Fragment: Always On The Outside

A few years ago, I spent a few weeks regularly using Writing Streak, back when it was free (and IMO had a nicer interface). While digging through my files looking for material for this site, I found my export from that time. There are a few pieces that aren't too embarrassing, so I'll be reposting them here with a little cleanup.

This was a dream I had.

The crackle of a foot on gravel jolts me awake. A few feet away. I'm not sure whether I should stay still in hopes I haven't been seen or if I should make a quick exit. The early morning dew is soaking into my jeans and my shirt, and my bones feel like they were pulled apart and glued back together by a drunken hack of a mechanic. Whoever's standing behind me, I think, probably thinks I'm drunk. Maybe if I wait long enough he'll go away, maybe call the cops, and I can make a quick exit while he's busy. No cop's going to come out too fast for a report of a drunk passed out in someone's yard. I risk a look. Young guy, can't be much older than 30. Has the kind of facial hair where you spend a lot of time trying to make it look like you didn't spend much time on it. He's looking my direction... but he's not looking at me. Can of beer and unlit smoke in one hand, phone in the other. For a moment our eyes meet... and then he lowers them back down to the phone. It's been like this all night − however long this night has been − if it's even been just one night. I've fallen asleep what seems like a hundred times, only to wake up just as tired, just as alone, and it always still seems to be about four in the morning. It should be getting light any time now. I don't know how many times I've thought that, or even when I started thinking it. I consider asking what time it is, but something stops my lips as they try to form words. Every time, when I open my mouth to speak I have no voice, or the wrong words come out, or anything I say gets a blank and unknowing look. Or, worse, they look at me with sympathy and understanding. They promise to help me. They lead me somewhere and get me a warm blanket and go off to get me some tea and call me a cab home. In that moment of comfort, I drift off for a moment, and then I wake up with no blanket, no tea, no warmth, and no help, in a cold and bright room with every window and every door leading back into the endless night.