(an untitled collaborative short story by me and http://zaroz.tumblr.com/)
the analytical boy is plagued by just that. he sits in the bathtub for hours and just stares at himself in the water’s reflection, the thin tufts of wiry black hair on his body and the breathe in breathe outs are with him. he wears a bathing suit in the bathtub because he is a hopeless romantic and he thinks that she should be the only one who gets to view his naked body. as if by viewing himself, he will tarnish his image. he discards the notion of her being something gilded or golden. he breaks down the pedestal that he has put her on and dumps an entire bottle of mr.bubbles into the running water. she becomes significantly more beautiful. drawing the whole spectrum of human emotion in the grime on the tiles, he traces a smiley face at one end and a frowny face at the other and an arrow connecting the two. it is a simple gesture but he needs it. he whispers “oscar the grout” and smiles at himself.
he is writing nihilistic poetry with words cut out of the love letters that someone sent him in middle school. he pastes the words into newspapers and his poems begin to look like random notes. he signs a new pseudonym at the bottom of each one, preceded only by a “sincerely yours,”. when his pen runs out of ink he tosses the poems into the bathtub and frowns when they don’t dissolve as quickly or dramatically as he expected. instead they float in the water and the ink runs off the pages. he can see letters floating back up in little bubbles. they pop with little hiccups and spell out the names of people who don’t talk to him as often as they used to. slowly though, after he stands there long enough, starring, the binding comes loose and the pages drift across the surface. soon they stretch across the entirety of the bathtub and it looks as though it is filled to the brim with soaked sheets with running letters. his lip quivers at how beautiful the illusion is.
but now the floor of the bathroom is wet with soap and water and ink. he continues to melt away in the thin streaks that trek across his thighs and shoulders. little pieces of his skin roll away with the water that drips to the floor and now he is sinking into the wood of the floorboards. a mix of soap and water and ink is sucked up by the planks and starts warping them like january fingers outside of pockets. whatever isn’t soaked up into the boards drips down a floor below. into teacups left on the dining room table. he finds a sense of meditation in watching the water and ink and soap drip from his wiry and hair and tap the floor. he is hypnotizing himself in the bathroom. he is going to do everything he ever put off doing.
on his twenty third birthday, he compiles a list of every book he has ever read. he goes to several bookstores to acquire whichever books were no longer in his personal collection. he had lent out so many books that were important to him to classmates or friends or exlovers or complete strangers as if the words could make them feel what they made him feel. he wanted people to understand him. he wanted people to get it. he wanted people who seemed at a standstill to feel fucked. he needed it. so he gave some of his books away and didnt get most of them back. but today is his twenty third birthday and he is standing in front of the table in his apartment that is usually cluttered with papers from the office and half eaten bowls of cereal and dirty socks but today it is his twenty third birthday and none of those things are on it. every single book that he has ever read over the course of his life is on that table and he starts weeping and turns off his cellphone and deactivates his facebook account.
he goes to sleep and wakes up the next day with the imprint of his wristwatch on his face. he is wearing the same clothes as he slept in. the same clothes from the day before. it doesnt matter. he gets in his ford-f150. he starts driving. he thinks about crashing it into another car. it’s easy. he sees a refrigerator on the side of the road with a piece of paper taped to it. “free. it stil [sic] works. take it.”
he slows the car way down and reads the sign again and again. he can feel the tiny movement of eye muscles moving and deliberately trying to understand each word individually. he can feel himself abstractly looking for meaning in the stains on the corners of the paper. he alternates between finding conspiracy theories and beauty in them. he wonders why things always have to be beautiful. he looks at the refrigerator closely, taking in its rusted hinges and cracked icebox. getting out of his truck, he puts two hands on it, lifting it all by himself, surprised by how light the load is and carries it off.
he puts it in the bed of the truck and drives home and he asks his neighbor if he will help him carry it through the doorway and into the kitchen. the neighbor helps him and leaves, and then he plugs in the refrigerator and waits until it gets cold enough. after, he puts all of the books in there and closes the door. he goes outside and sits in a lawn chair and realizes that there is nothing to think about and then she pulls up in her car.