Guilt of Nothing
A circus came through the area. An offer was extended and subsequently refused. Fear grew and the grip of nothing tightened.
Difficult to breath here. Thoughts drift to where they are now, and why I’m not with them. I miss the bearded lady’s hundred grit embrace.
Martha’s voice rang out, “Eggs and sausage!” Martha was in her mid 40’s and a staple waitress at a diner near my work.
I think of Martha some. She seems content, as though she’s experience enough and accepted things as they are. Maybe her current outlook was discovered at the end of a long road; but all I see is the final product. I admire her in some way. The truth is I only know her on a surface level, but she makes me wonder about those roads to peace. Some are hopelessly lost in the rough; perhaps others never need tread it at all.
“Here’s your coffee, man. So I take it the walker hasn’t caught up to you yet. He’s probably getting close by now!” She said with a smile.
“He’s got to be close. I haven’t been to my grandmother’s in years.”
The walker is a man that follows me back and forth between my home and my grandmother’s house. He’s out to kill me.
I told Martha about a my childhood memory of the man a while back. My grandmother lives in a small town about an hour from here. It’s gravel roads with little to look at all the way there. Sleeping with my head on the pillow as a child, I could hear my heartbeat thumping in my ears. It had a rustling sound to it.
I didn’t make the connection that this sound I’d hear while laying in the dark was actually my own heartbeat for quite a while. I don’t know why.
One day while riding the dirt and rock roads to grandmas, I saw a man walking in the heat along the road. Short and thick, and carrying an ax. We passed him, and I saw his heavy boots moving one labored step at a time.
He must being going to grandma’s. It’s the only place in this dry empty portion of the world, I thought.
That night laying in bed, I heard my heartbeat in the dark. Imagery of the ax man’s shoes on the gravel filled my mind. He’s coming this way.
The more I thought of him walking this way, the faster my heart started beating. His pace was quickening. He’ll be here soon. I heard the same sounds of my heartbeat while back at my own house. In my mind, we must have escaped grandma’s just in time, and now he’s started his walk this direction.
That man followed me back and forth for an entire summer; luckily we went to my grandma’s house frequently enough that he wouldn’t make it to my bedroom door before having to turn around. That’s what I’d assumed at the time, as I’d yet to be ax murdered.
I think this town is killing me. There’s nothing here for me. I’ve done the math, the dating pool is full of algae, and I’m wasting away.
Leaving is always on my mind. Fear, anxiety, and a painful life keeps me from drumming up the will power to change. A person can only rally so many times before they just shut off and give in. It’s a decision I’ve been trying to make. Do I call it quits, stay, get my coffee from Martha and smoke myself into a cancerous death, or do I take the little money I have and try and make a change? That might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s a difficult choice.
I’ve never enjoyed life. I don’t have the drive or ability to care anymore. I can’t; if I acknowledge I care, I have to deal with and feel emotions relating to my past. Relating to her. Relating to mistakes and lover’s scorned. Shutting down is easy and being quietly sorry from a distance is punishment enough. Plus, like the saying goes: wherever you go, there you are. Fucking hate that guy.
Screw it. I got my thermos refilled. I’ve got a circus to find and the skin on my face doesn’t feel nearly irritated enough.
I opened the door to leave the dinner, and someone promptly swung and ax into my chest.
“Oh well,” I thought as I laid dying. “Felt okay for a couple seconds just then. You know, before the ax.”
“Side of bacon!” Sang Martha in the background.