I heard a high pitched tweet, followed in succession by several low warbles. I opened my eyes to see two birds, the city kind that belong to no particular species outside of science, perched like gregarious kings on a branch that jetted out from a hideously ancient trunk. My tongue was immobilized by the arid climate of my mouth, which tasted salty and stale, like I had slept all night with a saltine cracker pressed against the roof of my mouth, slowing melting its way to a mass of pasty gluten. My neck ached. I had twisted myself into an inhumane sleeping position, curled up like an overgrown toddler trying to seek comfort in returning to the fetal curl.
I felt a brief seizure of pride that came from my new-found ability to be a legitimized tramp. I thought I deserved a congratulatory laugh from Violet or at least a cigarette. What a low-down, self-deprecating, dirt-crusted, love-blinded fool I still was, even after my night in the park that I shared with what I assumed to be the neighborhood bag lady. She looked completely at ease in her position she had assumed on the bench parallel to mine. As she went about her nightly routine, I noticed the ease of her movements that can only come from a feeling of complete comfort; home. The park was her home. From the corner of my eye I watched her secure her plastic wares in her shopping cart and toddle away, her right foot lagging slightly. I closed my eyes tightly and let out an inaudible moan with a gust of hot air. Heaving my self up, and scraping the sleep crust from the corner of my eye, I decided I needed some direction.
I patted my left pant pocket, an instinct born from my attachment to technology. There was no phone there, and I suddenly remembered the blonde I had given it to the night before. Either I had asked for her number, or she had asked for mine, but most importantly, I decided giving her my phone was my best chance for escape. My wallet was as lost as my phone, except I couldn’t remember at what point in the previous night it had gone missing. Without any means of communication or any monetary stability, I stood up, arching my back against the smog tinted sunbeams of an early city morning, and began making the fifteen mile trek back to my apartment.
It would be at least three hours before I would make it back to my refrigerator, which was stocked with newly purchased nothing. Before I even completed my first quarter of a mile, I grew sick of looking at the pavement that I was trotting upon with heavy feet. And then it hit me at a loud, fume saturated intersection five minutes later. I was still in love with Violet and she still didn’t love me. Plus, no one had searched that desperately for me the night before because I woke up in the same bucolic sleeping quarters I had settled into after my stint with the psychic. Now that it was the day after, the sun was shining, and I was going to have to explain myself as every one laughed at my misguided attempts to woo a girl who had no interest in my existence.
I hated the way the cars lined up behind one another as they waited for the light to turn green. They looked so patient and comfortable sitting there, because they knew eventually the little circular oracle would again turn that instigating shade of green and they would all be free to accelerate and continue traveling. Their little engines were content with sitting idly while the driver assumed that “onward” was the only direction that was possible. I had to gather up the nerve to press the button for the crosswalk because I wanted to melt onto the sidewalk, right there and then just to prevent having to go back to living with the same people that I abandoned. I pressed it though, and it left my fingers smelling metallic. Off the curb I went, joining the masses, traveling by foot, dreading the prospect of the future.