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Felt by Ray Printer Friendly

The bad part is, like the really shit thing, is that people don't understand. Which means they don't believe.

You can't believe in what you don't understand, no matter what those religious people say. "God works in mysterious ways," they say, as if that explains anything. As if that should help somehow. Like that lack of being able to explain it explains it. Deep down, maybe they think they believe it. But you can't believe what you don't understand, not really.

So when you're crazy, the only people who really relate are all the other crazies. They're the only ones who—when they aren’t flinging handfuls of their feces into your hair or screaming at the plant or crying by the window—can relate. They’re the only ones who truly believe you. But fuck them, right? They’re all nuts.

The people who love you, the people you really wish could understand, they just think you're an asshole.

She holds the bottle just a little too long—I’d like to think she’s second-guessing her decision—so instead of smashing into my face, it slams into my chest and falls to the floor. She’s screaming about how I’m an asshole. This is that thing I was telling you about.

I pick the bottle up and unscrew the cap, because what the hell, at this point. She’s screaming about what a selfish, self-absorbed, self-obsessed asshole I am as I tip the bottle back and take three deep swallows. It tastes like shit, but even cheap whiskey is whiskey, and it’s looking like it’s going to be one of those nights.

I want to tell her to shut up, and then I want to tell her that I love her. But she wouldn’t do that first thing, and she wouldn’t believe that second thing, so I just take another drink and look at her as she screams at me that I don’t care about anyone other than myself.

Just for the record, she’s wrong. I care about other people. I care about a lot of other people. I’m just not very good at it. I’ve tried my entire life, but there’s always this thing, this faulty switch, this broken piece.

They have a name for it. They have lots of names for, it, really. When they hand you your amber plastic bottles inside the discreet little white bag at the drug store, they also give you about thirty pages of literature, telling you when to take all the pills, and what each one does. Also, when the doctor gives you the prescription for the amber bottles and literature, he gives you another couple booklets of literature.

Stuff about dissocial personality disorder. Stuff about narcissistic personality disorder. Stuff about histrionic personality disorder. Stuff that means you don’t give a shit. They give you this huge stack of booklets telling you about how you don’t care, and they expect you to read them. “To better understand your condition,” they tell you, “So you can better express to your friends and loved ones what’s happening.”

They give you fifty pounds of big words, all of it telling you why you’re an asshole, and then they tell you to read it, under the assumption that you aren’t an asshole.

The pills, they make you feel on the inside what a mannequin looks like on the outside. Fake and plastic and hollow.

You take them because you’re trying to show everyone what an asshole you aren’t, look at me, look at me, I’m working to make me a better person for you! And with every gelatin-covered swallow, you lose a little more of yourself, until you forget why you’re trying not to be an asshole in the first place.

And then you stop taking your pills, and you remember that you love these people, you remember what it feels like to love them, but by then, you’re already fucking up again.

She stops mid-rant and tells me that I shouldn’t be drinking. Tells me that the alcohol screws with the drugs.

“If I was taking the drugs, would we be having this conversation?” I ask her.

“This!” She screams at me. She waves her arms in a vague sweep, so I’m not real sure what she’s talking about, specifically. “This, right here, this is why I call you an asshole! You just stop taking your medication? You know what that does to you!”

What it does to me is, it makes me feel like a real life person, albeit one who doesn’t make the best decisions. They say that without the medication, I can’t relate to people, I can’t empathize with people, I can’t treat them like a normal human being treats people. Humane, is the word one doctor used.

What they don’t understand is I can either be humane or I can be human. What they don’t understand is that some humans just aren’t very humane. What they don’t understand is that even with the drugs, I can’t empathize. My options are being selfish or being a robot. A zombie.

I’d rather break hearts than eat brains.

I’d rather have a broken heart than be heartless.

I’m always going to be broken, but at least if I skip the meds, I can enjoy it a little.

She grabs another bottle, and she doesn’t hesitate this time. Grabs it off the white satin covered table and hurls it. I’m ready for her this time, and because I’m not all zonked out on prescription lobotomy, I’m not only able to dodge, I'm also able to read the label before she chunks it. Champagne, and if it’s as generic as the whiskey is, I’m probably doing a favor for most of the wedding party. And they say I can’t empathize.

The bottle shatters on the dance floor and barely even bubbles. Would have been like drinking stale, sugary piss. And they say I can’t do nice things for other people.

“I hate you!” She screams.

What do you say to that kind of thing? I suppose you could say something like, “No you don’t,” but that doesn’t really seem appropriate, especially if you aren’t 100% sure. You could say something like, “I’m sorry,” but they don’t believe that. They don’t believe it because they don’t understand it.

They don’t understand how you could have a wonderful drive from Queens to Maine, renting a car, picking up your girl, enjoying a nice breakfast just outside the city as the sun rises, changing the world into a painting, that’s how perfect it is. You drive, you make jokes and you laugh and you talk about the future, and you’re amazed at how great life feels, you’re fucking amazed, because life hasn’t felt this good in forever, and you’re telling yourself you should have stopped taking your meds a long time ago.

They don’t understand how at the rehearsal dinner last night, you looked like the perfect couple, how you were the perfect couple, and then…this.

They don’t understand—she doesn’t understand—how it was all so perfect and then you got a little too reckless in the coat closet with the bridesmaid and tumbled out with your pants around your ankles and her mouth around your cock.

The bridesmaid, she isn’t even pretty! That’s what she yells at me. She looks like a blown-out dough tube in that dress, and did you see that acne on her back?

That’s what she yells at me, even though everyone is standing just behind the door, just outside the reception area. The fat, back-ne, dough-tube bridesmaid, she’s out there, too, and I’m sure it hurts her feelings that my girlfriend is screaming about her like that. And they say I don’t care about others.

What do you say to that kind of thing?

I see movement in my peripheral vision, and turn just in time to see an old bald guy duck back behind the door. We’re out on a patio, everything so draped in white that it almost looks like Halloween vandalism. Tables, chairs, the floor—all of it covered in white satin or white silk or white paper or white napkins or white flowers. It would look pretty if it didn’t look so desperate.

There’s a handprint on one of the table clothes, a little brown handprint where a little boy touched it with frosting on his hands. He was crawling out of his chair and reached for the tablecloth. Something he probably does twenty times a day at home. He did it like it was a natural thing, but when his mother saw what he did do the silk table cloth, she took him around the building and beat his ass. You can still hear him sobbing, and his mother frantically shushing him. She wants to hear what’s going on in here just as much as everyone else does.

They act like this is an embarrassment, just like my girlfriend does. The thing is, this was bound to happen. This is one of those things, just like the kid with his dirty hand on the table cloth, you know? One of those things that happens so regular that you can’t go public and expect it not to happen, no matter how much you threaten. No matter how much you promise, no matter how much you warn.

Me and the kid with the dirty hands, we should go grab a Mountain Dew, some cookies, and play some video games. He’d understand. Kids are all insane.

They’re all selfish, self-absorbed, self-obsessed assholes. They’re all like me, until we train it out of them.

You catch it early, these days. This broken switch, this thing that makes you wrong. The kid with the dirty hands, he’ll probably be medicated before the car trip home. He won’t ever know what it is to live life as something other than a zombie, so he’ll never know that it isn’t right.

He’ll never know that it’s better to live unable to empathize and love rather than to live unable to hurt others. He’ll never know that life is a mistake you can’t fix with a pill.

Unless it’s the morning after pill.

These are my thoughts, and that last one makes me laugh. In case you don’t empathize, in case you can’t relate, laughing is not the proper response in this situation, no matter what you’re thinking.

“You think it’s funny?”

“No.”

“You fuck. Laugh your ass home.”

With that, she storms out, through all the guests gathered on the other side of the door, shoving the fat bridesmaid out of the way, knocking the dirty-handed crying kid down. She looks super sexy as she storms away, and I can’t help it—I lift my camera and take a few pictures.

She turns back to me, enraged, and I still can’t help it—I push the little silver button, and the shutter clicks.

“You motherfucker!” She begins storming back towards me, and no matter how apathetic you are, no matter how much you don't understand people or relate to them, you know she wants to yank the camera away and destroy it. I take another picture. Another. Another.

“They’ll look great in your portfolio,” I tell her. “Angry is really your thing.” And they tell me I can’t think like other people.

She stops. Flips me off. CLICK. Glares at me. CLICK.

“I hate you,” she says again.

What do you say to that?

“I know,” I tell her.

CLICK.

“And you look great doing it,” I tell her. I want to believe that she's hurt. I want to believe that she hates me. But you never really believe what you don't understand.

The tears running down her face don’t do her nearly as much justice, but I manage to take another three pictures before she rushes back through the doors. I take a few pictures as I wade through the crowd on the other side of the door, but mostly I’m wanting to get out to the other side of the house.

I get a really good shot of her slamming her dress in the car door, and quite a few really nice pictures of her speeding away.

And then I turn around real quick and take a series of shots of the crowd as they watch, and then as they pretend that they weren’t watching. And they say I don’t relate.

They say I don’t feel.

They say I’m apathetic.

I know people all too well, and maybe that’s why I am how I am. Or maybe that’s just a rationalization.

Maybe I’m just broken.

But who isn’t?

I look for the girl with the best tits, and I ask her, is she from New York.


posted 6/23/09


Comments:
Entered By Ricky From out there
2009-07-10 05:29:20

Another fuckin masterpiece. I am in awe of this kind of storytelling. Thanks, once again.


Entered By Ray From Austin
2009-07-16 03:49:51

You're too kind, Big Dog.


Entered By Anonymous From Unknown
2009-08-26 16:24:11

well done. the intro is a little too seperate from the rest, try to make it blend a little more. other than that, good job


Entered By Ray From Austin
2010-03-29 02:10:06

I'm thinking I should have cut that second paragraph completely.


Entered By angel From california
2010-03-31 05:19:03

whoever wrote this kicks ass...it made me laugh and think deeply at times....



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