Waiting for the drugs to take effect. What to do, starting tomorrow, with three days “leave”? Actually on two days “leave” since Wednesday is the usual day off. I like being here but I check in and out every day as if it could be my last at this esteemed establishment. I don’t know if I am really any good at this job. I like to think I am but I’m kind of in a vacuum. The boss got long Covid and takes weeks off at a stretch. I don’t like to bother the other bosses who are supposed to cover for her absence, since they all have too many reports to begin with.

Blahblahblah, who cares?

I remember a book I never read, save for the blips on the cover and the blurb on the back. I might have read the first paragraph. I might actually have this “book” made up, in a way. A combination of books, or a mix of real books and imagined.

Be it fact or fantasy, truth or flub, I remember it thus: The cover artwork showed a boy, 12 to early teenage years, sitting in a yard with a tree and maybe a bird nearby. Over the artwork was the italicized blip: What do you do when your parents don’t love you?” On the back of the book, or possibly in the first paragraph that I may or may not have read, it was stated that the boy would wake up every day …surprised to be alive.. I don’t remember it being stated explicitly but the implication was that his parents didn’t want him and would find a way to let him go, to disable him as he slept.

I never read the book. It felt shameful to even possess it, and in fact I think it was a library book. Not a purchase. That was a significant factor in my youthful bookmanship. Ownership versus borrowing. I don’t know if I would have that attitude today. Life itself, of course, is a rental. What’s the stigma about that?

I never read the book after my mother saw it in my hands. She saw the blip on the cover, and asked “Why would you read a book like that?”

It landed like soft hate. She loved me, she just didn’t know how to, how shall we say, deploy those feelings. I was not unwanted but unexpected, and she twice let go that she almost let me go. Maybe it was thrice she blurted out that she considered aborting me, that it would have been her right to do so, and she also implied therewith that she would have had no regret. BUT, here I was, so shutup already, you’re alive aren’t you?

I don’t remember what prompted these blurtations, but the moments were stressed and even angry about something, angry at my selfishness, angry at my lack of perfection and poise in a moment that seemed not to demand it. I don’t remember what brought these flirtations with tantrums into play but they did occur.

I think of all this, that fabled book cover, its memorable “surprised to be alive” line from either the book back cover or first paragraphs, in these days of knocking at mortality’s door. I feel there might not be much time left. Something just doesn’t feel right about my constitution. I wake up feeling fine. Today was welcomed with a mighty boner and a thirst for one of my favorite pornographers as the stumbled a bit and in so doing made me feel at home. Morning Mas went a little too long but that’s what happens some days. Time just disappears.

My shits are solid and righteous, sometimes stinking up all 5 boroughs with tear-inducing noxious awakening.

Everything seems to feel right yet somehow something seems wrong. I don’t think the body will fail me, not yet at least. Something else will implode, explode, assplode or deplode.

Tomorrow or Wednesday feel like days of destiny. There’s a woman I met. We chatted and seemed mutually sane. She’s cute as hell, looks about my age with fashionable strands of grey I already see taking over her still overwhelmingly black hair. Just a nice woman, really, and I detected from her reactions that bit of alarm at making the acquaintance of a nice, decent guy.

But I’m also happy if it amounts to nothing more than these speculative words. I don’t care if this “destiny” is good for 15 minutes or the 15 years I don’t think I have left.

I will definitely wear a Snoopy or Schroeder pin.

Just realized how clean and fresh-smelling this old shirt is today. This is one of the ex-gf specials, from when she would buy me designer shirts at the Salvation Army for $1 each, in an attempt to groom me and make me look like less of a slob. She wanted me to look better than I typically do when it comes to sartorial flourishes. It’s one of the many things that made me ask if she even liked me for what I was, forget about anything beyond liking.

She also raided her father’s old closets of unwanted garments, including this maroon-colored shirt with her father’s initial and last name handwritten on the inside part that presently touches the back of my neck. I sometimes ask if the family still talks about me. If this sensation of her father’s name touching the back of my neck is a metaphor for the family’s lingering desire to tap me on the shoulder, and say hello.

How can a shirt this old feel and smell so fresh and new?

I masked up on the train today. First maskfulness for me since the MTA mandate was lifted. I don’t think even 10% of the riders were masked today. Cases are rising and I intend to get a booster if I can figure out who’s giving them. The confusion around that seems to be deliberate.

I feel the drugs settling in. I might need another helping of the anxiety med, though. I suspect my morning pill-popping ritual has caught someone’s attention here. Surveillance everywhere, people always watching, or not always watching but watching enough to make me feel watched, taken care of, cared for. That last bit is a fantasy, as is much of our lives on this shared earth. Love is filled with lies, lust is some kind of frustration-based fantasy. I don’t think a single strand of existence, from livelihood to love to life itself, is free of some kind of lie, some deception.

With what lies did I start this precious gift of a day? The vigorous Morning Mas, was that a lie? The sideways look I gave to the woman I like to look at here. She’s shy, soft-spoken, and probably spoken for if not by another person then by her culture. I’m guessing Lebanese or Egyptian, though Lebanese, if I remember correctly, are less likely to wear the hijab than Egyptians or other middle-easterners in the U.S. Maybe I just imagined that from dating a Lebanese woman who never wore the head garb.

Gotta go.