Sunday, November 2, 2008

The way your teeth strike me.


On a rare day like this, the dirty carpets and the mold on the base of the couch and underneath its cushions meant nothing. I pressed my face flat against the mites and the weave and smelled the carpet at its worst this summer, and it was not just dirt and bugs and the filth of unchecked growth, it was also anger and resentment and refusal. What I'd always despised then appeared to me fresh and blameless. I could stand the roaches and the mold and the dirty bedsheets. The carpet and the awful smell of dirt and rot and sweat and hell was then cloudlike, atmospheric and lordly. Where my body moved it felt there, right there, there was a niche for me. And then another another, and another, until the whole of my existence seemed to fit. And it grew mightily there, becoming easy and I was fluent with it so suddenly.

What's more, the godliness of this desolation dissipated too, and I was left with a nothingness. An evaporated sense of existence that beamed brighter than the sun.

I could understand a whole lot about my life by the state of the carpet. The mold growing on the couch had its own place in my heart. It was a place that I regularly had kept locked up and shunned. But not now. I practically had it in my mouth, shoving the lower part of my face underneath the couch, my arm slithering below in the crack beneath the carpet and the underside of the couch. But I had to be quiet, because there was someone sitting on the couch watching television.

Within an inch of overwhelming disappointment I found the two dollars. At this time I clenched my fist and took note of the greasy bills in my dark hand under the couch and willed myself never to say never. Nobody would ever dare to move this couch, so I knew the cash would still have been there. Didn't even have to touch cockroach eggs either. This was providence. Dead animal providence. The future of providence.

I pulled my arm out, clutching the cash and stood up quietly and left for the garage, picking up my father's axe and slipping out the back door of the garage. Then I went back into the woods and to the animal I had earlier stumbled across, still there breathing a ragged body through, almost dead.

I didn't care what its ailment was, only that it could not run away. And I don't know where the feeling came from, but it was strong. Upon closer inspection, now that I needn't have a worry in the world that it would be gone and that I would not get my chance, I found that it was a deer.

This was grace, I felt. It must be.

It heaved and sucked at the air and its eyes darted fretfully, antagonized and bewildered by my presence. I did not care about the deer, I did not care about saving its life, I did not care about putting it to an easy death to erase its present suffering, I did not care about the implications of my impending actions, I did not care about what it would mean to me afterward, I did not care about my life, I did not care about my death, I did not care about this city, I do not care about sleep or rest or the beads of sweat on my face. I do not believe in fate. I did not even think I could die.

I raised the axe and the deer shook and I started hacking at its body with vigor and relentlessness. I hacked at the deer and tore it to pieces, collecting beads of blood on me to swim with the sweat.

Seasons seemed to pass and then I was hacking at blood pools, bone and earth. The flesh was like muddy oatmeal. The deer was pulp, my shirt soaked with sweat, and the I let the axe fall into the mess before me and I breathed for the first time in my life, and knew truly that this was not a joke, that I was alive and that the world was real. The euphoric charge in me was second to nothing, and my life was second to nothing, and I existed by myself in this world.

I would not bother to clean the axe and return it to my father's tools. I simply would not bother with anything anymore.

That night I slept soundly. The two dollars from under the sofa that I'd stashed for a "rainy day" had paid for candy and soda and a new paperback from the corner store.

I can't fucking wait for tomorrow.


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