I know I shouldn't — the best thing to do would be to delete them from the hard drive, throw the laptop onto the street and stomp it, kick it, smash it into shards. But that would only serve to frustrate me. I would lose the last threads of another existence. Not to mention destroying a perfectly good Mac.
I look at the pictures.
"Hey, baby," I say to the smiling face. There is no answer, of course — I'm not that far gone, not yet — but I can hear the voice in my head and it carries a smile, a note of affection. Stupid sumbitch, I say to myself. You goddamned stupid sumbitch. Which only makes me think about using the Merriam-Webster app to give voice to the word sumbitch, something we did for chucks as we smoked cigars and laughed, once upon a long time ago. The thought makes me want to smash the computer, so once again I linger over the photos.
Shards: like the ones I want my laptop reduced to, like the ones in the hot glass pipe, like the fragments of memories that refuse to go away, no matter how much I try to destroy them. They linger, dodging my best efforts to kill the cells that contain them. They're stubborn that way, just like the people who created them.
The silence is good. Not quite golden, but at least it's quiet and I can think in this space, I can remember best the reasons why this must be my existence. I keep thinking that looking at the photos in silence will be the cure-all; I will be able to conjure up the hatred needed to rewrite history. Instead it reminds me of bells and beauty and bliss. It reminds me of a truth now denied.
Fuck it, I say, closing the laptop. It's best this way, I remind myself. Best to be exiles, best to be strangers. Time and distance will cement the lie and turn it into reality. Who? Never heard of her. What, you think I'm crazy? It was all a rumor.
I close my eyes. Behind my lids I am wide awake and living in dreamland. The photos come to life. There is nothing on this plain that compares to the colors of that world.
Misfit, I sit,
Lit up, wicked.