A chill hung heavy over the soldier-no-more. Northwestern air had been absent from his lungs for what seemed like years. A refreshing sweetness sucked in and held down. The stoic transformed, stone face gazing upon a sea of concrete and glass, metal and plastic, as far as the eye perceives. No welcome this time around. A new car pulls up; old man steps out. The statue affixes himself to a fresh leather seat. The car departs the terminal. The dead, the walking grave, had arrived.
It was a cold welcome and I didn’t stay long. At least someone had enough decency to at least pretend to be glad to see me even if it was just to mooch a high. It was a ghetto ride, seat belts were all for show. Of course this was something unknown to me and yet to be realized for quite some time.
We called up an old friend. Shortly thereafter I found myself in an airstream staring down the carb of a gas mask bong. My past experience with cs gas and my lack thereof with pipes lead to a rather eventful evening. My skin was candle wax melting over itself.
I was a god, and he was an urethra, yet no one even knew. Paranoia and tits, a lack of control, and markers that stole part of my soul as they fell from my hand to the ground. My mind had been blown and yet it meant nothing at all.
I rented an apartment. I had met the roommate a few years prior, so it seemed a lucky draw, or so I thought at the time. I moved my shit in.
Mooch came by soon after. We drove to a head shop a few miles out. He wanted to split the cost of a hookah with me. I never saw his investment, yet it didn’t stop him from treating the pipe as his own. It stayed with me.
I didn’t leave much. Surrounded by pussy, it was never enough. Yet sometimes I miss it still; to feel wanted, desired in a world of shit and piss. Nevertheless, I sat there in the dark, just as I had been most of the day. Over-thinking, over-analyzing, swinging on a spiral of my own divinity. God damn my head hurt. That was the last charcoal. I stumble to my room and fall asleep to the rhythm and the echo of the bells inside my temple.
This guy sold me a bag of plants to brew some tea. I bought a slow cooker for the brew. There I was, getting ready to see my own personal Jesus, maybe some fucking aliens. It tastes like shit, didn’t seem to do much either. I drink deep and wait…nothing fucking happens. I need more charcoals.
I walk into the shop. Some motherfucker staring through a rack of pornos at me as the door swung shut. I went to the counter passing phallic arms I didn’t give much thought to. Bought a pack of quick light charcoals and walked out leaving that sonofabitch gawking.
I was driven to the publicly available mental health services clinic. Many people suffering hardships took up residency in the waiting room days on end. I met with a bitch. As I recounted aspects of my former soldierly duties it became clear that she was a mouth-gaper. I tell her the story of my daily ordeals in civilian life:
I stepped out for a walk with a specific destination in mind, yet I recall not what the intention was. I left the flea ridden room behind me as I marched along the edge of the traffic strewn asphalt sea. A young man walked towards me. I suddenly became aware of my knife, his throat, his ribs…the knife in his side that I twisted and torqued on, his blood flowing forth. Fragments of his mangled jugular on the pavement, his blood upon my face, jagged teeth marks upon his throat as he collapsed to the ground…he passed me and I continued on my way.
Her jaw hung low, in silence she stared. Words had escaped her. She knew not what to say. In time she began to regain composure. She had no recommendations, so she asked me what I needed as if I somehow knew. I gave thanks for her time and silently departed the ward.
I was sitting alone thinking suicide. Just so tired of the nothing; the empty. I have no camaraderie. I recalled an elderly sentiment.
“The mind can make a heaven of hell and a hell of heaven.”
I figured that must be true. Nietzche spoke of the state as a cold machine. That seems to be true too. The state conditions us to believe that life is a certain way. Then we are shocked to find life to be different when we see other cultures; murder other cultures. I went to the roof. The sun seemed to help; the writing as well. Of course, serenity never lasts. I started imagining falling to the ground with my book. The warmth felt nice. I could lose the wind though. I thought about the possibilities, but I was too afraid to ditch this wave I was struggling to ride.
I had built a fortress, but my walls had come crashing down upon my head. A shattered pottery was the remnant of my certainty. I snapped. I broke. The army ultimately failed me, but it was good while it lasted. That’s what I tell myself. At least they had provided me with a life to lead. But out here? As a nasty? I had too much time to think and I could never remain numb long enough. I couldn’t see myself holding a job. I was just biding my time. And how could I return to business as usual? I didn’t even know who I was.
I didn’t see a point in finishing the degree and while I talked of other options, I was too chicken-shit to commit, to any of it. Always too afraid. I’d probably finish the degree anyway. Not because I wanted to, but because I didn’t know what else to do. Well I did, but I was too afraid to take the risk. It was easier to fail silently. I missed my rifle.
I sat there on a park bench thinking about choking on a shotgun. I recall Ernest doing the same the state over. I wondered if it was this ailment that plagued those we call the greats. They never seemed very great—the bunch of misanthropic, chauvinistic, suicides. I wondered if they wrote to ease their passing as I did.
I had expected to have been buried by now, burnt away. Ashes in the wind. Something poetic like that. There were always the naysayers…
“You don’t have it so bad…look at those pagans oceans away…now, they have something to complain about!”
“Yea, yeah. I know. I just wish I could suffer alongside them. Perhaps then my external physicality might mirror the blistering internally.”
See, I desired to live the bad life of Harris. Not because it is by any means attractive, but perhaps then I might be appreciative. Maybe I might then have a chance at understanding, but I wasn’t bred for such a thing it would seem. Too chicken-shit anyways. Never satisfied. Always sabotaging the good things-the pleasant things. I never felt deserving.
I realized that I had been conditioned to be afraid of loneliness. While I was a lone wolf prior to service, on reentry I was fearful alone. Always with a buddy. I didn’t know what to do by myself. What was the protocol? So I rarely left the house unless I had a mission, a purpose. When I did venture out I lingered relatively near to my base of operation. I was still without my rifle.
I usually slept alright…I had day terrors, not at night. Anxiety, depression, suicide. Homicide even. Failure of reintegration. We certainly spent the money on bombs and drones, never spent any on the transition—counseling, therapy—there was no place prepared for us. We were all left high and dry. And they had the audacity to wonder why we snapped. It was all pretty fucked up. No one came to my rescue. No one defended me in my hour of need. I have no hope for the human condition. We are all so miserable, at least I am. I was never asked what I wanted, what my hopes and dreams were. I honestly just wanted to go die, so it didn’t really matter, but it was the principle that perturbed me. I was a minister of wrath, responding to the needs of a god that wasn’t mine and a country I couldn’t trust. The seed I sowed was bloody and vile. So, how was I supposed to know what I wanted? It was never relevant prior. Just point and shoot. Eleven-Bang-Bang.
Life gets rather dull at times, pretty plain if you’re a melon. Blind. Ignorant till realizing everything is a product, even yourself, and you indulge only to remain empty and alone. Work kills and play forces the suicidal hand, gesturing for it to end. It’s all shit. From any angle. In any light. Living a life I don’t want. The worst part being offered an escape, but declining it out of fear. Yet, I’m no longer sure if shit went down that way. Perhaps I’m mistaken. I could be. Nothing really is as it seems and hindsight only burdens the picture. Inflicting the blain on its surface.
Nothing says quality family time like ads. I mean—the fucking ads! You arrive, there are greetings exchanged and then everyone disburses to their digital vices. A primarily dry household that indulges in gluttonous savagery. A sad existence and I take part, longing to end my torment with a bullet to the head. The Glock is calling my name. Family get-together. What else is there to say? They’d char the bones of their vanquished foes. Then splinter the blackened remains to suckle the marrow from within.