It was time to leave, so I did. I packed three black trash
bags with clothes and six cardboard boxes with books. I put
them in my car and drove. There were other things in the car
too. I looked at them. The car was silent, then there was music.
I turned off the music. I felt nothing, thought nothing. Time
passed, and I looked at my rearview mirror. Three black trash
bags, six cardboard boxes. I looked at all the things in my car.
There were so many things in my car. My car looked strange
somehow. There were little things, indistinguishable sorts of
things. Ahead I saw a tollbooth. I pulled over, rolled down my
window, and leaned out, handing two dollars to the man inside.
“Thank you,” he said.
“Thank you,” I said. I drove further, over a bridge. I turned
on the radio again, and there was music. And then there wasn’t.
Not long after, I reached Philadelphia. I drove through the city
slowly, looking at a map I’d printed out, then back to the road.
Street signs. I pulled over to the side of the road and
parked. I called Jim. “Hey man, I’m outside.” I looked out
the window. The sky was gray. It was blank, simple. I felt
pretty good. Jim came out of the apartment, and I rolled down
my window. I waved, “Hey Jim.”
“Hey Robert.” He walked over to the window. “You want some
help moving your stuff in?”
“That’d be great,” I said. I felt comfortable, conscious, touching
my hair with a zen-like deliberateness. I moved around.
Later, I lay in Alison’s bed, listening to an old Death Cab for
Cutie record. Alison walked in. She was wearing only a towel,
her hair wet; she sat down next to me on the bed. I touched her
leg and smiled. Alison smiled.
Six months passed. Winter was approaching, and I rode my bike
to a Chinese restaurant. I locked it to a parking meter and
walked inside. “Table for one please,” I said to the hostess.
She walked me to an empty table, and I sat down. I ordered a
small dish and some tea. I sipped the tea, waiting for the
waitress to return. I felt nothing, thought nothing. I walked
to the bathroom and urinated. The waitress brought me food,
which I ate quickly. I paid the check and left. Outside, I
thought about Chinese food. I knew I shouldn’t eat it. I felt
good while I ate Chinese food. I always felt bad later. I biked
to the library and wandered around, staring at the books on the
shelves. I picked up a book of short stories by Martin Amis.
I read a couple, sitting alone on a chair in the stacks. Martin
Amis, I thought. What the fuck. I stared at the cover for
several seconds before returning the book to its shelf. Outside
winter felt closer than ever. Back home I took I took a shower
and lay down in bed. Okay, I thought. I lay there for some time.
from Zachary German's "Eat When You Feel Sad," remixed by David Fishkind