Beside the Acacias

Beside the Acacias (Pt 4 “Welcome to ‘The End'”)

My own crimson colored life fuel ran quickly down my arm as I held it up in the light.  The blood twinkled and danced in the light as pieces of glass reflected the light into beautiful sparks as my hand turned.  I had woken up that morning alone and she was nowhere to be found.  I paced back and forth through the apartment but it was empty…barren.  The furniture was still there but the sense of another person ever being there was fleeting at best.  It felt as though I had walked into a hotel room that had been stripped to the barest of bare.  The bed, the bed still had her smell. It was the only knowledge or proof I had that she wasn’t just a cruel joke, she was real.  I pressed my face into the pillows and took a deep breath in through my nose, she was so beautiful.  My body swelled with excitement, rage, passion, and raw emotion.  I didn’t know what to do next. I was lost in my own body and only she could make me feel better, only she could make me feel anything. Numb, that’s exactly how I felt and it wouldn’t go away. No happiness, no remorse, nothing.  I’d been marked with a black spot and I was paying the price for my transgressions.  That’s when I felt the need to feel again, the need to feel something in this fucking world.  I couldn’t have pleasure, she had already left, and I couldn’t find sadness in myself.  Pain, it always did the trick.

I got off the bed and walked over, naked, to the dresser.  My left hand wrapped around the drinking glass that still had the faintest trace of her lipstick upon its edge.  A deep red, those lips had been mine last night and now they were gone.  I lifted the glass and stared at the lip marks, remembering the moments of last night to the best of my ability. Then, after a moment of thought, I brought the glass up in the air and brought it swiftly down upon the dresser.  The glass shattered into a thousand pieces and many of those pieces found their way into my hand. The stinging, the burning, the feeling.  It felt good to feel again and the pain provided a welcoming and comforting escape from life.  Turning my hand over I realized the severity of my work; the pieces of glass had found their way deep into my hand and surely needed to be picked out as soon as possible.  My hand glistened with blood and when I held my hand up it traveled its way like a winding river down my arm, it was beautiful.  I needed to get to fixing this though, and there was no more time to admire the art or take in the pain I so desperately needed. Instead, I found my briefs and pants and put them on as best I could with one hand, it was quite the ordeal.  After that I made my way into the bathroom looking for alcohol and tweezers.  After a few minutes of searching the best I could do was the half full bottle of Jack in the kitchen and the rusty tweezers I had found in the bottom drawer of the bathroom cabinet.  After dousing the tweezers in Jack and taking a drink for the pain it was time to get to work.

The cold touch of the tweezers made my hand tingle with life after each touch.  I felt like a surgeon as I picked out each piece of glass that I could find, pausing in between to take a drink and ease the pain. The blood was still running from the many cuts I had suffered and the kitchen table had a puddle forming on top of it.  After that I ran my hand under the running faucet to get any last bits out of my hand, scrubbing hard with a sponge.  My hand felt raw but I didn’t mind.  I grabbed the bottle of Jack and kept it close; I was going to need it.  I covered my hand with a cloth and pressed hard to stop the bleeding as best I could.  After a couple of minutes I inspected the stove to make sure it was still functional and turned on the front-left burner.  On the counter was a bowl filled with all sorts of utensils and appliances.  I grabbed the metal spatula and placed its fat end on the burner, and then I waited.  After a few minutes put my hand over the burner to feel the heat and decided it was time. I took a large drink from the bottle and picked up the spatula in my right hand and wasted no time. I immediately pressed the burning spatula into my left hand and held it there for as long as I could bare it.  The scream I unleashed was inhuman and my skin cooked and sizzled underneath the spatula’s hot and relentless touch.  Every second the metal kissed my skin was an eternity of torture and pain.  Finally I had to drop the spatula as my body could take no more.  I dropped to my knees and began vomiting due to the heat and the pain, my body was giving up.  I curled up on the floor of that kitchen for a few hours in a sweat, my hand writhing in pain and my body numb from the alcohol.  All I could think about was her, her body, her way, her.  She and I danced around in my head as I laid there almost unconscious, we made love again in my dreams and her kiss was cool.

Eventually my body was under my own control again and I slowly sat up, feeling uneasy and near death.  I hadn’t felt this bad since I had taken a couple of slugs right in the belly, but somehow this felt worse.  It was the pain coupled with the loss that made it all so hard to deal with.  My body ached, my head throbbed, and every fiber of my being told me that enough was enough.  That’s how my life was lately, my body told me to quit and I just kept going.  The ability to survive was my greatest talent and no man or woman would ever take that away from me.  I picked myself up off the ground and staggered back into the room to gather my things, it was time to go.  After I got dressed in yesterday’s suit I walked to the front door and hesitated.  I knew the sun and the light would burn and I didn’t know if I could handle that in my state. Regardless, I opened the door and let the giant yellow star bake my eyes and torch my face.  It stung for a while but the fresh air restored a little humanity within me, I was off.  I looked around in the parking lot for the car I had been driving but it wasn’t there. I could’ve taken a different car but something in me pushed me to walk instead.  I could see a dirt road off in the distance and some small buildings nearby; with any luck one of them could spare some food and a drink.

The pebbled road moved underneath my feet with each step as I neared the buildings along the way.  My shirt hung loosely and partially buttoned on my body, my jacket slung over one shoulder, and my tie dangling around each side of my neck like a fur.  I was a mess but I was alive.  Once I got closer to the little town I realized a wood sign off to the left of the road. Curiosity grasped me and I made my way over to read the sign, carved into the wood read “Welcome to The End”.  A fitting welcome for the way I was feeling right about then.  It all felt like some kinda’ dream or mirage, but it all felt so damn necessary that I couldn’t question it.  If I had died last night then this was my punishment, to wander for the next eternity or two in search of her and as long as there was a drink along the way I didn’t mind one way or the other.  The first building on the left had the word “BAR” over the door in big red letters, that’s my calling.  I walked towards the bar and opened the double doors to be greeted by a sparsely populated bar and a surprisingly cool atmosphere. There were three or four haggard men spread out at different tables and one ice-cold looking fella sitting at the far side of the bar.  I took a breath and steadied myself, the blood loss and pain were getting to me.

“You look like you could use a drink…or six” said the bartender. I nodded and walked over to the bar and he put a couple of glasses of sweet Kentucky bourbon in front of me. If this was the end then so be it, it was beautiful, it was glorious, and it tasted too damn sweet.


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