Dear Everything

Dear dead girl buried under this rain-smoothed tombstone:

We all have our demons. Some of us are bulimic and some of us are gamblers and some of us are drinking and smoking ourselves to cowards’ graves. Some of us have trouble remembering our children’s names and sit on the floor of the shower every morning and stare blearily at our wrists or ankles while the water hits us in the eyes and wonder what caused our wives to leave us with the debt and responsibility while they get to go off, carefree, steady incomes, life renewed and restored and maybe these kids aren’t even mine at all and maybe they’re Mike’s, that guy you worked with so many late nights a week, and maybe we only had sex so you could cover the evidence of his existence begriming your insides while you lay motionless in discomfort and god-will-he-just-finish-already-my-shows-are-on.

Dear emotionless old man I can see sitting at the window of the retirement home every day at noon:

You can’t make a wish without regretting something first. A wish for riches means you regret not making more money. A wish for fame means you regret not being more outgoing or attractive or interesting. A wish for love means you regret everything you’re not. Or everything you’re no longer. Or everything you failed to live up to. Searching for a significant other is a game of limbo and goddamn if your knees are just a bit too stiff. Maybe someone will be there for you to stumble backwards into.

Dear rusty steel guitar abandoned on the corner that I’m considering taking home:

Technology has left me hopelessly connected to my friends. I am logging on to Twitter just to see what Chris has to say about the newest iPhone travel app. He approved of it. I read about what Marshall had for lunch. It was a pulled pork sandwich. Facebook tells me that everyone is disappointed with the government. Tumblr and Deviant Art remind me that there are infinite numbers of funnier and more insightful artists and writers than me on the earth and technology has made me want to give up. The more I am allowed to experience, the stronger the urge is to quit, forever. Just quit everything. Remember when everything was made out of wood and bronze? Everything must have glittered just a little bit brighter.

Dear telemarketer that cannot hang up until I have hung up first or said “goodbye”:

Do you ever feel like nothing is perceived the same from person to person? Well, I know that everyone sees everything a little differently but what about the actual, mental process of seeing something? When I see a dog, I see a small, furry thing with four legs and a lolling tongue but that guy next to you on the bus stop bench, what does he see? A neon ball with tentacles and teeth where the eyes should be? Is this man sane? Am I sane? Does my description seem more or less plausible than his? Yes. A creature covered in fur with only four legs is simply inconceivable. Click.

Dear broken fax machine in my backseat that I’m taking to the dump:

Language is difficult. A friend in distress. A word taken out of context. Lying on the couch in a dark apartment at 1:10am, flicking the joystick on a game controller, processing the events of the day in broken ones and zeros, unsuccessfully. It’s not always possible to convey feelings, thoughts, intentions in words. Sometimes you’re talking to a friend out on the sidewalk and it’s cold and silent and a car drives by and you get this feeling like, shit, this isn’t what I expected today to be like and you start to say something but he cuts you off and starts talking about his work problems and you realize your little day issue isn’t much in comparison to him potentially getting laid off and everything snaps into place and you become aware of all these little annoying things about yourself but realize after ten minutes that you haven’t been listening to a word he’s just said and he asked you a question, waiting for a response, while you take a second to jot this down on your mental list of things you hate about yourself.

Dear crushed pack of cigarettes in the ash bucket out front of my building:

We aren’t all funny. We’re not all attractive. But sometimes this can work to an advantage. Yeah, you’re pretty but what’s underneath? Maybe there’s more than I could ever possibly imagine, a world of emotion and exuberance just aching to be released in a torrent of words and smiles and splendor and perfection. Maybe there’s hardly anything. Maybe I’ll never find out because I was too busy with myself to consider you. Maybe I’ve already found out and was too stupid and disrespectful to keep it. Maybe you don’t think about me anymore. Maybe I just miss you.

Dear store clerk eying the children in the candy aisle suspiciously:

We’ve all been there. Just remember: you are not inherently alone but are more than capable of inviting isolation. And when it comes, it will stay.

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