Jeremy checked his phone for the text that he was waiting for, but there was no text. People are so flaky. He looked out his opened window at a trio of girls walking down toward Fairfax, probably to go to the bars, they were loud and young and Jeremy thought seriously about screaming at them to be quiet, but he really had no reason to be so mean. It was only 8:30, anyway. Was he really that old these days?
There was an envelope on his desk that was already addressed and stamped. He picked it up and considered folding the letter and stuffing it inside when he noticed there was a little splotch of wine spilled on the top of the letter.
She would know that he was drinking when he wrote it. Not that she couldn’t probably assume that already. Still, he didn’t want the letter to be marred by Merlot. It was a pure representation of his heart, not some wine-soaked tirade, even if it was scribed after two bottles of cheap Traders Joe’s wine, and somewhat meandering. He wrote it out on paper and not in an email so she’d know it was a true representation of his heart. Physical proof, you know. He told her as much at the bottom of the letter, right after he wrote ‘Fuck Facebook.’ ‘This is really real,’ he wrote. ‘A true representation of my goddamn heart.’
Should he rewrite it? He couldn’t possibly go through that again. Even if it just meant copying the words down, not conjuring them up again out of the angry ether of his disenchantment. He decided there would be no rewriting. Either send the stained letter, or trash it. Jeremy stood by the trash can holding the letter in his right hand and the envelope in his left. There were tiny gnats orbiting the trash can but Jeremy didn’t notice them. He set the letter and the envelope down on the kitchen counter and checked his phone again, still no text.
The text he was waiting for wasn’t coming from her, it was coming from a talent booker who supposedly might, small, small chance, have an opening at a comedy show tonight. A midnight show. Jeremy had a bunch of new jokes. He was overflowing with jokes these days, although he was anything but joyous or jubilant, or what anybody else would call ‘funny’. All his best comedy comes from his deepest, darkest pain… like the one that starts out ‘so, I met a girl the other day.’
His phone chimed and he snapped it up and checked it. It wasn’t the booker. It wasn’t her. It was his buddy vacationing in France with his fiancee. It was a group text to all his friends. ‘Having a great time in Paris. Miss you all,’ it said.
Jeremy traversed to the living room and grabbed a bottle from his wine rack. He deftly uncorked it and didn’t wait for it to breathe, just poured a tall glass of the red stuff and took a long glug. “I’m not waiting for shit to breathe,” he said to nobody.
Nobody was with him all the time these days.
The label of the wine bottle showed a cat sitting in a window looking at the moon. He felt like the cat looking at the moon. A loud bang and explosion startled Jeremy and he almost dropped the glass of wine. His own window was full of exploding color. Somebody was shooting off fireworks two days after the fourth of July. It reminded him of Disney World, seeing the firework show behind Cinderella’s castle at the end of a long day, 9 years-old, all exhausted on top of his father’s shoulder. He even thought he tasted churro in the air, but if it was anything, it was gunpowder. It reminded him to call his father.
The envelope sat before him, pre-addressed. Fireworks exploded in the sky. The cat stared at the moon.
He had two succulents and an aloe plant on the window sill. She had bought them when they were still living together. All he had to do was water them now and then. They were hardy. Jeremy squeezed the end of his aloe plant with his thumb and forefinger until the juice leaked onto his finger. He stuck his finger in his mouth and sucked on the aloe. Another ghetto firework exploded down the block. The aloe tasted like sugar water.
Another sky explosion. Twisting thoughts unraveling. Here’s a joke: A grown man is sitting in his apartment, debating whether or not to send a letter to the love of his life, in the letter he told her he wanted to marry her, have babies with her, and get all wrinkly and old with her. Punchline: Last time they spoke she told him, ‘fuck off, I never want to see your stupid face again.’
Jeremy thought his face was somewhat smart-looking. It’s angular. He wears glasses. Tucks in his shirts. As far as faces go, his is totally above average intelligence-looking, so the fact that she said this is, if one were to over-analyze the situation, indicative of her over-emotional prejudice in regards to the appearance of his face.
Why is she so over-emotional?
Why can he not throw that letter in the trash?
Jeremy finished off the glass of wine and poured another. He then noticed the swirl of gnats hovering around his trash can. It wasn’t full, but he didn’t like the idea of bugs flying around his apartment, so he removed the bag from the can and carried it out to the dumpster behind his place. Gnats are barely sentient, he surmised, but they’re alive, so that counts for something in this crazy world. Karma is volatile and expelled on all levels, he pondered. On the way back, he tried to figure out if he should respect gnats or wish for their extinction. Is he really better than a gnat?
His conclusion was that he was drunk. Hahaha. What a funny guy, he thought.
Once back inside, he discovered a couple of gnats had perished in his glass of wine while he gone. They must have been attracted to the sweetness.
Jeremy settled on wishing for their extinction.
“I gnat gonna drink that,” he uttered to nobody. Nobody laughed. He fished some of the gnats out with his finger, then flicked them in the trash, sans bag.
“Jeremy for the win!” He slurred, sighed, then emptied his wine in the sink. “Gnat gonna drink that,” he repeated, pleased with his pun.
“We’re gonna get them, yet, stupid face.”
A boom-boom firework, then silence. Sigh. He looked at the letter. The cat looked at the moon. “Tomorrow’s another day,” he muttered, not really believing it. Not believing anything anymore. “Yep. Another 24 hours…”