Last night at the bus stop a woman in a gray fur coat with rotting teeth was removing a bologna sandwich from her purse as the woman next to her perused a TV guide while her boyfriend stroked her shoulder with one hand while holding a hot dog slathered in mustard with gobs of sauerkrat spilling out of the bun. At times like these I wonder how much longer I will be able to go on, take just one more step
before collapsing face first onto the sidewalk.
An hour later I’m walking down the aisle of a grocery store where a paunchy cashier in a faded yellow tank top is pulling at his moustache hairs. This guy has probably worked here a long time, perhaps 10, 20, even 30 years without a trace of remorse or regret as to why he does what he does. Apparently he very much enjoys working here, and his relaxed slouch exudes a sense of contentment and serenity in contrast with his darting, vigilant eyeballs constantly scanning the aisles for shoplifters. And there is something quietly reassuring and life affirming in the way he squeezes my hand after ringing up my candy bar and cigarettes as if to say
“son, take care and stay safe on your sojourn through the eternal night.”
Just after 11 o’clock I enter the elevator of my appartment building followed by a short haired peroxide woman accompanied by her elegantly coiffed poodle . I frequently encounter this woman in the elevator talking to her dog while smiling her post-menopausal smile with decrepitude stamped into grotesquely puffed up lips and severely sagging bags below her eyes indicating botched botox injections.
I get off on the 34th floor, insert the key into apartment D and enter my meagerly furnished studio overlooking the abandoned highway. After stripping off my clothes I closely examine my torso in the bathroom mirror. It’s immediatley obvious that something is very wrong—my ribcage, normally hidden from view beneath a layer of fat, is now starkly visible through the skin. The longer I look at who I have become, the more terrifying is the vision of two bug eyes in fleshless sockets staring back at me from the mirror of no escape.
wasting away In Manhattan