A Mexican girl on the subway flitted through inexpertly taken photos of herself on her little red camera as she stood in front of a taxi cab in her ill-fitting black dress, her features erased by overpowering flash. A child stared out the window as the train passed over the bridge, the city glowing indistinctly in the distance, hazy, uncertain. A sleeping man’s head bobbed as the train shook but failed to wake him. Something was eating away at my stomach, a memory trying to push its way through, a half forgotten shame that I felt but did not recall, and my mouth tasted like cigarettes and wine.
The descending major third told me that it was time to get off the train out into the night sky sickly orange with failing street lights. I told a man I did not have any money for him. A dog barked in the distance. I felt my pockets to make sure I had my wallet, my phone, my keys. I checked my phone for messages, but there were none. I realized I was hungry but there was no money in my wallet and no food at home. My hands ached. One eye was blurry and I thought I should change my contact lens when I got home. Couples were sitting at tables in front of a restaurant chatting merrily, eating, loving each other, a rise in their cheeks a prelude. One woman made eye contact with me and quickly turned away. I told her I was sorry. She didn’t reply.
At my home nothing had changed. Everything was exactly as I had left it whenever I had left it. I was unsure. I was always unsure. In the fridge I had a beer. I drank it. It didn’t make me feel better or different. In the silence, the din from the living outside my windows muffled by cinder blocks and double paned glass, I sat. I hadn’t turned on the lights which was just as well since there was nothing to see. I checked my phone again for messages, missed calls. Still nothing.
Where had I been tonight? I tried to think about it, but I couldn’t remember. Did it really matter? I walked through this world, asleep, dreaming banalities, a day at work, a day at school, grocery shopping, rejection, aloneness, quiet moments broken only by more quiet.
I flipped through the television channels. Yelled at on every station to buy insurance or sports drinks or razors with 9 blades, I lost interest and turned it off. I needed something to soften the knot in my guts, something to fill the quiet, something to distract me from the gaping emptiness my life espoused.
I walked over to my refrigerator. I opened the freezer and stood the there for a moment with my eyes closed letting the cold, sharp air roll over my face. I grabbed her head at the plastic wrap I’d used to cover her hair and ears. I stared into her eyes and though I knew she couldn’t see me, it felt like she could. Like she could see my pain and understand it. Like she was here with me. I loved her so. I kissed her freezer-burned lips and returned her to her icy home.