We ran. You said we took the easy way out. You never understood that running was the most courageous thing we’ve ever done. You said you taught us how to live, but you learned how to live from a book, while we learn how to live from our hearts. You call us ‘the free ones’ with contempt and disdain, oblivious to the fact that those are the words that keep us alive. We don’t question your beliefs nearly as much as we question your methods. We don’t question your faith - we question your refusal to let us have our own. Perhaps above all, we question your love, for love with conditions is no love at all.
I was sitting on the train today as we crossed the Manhattan Bridge, colors and graffiti flashing by in the usual New York City blur. I looked through the window as everything passed by, and I saw a girl sitting alone on the floor of the bridge, knees drawn up to her chest, her head in her hands. Everything seemed to go slow motion for a second. She was gone in an instant, almost faster than thought, but I’ll never forget how alone she looked as the world went on without her. She was sitting there with her head in her hands as the train thundered past, and I was on the other side, watching through the window. She was having her moment, completely unaware that I was, in some way, sharing it with her. She’ll never know some guy saw her at sixty miles an hour and spent the rest of the day wondering what she was so sad about. She’ll certainly never know he wrote about her. I wonder if she knows that two people can share two sides of the same moment and never even know it.
I’m fucking sick of you. You’re always here. You’re always here. You never let me be alone. You’re always lurking, hanging around somewhere in the background, talking, talking, talking. Yeah, that’s another thing, you never shut the fuck up. It’d be nice if you said something encouraging every once in a while, but no, you’re really fucking eloquent at telling me in a hundred different ways that I am shit. You’re with me in the shower, making extra sure to point out my new love handle or that handful of hair in the drain. You darken my eyes when I look in the mirror, you’re so damn good at making me see one giant flaw. You turn everything I do into shit, everything I see into shit, and you’ve almost entirely convinced me that I am, in fact, shit. Since I’m shit, you make me do bad shit - mostly to myself, but to people I care about too. Oh, you have me enjoying it - the cigarettes, the booze, the sex, and I can hear you laughing as I destroy myself in a frenzy, and I know you’re watching with a smile as I fuck myself to death. Here’s the thing, though. Every time you fuck me, I get a little bit older, a little bit wiser, a little bit dumber. I know I’ll never be rid of you. I know you’ll always be here. I know you’ll always be inside me. I know you’ll always be a part of me. But know this - you are not, and you will never, be me. So stick around, do your worst. This smile right here, it’s fucking real, because finally, for the very first time, I can’t hear you anymore.
He sits on the floor, he’s dressed in rags. I think they were clothes once. He’s wearing two different shoes with his big toe poking through one of them. His face is gray, but I don’t know what color his eyes are because I can’t bring myself to look at them. He’s surrounded by coffee cups and half eaten burgers and something that was possibly once apple pie. Everyone makes wide circles around him. Someone tells him to get a job. He just sits there, and I wonder what it’s like to have every last hope ripped away from you until the only one you’re left with is to eat today. I wonder if he had dreams like we do, and I wonder what can happen to a man to make them all go away.
I wonder what it feels like to feel naked when you walk down the street. I wonder what it feels like to walk a gauntlet of eyes, every single one of them having their way with you. I wonder what it feels like to be violated without being touched, and I wonder how hard you have to scrub to get that shit off in the shower. I wonder what it feels like to be stripped of your name, to be called by your parts, because that’s all they see. I wonder what it feels like to look in his eyes and have to wonder if he sees your body or if he’s looking at you. I wonder what it feels like, but you feel it every day.
You weren’t looking for anything serious. Neither was she. When she kissed you, you tasted hunger. You liked her, but you didn’t love her. She didn’t love you back. You fucked on the bed, you fucked on the floor, she called you back, and you fucked some more. She was the only girl who sang while you did it. She said being around you made her happy. You didn’t really know what to say so you squeezed her hand. But you weren’t looking for anything serious, and neither was she, so you tied her to your bed and fucked her again. Then one night she turned to you with tears in her eyes and said she was having a hard time not falling in love with you. Her tears broke your heart a little bit. You tried to end it a few times after that, but she wouldn’t hear of it. You both knew the deal, she said, and she was happier having you a little than not at all. Your conscience tore at you from both ends, but you stayed. Time went on and you still fucked, but there was a little less hunger and a little less heart. Then one night, she told you she met someone, and it shouldn’t have hurt so bad because it’s not like you were in love or anything. So you blinked back the tears and choked out a smile and gave her a hug and promised to be friends even though you knew you were losing one. You walked home with your shoulders on the floor and you couldn’t understand why it hurt so bad when you weren’t looking for something serious and neither was she. Still, though, you’d do it again in a heartbeat.