Saudade.

Sink or swim, sink or swim. This is the only choice, sink or swim, there’s no waiting for the water to pass, regardless the hope for it. I move the sheets above me, like ripples in the water, sink, or swim. A scattering mess above me, don’t fuck with me now, an uncovering of eyes, and the head is what follows. I can’t help but inhale like a new life. I stare at the wall as the reflected light comes through the window and flows its way to the floor. I try to remember what his voice sounded like, the charismatic tone. I pretend to know, but I can’t, can’t make the sounds appear. I want to sink, but I tread instead.

The kid down the street(There’s a kid down every street), he’s sort of a mess. I see him every day, he must know I am a mess too. I buy the pills from him, I over pay, which is to make me feel even more terrible about the purchase. “They’re downers, relaxers.” He says, he should get his teeth repaired, but it’s not my place to say it, so I don’t. The money felt dirty before it left my hand. I drive around the block squeezing the plastic bag. Pulling into my driveway I set the car into park and spill the contents of the bag into my hand. Three little circles promise me something, I put them in my mouth in hope to hear them better, they taste awful. I force them down my throat with some effort, but I still can’t hear them. They’ll take time, I think to myself as I open and close the car door behind me. I step into my house, flow through the mess, and fall onto the couch.

His face is above me, but below me, it’s on fire, but pours water. He tells me something, something I want to understand, but I don’t have the intelligence to. A breeze blows and with it, he leaves me lying on the white sand of a beach I’ve never been to, but I have. The sun is bright, ever encompassing. I stare at it, I feel the heat, or what I want to believe is heat. It too soon vanishes. I fall onto the sand and try to dig my way from the tides, but their sound grows and grows. It must be a million feet high, a number impractical. I gasp for air as it swallows me.

My ceiling looks exactly the way I left it when I left it. I try to shake the water out of my ears but there isn’t any. “Is this what losing it is?” I say to myself, then laugh at the idea. Feeling drowsy I pour myself a drink in one hand a light cigarette in the other. I can smoke inside now that she doesn’t live here. I regret the apparition of the thought, so the vodka spills over the rim of the glass as I stare into nowhere, or memories. Fuck memories, I stop pouring and drink, then pour another, then drink again. My stomach is a lot stronger than what it used to be.

She calls me three times, the weakness for the third try gets to me and I answer the phone. She wants me to go have lunch with her “to catch up” she says. I tell her I’ll need a ride as I am not quite capable of driving. She agrees and says she’ll be here shortly. I try to clean myself up, I try. Soon enough the door knocks, I still get a sinking sensation when there’s a knock at the door. I answer it and there she is. A sickness overcomes me and I run the bathroom, I guess my stomach isn’t as strong as I thought it was.

She pats me on the back as I exile my innards into the porcelain. ¬†One flush, then another, sink or swim. I sit up and look at her, I love her but I hate every ounce of me that does. “Why do you beat yourself up like this?” she asks. I wipe the bitter remain from my lips, I look up into her eyes. I want to tell her why, but all I say is “It’s the only way I know how.” She lifts me up from my stooper and drags me out of the house. “Well, now that you’re on an empty stomach we might as well get something to eat.” She says. I click the seat belt as she turns her car over, might as well.

The same greasy place she loved to go, for once our cups match. She talks about something, I just stare at her trying to conjure something that was there before I knew everything. I wished that I knew nothing. Our greasy food arrives, hot and eatable. I poke at my food and look up at her, she bites her lower lip like she does when she enjoys something. I hope she can’t see my face, and the dire need to explain things that lie on it. “So what’s wrong with you?” she asks while placing her napkin on the table. I look down at my half eaten plate then answer “A lot of things. I don’t know if I can say them all.” her fingers slide their way under my chin to lift my head up. “If there’s anyone you could spill these beans to it would be me.” she says. I gulp, an audible gulp. “It’s hard to say, and I just don’t…” she gives me a look that interrupts me. “Is it hard to say, or you just scared to say them to me?” my fork slips from my hand and I murmur “both”. The check is called for and soon we’re standing in the parking lot in front of her car. “So, we need to do this more.” she says. I dig into my pocket and find the earring. “I don’t think we can.” I say as I hand her the bit of silver and mystery. “But, I mean we had a nice time, just come on, I want to be friends… I want, what’s this?” She looks at the silver earring with the blue sapphire in it. “It’s only if you ever need it, and that’s it. This is a goodbye okay?” She clutches it then looks back to me “If it’s a goodbye you’re looking for you won’t get one, I’ll see you later.” She gets into her car and I watch as she drives away. As her car disappears behind the building I light myself a cigarette. I walk myself home, trying hard to remember what his voice sounded like.

-Karl