He sits there glowing inversely, casting furtive glances around the crowded room. I can’t remember how long I’ve been seeing him sit that way. Has it been months? Years? Entire lifetimes? It was that inverse glow that first startled me so profoundly. He is jagged when all around him is polished to sterile smoothness. He is true and bitter when those around him are saccharine and false. He is sitting among crowds of generic people, yet is wrapped in solitude, disconnected from those around him. He watches everyone, and not a single person sees him. The table in front of him is empty of everything except his beer, yet a multitude of words emanate from him, humming, distorting the air around him like heat waves.
Carrying an apple core to the garbage as a false pretext, I draw near him, squinting to make out those words. I see “fog” and “disappointment”, “melancholy” and “self-loathing”, “sorrow” and “bitter pragmatism”, “weariness” and “unapologetic indulgence”. And at their whirling center hangs an entire sentence, heavy and final: “Universe, I DARE you to show me something I’ll give a shit about.” These words linger so dense and viscous that as I pass through the space around him, I feel them sticking to my skin, and I carry them with me for days and days to follow. They haunt me, and I wonder, where do they come from? Their fatal darkness bewitches me, and in that moment, I become a buzzard-winged guardian angel.