One time K and I were standing in an alley and smoking. It was dimly lit and I felt almost colorless in the dark. I squinted up at the hood of the streetlight. Someone had stolen the bulb, and someone else pilfered the copper interior from the power lines to sell off. Cigarette butts and discarded bottles created a postmodern carpet of bar filth, starting at the fire exit behind the building and cutting a path to the highway.
“It’s hot.” I said, but it always was in the way of tropical countries, that kind of seething heat that kept you from sleeping and made you sweat into your sheets. We were waiting for a band, or waiting for our band to play. Those were the days where everything blurred into everything. The days were continuous loop of two hour rides on the city bus, standing on the train, drinking cheap alcohol and fits of interrupted sleep.
Even the work I did required only a minimum use of analytical skill, so much so I sometimes dreamed of the blue glare of a computer monitor. K poked at the broken concrete with his shoes and said. “It’s pointless.” He meant the music, or the gigs, or the city. He meant the traffic and the work we did. We were 22 and already office drones. He was wearing the standard uniform of a white polo and black slacks. The only thing that gave away what he did during weekends was the long hair he kept in a ponytail and the tattoos on his shoulders.
He meant that he was pointless. Or I was. I told him I missed trees. But not so much. I missed the horses and being able to go out and feel grass under my feet even in the middle of the day. I was lying. I usually spent days asleep and only saw grass when we drank in public parks. We could hear the band inside fumbling through a cover of U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday.
I was thirsty and I hadn’t slept. It was the middle of a year I wouldn’t really remember, the year to forget, or the year that was easy to forget because of its routine, the sameness of things, the dirt, the endless waiting. We smoked a couple of cigarettes, shared a kiss and went back in.