purposely getting into a fight to be sent to solitary confinement.’ He laughed. ‘For some one who cannot fight you sure are brave. Also stupid because of your seizures.’ I felt him sit on the edge of the bed by my feet. I thought about kicking him. ‘My question is, what have you learned from your solitude, especially that year you spend in solitary before you were released? Nothing more then that when solitude is not bothered or broken it becomes elongated and profound to the point it stays with you; it clings onto your loneliness. It’s there even when you’re around crowds, always reminding you that you’re by yourself. Also reminding you that you have always been alone, well, I mean since your mother’s suicide of course. Then your loneliness becomes prominent. But wasn’t it always prominent since your mother’s suicide? And did solitude really have to tell you anything? Sure it didn’t you used all that nonsense to distract your thoughts from what was really haunting you. Do you remember that day in your cell when writing and thinking about your future depressed and bored you, causing you to decline and fall into a long discussion with dread, misery, lost, sorrow, and loneliness; pushing you to decide that it was no reason to continue on living, thinking that your mother had found the way out. However unlike your mother, you didn’t want to leave no one behind and since there was no one you figured it to be the perfect time. Plus your seizures occasionally reminded you that you were going to die, and possibly before you turn 40. But your fear of death won out. Death is the great uncertainty and uncertainty makes you nervous. God also makes you nervous. And you are afraid of God as well. Not the fear of a faithful follower but with the fear that a child has for the unseen monster in the closet of his dark bedroom. What you fear you don’t like. That fear comes from God creating humanity without explaining to any of the created why. Everyone tossed in a wasteland. Where is the handbook, right? Not the bible, but a direct manual written by no one but God.’ He laughed. ‘You know although you haven’t always been an exile, you have always been in exile. Hold up . . .’ I felt the bed move when he stood up, abruptly. ‘Although you didn’t kill yourself in prison you left that option open. You brought that gun a week after you were release for that purpose alone. And you . . .you’re going to . . .I can’t stay around here for this shit.’ There was a quick silence before the door slammed. My mother’s voice, again, loudly wailed from the radio.
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