A monotone voice comes over the speakers “The part of Karl will be played by a fool” it states matter-of-factly. The fool walks in, he looks directly at the audience as they ponder his mere existence. The scene starts; moving his lips and tongue he tries to express himself, how she shouldn’t go, that he loved her. The words travel up his throat but when they see the light they grip onto his tongue, not wanting to step into the void, nothing worth repeating comes out. The stage is set, with cameras rolling on the end.
She storms out of the house once more, the door slams and doesn’t close. I pull it open and I follow her but the car was already out of the drive way. I want to chase the car down but my legs disagree. I trip on my way inside. “Fucking bastards!” I yell. Picking myself up is a challenge, I almost don’t want to get up. With some effort, I am standing. I stagger my way to the room. I grab my keys, phone and, device. The cars stereo plays some pop song that I nearly smashed it for. I park behind her car and bolt to the door. Knocking with haste it finally opens. Her father on the other side, he moves quickly and begins leads me to the fence. His peasant fingers press hard against my back as he pushes me in the direction he wanted to go. His escort complete he turns to me and speaks “She’s doesn’t really want to talk to you right now.” I dart my eyes to the ground and murmur “Can you just tell her I didn’t mean to.” He clears his throat “That seems like something you’ll need to say to her yourself.” He begins to walk inside. “I’ll wait here then!” I call out with a crackled voice.
Sitting on my car’s hood, my legs and hands have no idea what to do. I scratch these dry lips with my teeth, is it this that I hate so much, the unknown, the waiting. I try to lose myself in the singing birds and the warm sun. She’s inside, close but so damn far almost at the point of nonexistence. I feel time caressing my heart into a fast beat, I can feel the veins push and pull the blood as quickly as possible, the thoroughfares won’t clog, but they complain with bulging. I am a mess. I pick at the butt trying too hard to pull the cigarette from the pack, a release, placement, calm. I let the smoke hang around my head. The screen door snaps to her parent’s house as she walks up the small path to me. Her lips move, but I couldn’t, fuck, I wouldn’t make out the words. She finishes. Her brown eyes are glossy, two tiny versions of me stare back, then comes, just then, all the mistakes I have made.
I drove home, though I don’t recall the journey. My mind spins as I step through the house to get to where the liquor is stored. The cabinet still open I try to reason myself into a drink. The bottle feels heavy in my hand as it balances above the glass. I pour for too long and the bourbon spills over the edge. The bottle flies slowly through the air before connecting with the wall. The glass’ end isn’t as graceful. I fumble with my device, the time is put and things vanish.
I watch the fool and her standing together in front of the movie theater. They argue for some time about the movie. She storms off and he chases her. The fool catches her as she stands there waiting for the light to change. He spins her around and apologizes. They walk back to the theater as I cross the street and follow them. They decide on the movie she wanted to see, he reaches into his wallet and hands her some cash. I watch her walk inside. When the memory comes back. I turn to him and he’s on the ground. I see a hooded man run away, I give chase. My chest burns as I catch up to him, he turns into an alley, a dead end. “Who are you?!” I yell. He steps into the light, no answers needed. He tells me what the other Karl had told him before, though the meaning had been lost. I use my device and head back. He hands her the money and she walks towards the doors. I sprint towards him, caught off guard the fool falls easily. In an odd way, it felt good to hurt him, even though that was me. The other Karl gives chase, too tired to run very far I cut into an alley. A corny reveal and an explanation, he nods a couple times and vanishes. I do the same.
I can hear her and my voice leak from the house. The time was off, it was supposed after all this. Peering through the window I watch myself make his way to the liquor cabinet, the fool yells as he places the glass and bottle in front of him. Barely able to make out what is being said I put my ear against the cool glass of the window. “… if I want a drink I can fucking have one, I’m an adult I don’t need you lookin…” She cuts him off. “An adult, An adult, if you weren’t so fuck’en immature you wouldn’t need to solve your problems with drinking! You fuck’en lush!” She yells back. My ear begins to hurt so I remove it from the window, they were yelling enough now that it wasn’t hard to hear them from outside. “I like to drink so the fuck what!? I can do that, and to call me immature is beyond the fucking stupid, why in the fuck are you trying to be such a bitch right now?!” The fool yells. The line was present and he crossed it. The door swings open and she comes running out in tears. She backs up and the tires screech a little as she pulls away from the house. The fool stands there, just stands there. I wanted to move him. He heads inside, tripping on his way in. He soon leaves, I head to the room and lay on the bed. I pull up the pictures of her on my phone, scrolling through her different smiles. “It’s better for you if it ends, I’m not good enough for you.” I say to her glowing face. I shut my eyes and drift off.
I wake to the sound of the bottle smashing on the wall. I hear the glass next. I tip-toe my way to the door as the fool begins to sob. The smell of 15-year-old bourbon makes its way under the door. The fool clears his throat and the house is silent again. I step from the room, the smell is a lot stronger. I clean up the mess I made.
Sitting on the coach drinking my second cup of coffee my phone rings. Her smile bounces on the screen as the ringtone plays. I answer it. “Hello.” My voice comes out softer than I wanted it to. “Hey, I guess I shouldn’t call but I’m worried about you.” I could hear the tears in her voice. “I’m fine, I am.” I wipe my own away. “Oh, well, I, you mean a lot you know, and well, like I said some time may be good you know?” Her voice became strong at the end like she was sure of herself. “Maybe, time would be.” My voice becomes something that of a frog. “Well, I’ll check up on you soon, bye.” The phone beeps before I can reply. I set the phone to my side and sip on the coffee some more.
Maybe a week passes by when they come to take her things, to remove them from here. To wipe the physical traces of us. I hurt my shoulder putting her sewing machine into the back of her car. I try not to let her see me wince, but she notices me trying to hide the pain and a half-smile appears then vanishes as quickly as it came. We stand in front of her car, within arm’s reach, holding distance. “Well I guess that’s it, I’ll call you okay, just don’t beat yourself up too much, I mean you are pretty beat up as is.” She finishes and we both smile. I watch the spot where her car disappeared till it gets too cold for me to stand outside. I head in and give the street one last look before closing the door.
These ribs; a cage, a keep that doesn’t calm. I lie on the floor in the middle of the vacuous room. My stomach makes the sound of a beached whale. The ceiling my screen for the memories, they flash back and forth in no particular order. I feel the phantom blades poke against my skin when the memory of our picnic projects itself on the ceiling. I rub my arm and the thought vanishes with the sensation. I roll on my side. The carpet looks as if it stretches for miles. My fingers find their way into a divot left in the carpet by her chair. I consider the slight dent as my finger runs through it, it would seem as if my fingers miss her too.