Home > prose and poetry > how not to spend the final few years of one’s teenage life

how not to spend the final few years of one’s teenage life

She lights another cigarette. She lights another stick of cancer. She takes another step towards an early death without ever getting up from the couch. She knows I don’t like her smoking. It’s impossible that she’d forget. I told her. I keep telling her. She doesn’t care. Not one bit. As far as I can tell, the only thing I’ve managed to tell her is that I’m actually a broken record, a cliche, and, thus, boring as fuck.

She smiles and blows smoke directly in my drink. She looks me in the eye. I don’t like the look in those eyes, contemptuous and defiant, daring me to actually do something. I don’t like how it makes me feel. I don’t know how I—the token pathetic sop who’s the fuel for many an utterance to the effect of “I know someone just like him!”—managed to end up living with her in a dingy one-bedroom apartment with a balcony overlooking one of the busiest streets in the city with an old couple and a drug dealer for neighbours and I certainly don’t like it. Not exactly how I imagined spending the final years of my teenage life.

(I’ve never seen any of her neighbours—our neighbours, rather—so I have to believe her when she tells me that they actually do exist and that the noises that occasionally penetrate the paper-thin walls aren’t being created by ghosts of murder victims and druggies who overdosed on the “it” drug of whichever decade it was that they died in.)

I grab my drink, get up and head for the balcony. She tracks my movement with those eyes of hers or maybe she doesn’t, I don’t know for sure. I don’t think I really care anymore. I don’t think I ever cared, in fact. But I don’t know for certain. I can only guess. I’ve always been plagued by an inability to figure out how I really feel about someone. Second-guessing infatuations and third-guessing love is all I’ve ever done.

The night air is cool and the balcony is slick due to the rain that fell earlier in the night. Down below the trafic crawls slowly, almost unmoving, glacier-like. Not many people on the sidewalks, the recent rise in snatch thefts has seen to that. No-one’s safe anymore in the city. But then no-one ever was. It’s just the kind of danger that’s changed, not how dangerous it actually is.

I finish my drink, let the can drop from my outstretched hand into the darkness below and decide to look out upon the city. Or, at least, what little of it I can see that isn’t obscured by high-rise apartment blocks and shiny new office buildings. I look at the apartment blocks with their windows lighted up in some sort of esotetic code looking like a Rut Blees Luxemburg photo and begin to hope that somewhere, out there, there’s someone for me. Maybe she’s alseep, maybe she’s parked in front of the TV gorging on junk food trying to get over her ex-boyfriend, maybe she’s out on the town getting horribly drunk. Maybe, maybe, maybe. All I really hope for is someone better to be with. Someone who cares.

And that, somewhere out there, someone’s looking out upon this godforsaken city just like me and wishing for the exact same thing.

You wanted prose. I promised you prose. Thus, you get prose. I didn’t write this because of that, though. I’d written this a while ago, so, technically, I still haven’t broken out of this turgid state of mind. I did take some photographs though, today, during my short trip to (where else?) Central Market. Can’t wait to see how Fuji’s Acros 100 is.

I played CoD4 online today for the first time. Let’s just say I think I now know what will be keeping me up most nights from now on.

(And I know, the title sucks.)

Categories: prose and poetry
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