- North Carolina
- Last Record: 2012-09-26 17:17:00 +0200
- Joined: Jun 16, 2012
(and it isn’t even gilded)
I said, “Apathy has never really been my thing,”
and he laughed. But I lied. It was a bald-faced lie
the likes of which I usually tell. But he laughed.
Lives – like lies – are complicated things. Living is hard.
You do what you’re told, what everyone expects,
and you’re supposed to make it. You’re supposed
to succeed. Only you’re left with mountains of debt,
a retail job, and a group of friends you rarely see.
But apathy has never really been your thing.
It’s a lie – apathy is the only way we make
it through the day-to-day dullness, the repetition
of speech and movement, patterns burned
into muscle-memory, synapses, teeth, and tongue.
“Thanks so much for coming in today.
Have a wonderful trip.” False smiles. False cheer.
Sometimes I roll my eyes so hard I feel
like I’m dislocating something inside. Nothing vital.
Optic nerves remain undamaged, but the effort
It turns into an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ that wouldn’t normally
exist. We serve them. They bitch and moan –
tax on the newspapers? It’s a conspiracy. Big Brother
is watching. You’re part of the problem. Right.
Right – just like that. I’m part of the problem
and so are you. So you coat yourself in apathy, you steep
in it, absorb it, make it a part of your routine.
Management piles responsibility upon your shoulders
and you grip that apathy, knuckles whitening.
You hold on to it because that shared apathy
is the only thing that gets you through the constant
interaction. Or I hold onto it, anyway. When my cheeks
ache from smiling, teeth clenching as I hold back
honest opinions, grind them to dust - when people
ask the same questions over and over again -
when they can’t find the books in front of their faces,
when they don’t know where their gates
are or which restaurant is where – I hold
onto it. I tell myself, “Two more hours.”
I tell myself, “One more hour.” I tell myself,
“Just half an hour.”
And as the minutes tick-tock away, slipping
through fingers too numb to notice the loss,
I wonder what I might have done if the apathy
hadn’t sunk its claws in so deep so early on?
If my father had yelled and smoked less, held
off on the tequila. See, it’s an old friend, apathy.
Not just a new-found coping mechanism,
but a tried and true one. Distance makes the heart
grow fonder, they say – or forgetful. I want
to forget. The violence, the mood swings,
the taketaketake of life with a man who’s supposed
to protect you and love you but doesn’t. He doesn’t
and you don’t know why – life isn’t fair. Good
people die, bad people thrive. Not feeling is better –
I tell myself that.
So I strip myself down. I leave myself bare. Empty
eyes cobble together convenient lies so no one
will notice. And then I hide. I open a book. I log
into my email. I used to make phone calls
but even that’s too real now. Too vivid. I want to hear
what you have to say but letting it touch
me would break through the fugue that surrounds
me and it’s so much easier to just leave
it alone. To weave one barely-there experience
into another, pretend everything is alright, smile
the fake smiles, never meet anyone’s eyes.
Hush, hush. It’s easier. It will get easier.
If it’s easier, why do I find myself staring at the ceiling
in the middle of the night, half bored and half broken,
lonely in a way that I will never admit to anyone else.
Almost. That is almost true, but even now I find myself
spilling accidental lies.
I don’t miss her.
I don’t want him.
I am not as alone as I think I am.
The pills don’t really matter –
I can toss them any time I want.
I don’t have a problem.
This life-long countdown measures my apathy.
I’m not like that guy in that movie –
I don’t want anyone to shake me out of it.
Or am I lying again? Do I respect you enough
to tell you the truth? Will it ring through your mind,
echo in the hollows behind your ears, distort
as it reverberates? Will you understand
it for what it is, read between the invisible lines?
Will you put forth the effort?
Is any of this worth it?
I don’t know. I don’t know and I tell myself
that I don’t care. Because not caring is easier.
Not caring doesn’t leave me thinking about autumn chills,
Orion sweeping across the sky, and crickets who really
should have died months ago. Or are they dying now?
If I tell you that’s all I’m waiting for,
what would you do?