(This one’s for Clay) – ‘10

It’s near 10pm on a dry night that’s unusually warm for this time of the year. It’s the very last warm day before the cold and rain return for good, and I’ve just finished stretching against a tree after jogging for six or seven miles at the park.

I take off my t-shirt and lie down with my back to a concrete bench by the shore of the lake: From this spot, the lights from the skyline uptown where the large thronging avenues meet with investment banks and movie theaters reflect against the moving lake surface and eerily tilt sideways, to and fro, like searing white-hot dancers just an inch short of touching one another and interspaced between the golden glare of the sodium vapor lamps along the trees.

When I open my eyes facing the sky above there’s a yellow star perpendicular to my body: The arms of Scorpius stretch outwards from the yellow heart that is Antares as if trying to encompass the infinite.
By this time, the jogging crowd has already thinned out and the park is almost completely empty. It feels like I’m standing alone on Mars. It feels like some damn Ray Bradbury tale.

My panting subsides and the sweat eventually cools off before disappearing altogether: I wish life would go on forever like this, like tonight.

I think of going for available girls on the phone book in my mobile, and I’m somehow relieved once I find out there are no longer any available girls left to call anymore.

The Messenger window flashes onscreen and it’s ____, just arrived in Prague for the week. When I ask him how he likes it so far, he tells me the girls there don’t seem to wear bras at all, and that he doesn’t understand a word they’re saying. I look at the blinking window for a full minute without thinking of anything.

“I suppose…,” I type back, a little confused and unsure if I’m able to spot the Czech Republic on a blank world map anyhow.

I look up living people on Wikipedia but can’t find my name included in the list.
It makes me think for a moment but then I’m distracted by something else entirely, maybe porn that’s just finished downloading, and I never give that a second thought.

Much later that same night, I’m leaning against the sink in the bathroom at home with no clothes on. I’m watching my reflection on the mirror as if making copious studies of all these wrinkles that have started to appear on my face as of late: I force a smile and the skin on the outer corners of my eyes folds and a crow’s foot or two stands out as if prepped to take flight.
I start to sigh but end up shrugging.

I rummage through the medicine cabinet among the condoms and the lubricant and the peppermint throat tablets to find the Lorazepam I’m not supposed to have, and wash one down with a sip of the Stolichnaya I’m expected to, even though my alarm clock is set for 5:30 in the morning.

I go for a long hot shower as I wait for my mind to melt away, and when the windowpane starts to fog I run my fingers over the glass and draw the word DYSTOPIA in large, irregular block letters as if actually expecting it to convey some unspoken meaning or intention, but that train of thought reaches nowhere, gets derailed, drowns in chemistry, fogs away.