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Friday Night Freewrite

24 Oct

Fixed Cycle

There’s good self-consciousness, and then there’s toxic, paralyzing, raped-by-psychic-Bedouins self-consciousness.”
–David Foster Wallace

He can only see the pattern. First a piece of the off-white expanse, and then the black zig-zags snaking upward, and at last a sliver of his face in the faded gold foil that descends in a straight-edged column over every fourth line. The wallpaper is old, peeling and viscerally tacky, like those scattered extant roller discos, or David Lee Roth. He turns his head slightly, catching himself in the gaze of his left eye in that foil, and pupil-to-pupil a feedback loop of reflexivity builds behind his brow an infinitely dense black ball of gravity, a deep, draining helplessness.

8:30am, fifth snooze, pinned to the sheets by dread, sleepless from a growing adrenaline feed, an anxious stomach. He knows it’s too late to show up on time, knew as he watched the 10-minute intervals on the alarm clock greet his tired eyes in fluid succession when the last moment for a right-habit day would sneak by. Suddenly, the invisible electric shocks traverse him head-to-toe at infinite speed, and he leaps out of bed, frantically collecting a watch, cleanest shirt, khaki pants, cell phone, wallet…

Dried dots of toothpaste spittle form a lopsided heart constellation around his eye-in-the-foil, and as he traces his gaze around the invisible lines of its implied contours, he notices hot wetness glide down the sides of both nostrils, the left side wetness staggered slightly behind the right, both meeting beneath his septum and draining into four days of lip stubble, now a nascent (tear-drenched) mustache.

She left, without any final notice, no goodbye. As the hand cream applied moments prior clouded the saline in her cupped hand, and she cursed quietly, fumbling for her glasses, she saw the indentation in the repulsive 70’s wallpaper where his knuckles cracked skin, and she paused a moment to swallow the pity swelling in her throat, before flicking the milky contact lens into the sink, tiptoeing to the side door, and scuttling to the blue Honda humming expectantly outside.

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