Path Four

Wind ripping its fingers through a tangle of curls reveals just how easily strands that should be inextricably intertwined can unwind.

I step past the dimming aquarium sign and glare at it. What the fuck is wrong with Aaron? I ask him to pick me up one time and where is he? I should have let Marcus drive me home but I’m not sure what would have made Dad more upset; me coming home after he gets home, or me getting dropped off by a boy. Dad will be home in 20 minutes. So, I have like 15 minutes to get to the house and then 5 minutes to make it look like I’ve been there for hours. My hair is all over the place right now. I wish I was headed back toward the aquarium, not towards this crosswalk with the broken street lights on the other side.

When I was walking earlier, at least the breeze was on my face, wooshing my hair behind me. Time wasn’t seeping into the corners of my vision then like it is right now. I had nowhere to be. I yank my hair back out of my face and marvel at how easily strands that should be inextricably curled together fall apart. Even walking this fast, I’m screwed. I let my hair go and it rushes back, clouding my vision and groping my head like an jellyfish that can’t take a hint. I wish I had let Marcus drive me. Ah, look at this asshole running. He really thinks he’s killing it, too. At least he’s faster than me with the limp that my clip clop metronome heels are making me walk with. I need to be home in-

Swerve. Girl with hair dodged. One foot in front of the other. Faster. Faster. Beat my time. Faster. Faster. Beat my time. Marathon is days away. Beat my time. Last year I failed. This year I win. This year I beat time. Temporary pain. Everlasting title. Beat my time. Breathe in. Breathe out. Track runs past aquarium. Remember the route. Remember this track. Faster. Faster. Girl in the way. Swerving-

Whoa. Zoom zoom bro. I gotta ask Davie and Marcus what we just smoked because this shit right here is flames. The air or time or humidity or sea breeze or whatever you call it feels like water right now. I’m floating. This must be what the fishies feel like. Glug glug. The fish that I see but never really see. When it gets dark out, the water and the black of the night are so close in color, you could fall in and not know you were drowning until you saw the light. I wonder how many fish have been replaced without me knowing. When they replace the blue fish, they don’t replace a particular blue fish, they just they maintain the idea of the blue fish. Just like when I leave in a few months, they won’t replace me, they’ll just replace the girl who does the birthday parties. I’m even less real than the fish in the tanks- a feeder fish that clocks in and out of her tank to give her the illusion that she’s not in one. From 9 to 5 you know where to find me. Bumping into other fish but never really seeing them or being seen. Kinda like this homeless guy floating close to me. But I have somewhere to be at 9 am. I have a tank to-

That girl shouldn’t be out so late. The street lamps are on.
She’ll be afraid Of people like me. But I’m not scary. Not really.

I don’t have a home, but I’m not a threat. I’m not so much of anything anymore. I just walk around and then stop at a new place and then walk around again.

So far, I can just keep on drifting through Life until eventually it ends.
Life slips through my fingers like water slips off the edge and
falls down below to more water. And I don’t mind. What do I have left anymore?
I’m just A guy with nowhere to be and all the time in the world. What constrains me Other than what path on which I choose to put my feet? That girl, she stands
Still, but I move on. Time suspends itself at my will: I control it.
Nothing I do today looks any that different from what I did when I got off the plane from Afghanistan.
Am I really better off? What about –

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