The character of a happy life.

The church was smaller than I expected as I parked my car in the worn out lot. I had brown shoes with a black suit, but my general fuck-ups were to be expected. I met her outside the glass and stone building as the rest of the mourners made their way through the double doors. “Glad you could make it.” she says while removing the small inhaler from her purse. One quick spray and her posture changes. We hug a sad hug and walk inside. I sit down at the pew neighboring the doors as she joins her mother in the front row. The service starts, we stand, we sit, we stand, and sit once more. She fakes her way through the prayers as I steal glances at the back of her head and neck, just to see her I guess. I remember how we used to laugh at this, I almost want to laugh now.  She gets up and reads something by Wotton, her voice cracks a little as her fingers hover close to the urn. My throat clenches with hers. She finishes the piece and takes her seat. With vision unfocused there are some more voices that speak, lost to me because of  her and the mistakes I keep making.

We sit on the hood of my car passing the flask back and forth to each other. As time passes we sway a little to the noise of the traffic before she snuffs the moment to create another. “Shit is messed up…” holding the flask she drinks a little more then continues the thought. “Just when I get all of this going in the right direction, it veers off into the wrong one.  I know it might be a lot of me to ask, but can you fix this? Can you stop it? It hurts Karl…” her eyes become red with tears as I take the flask from her. “I can try.” I sip and hand it back to her. Taking it she leans her head against my arm, I wince a little from the pain and the fact that she’ll never know that life if I was successful.

I drive home, though I shouldn’t have. My drive feels, or well, seems distant and drawn. I go in the glass in front of me ready to hold the liquid courage. I put the bottle down, it’s been a long time since I put the bottle away. Leaning against the cabinet, more as if leaning against everything. I spit the words, I spit the fucks and the shits. I take the damn piece of steel, I think of the moments before, before it happened.

I see him standing there twirling the knife in his fingers of hope and death. I grab at his shoulder, flinching he twists my wrist down and knees me square in the eye. I fall backward not into the ground but the thoughts of her. “What the fuck are you doing here?” I yell as I pick myself up. He sort of pushes his shoulders back before he speaks “What are you like doing here?” Eugene tries his best to keep his smile at bay. “You can’t do this to me, I beg of…” Eugene cuts the words for what they are. “You have something with these people?” I kick the dirt at my shoes before I answer, but that’s all he really needs “You got to be kidding me, it’s her, like her?” I shake my head in shame.”What the actual hell? Really, like really?”  We walk to the other side of the street and sit down on the curb. “Damn, like, you sure have a way of being in the center of everything don’t you?” I stammer for the words, I wanted to say no but no was the hardest word to say. “So like what now?”  Eugene asks poking little defects into the pavement with his knife. “You just can’t do this, you can’t.” I say, but the stabs become more frequent and fierce. “Can’t?! Can’t?! Like the fuck, I can, like the fuck! It sure has been a long time since someone told me I can’t, and I cut that cunt’s throat out too, so why in the fuck can’t I?” I start to move my hands before my speech starts, but he’s already at the punch and going. “This guy, this fuck, this, wait I have something for him, oh, this shit cunt fucker is going to be the end of you and me and everything, or some fucking shit!”  he finishes by stabbing the silver tip into the pavement, it gives sort of a ring before I start speaking. “It’s not going to work, it’s just not, please just don’t!” He pulls the dagger from the ground and stands up, before disappearing he murmurs something that sounds like “proof”.

I light a cigarette and-and I’m two drags in when he reappears. “Alright, come on, I need to show you something.” He extends his hand in front of me. “Go on and take it, but like nothing gay about it, though.” I take his hand and the pale street lamps vanish and we’re soon standing in front of what was my home. “He did this, like to your house, to you, or they did this, yeah they…”  Not realizing that I never let go of his stiff fingers the ruined house is swallowed by darkness. I squint trying to get my eyes to adjust to the low light, stones, and unknown shapes protrude from the ground. I squint my eyes again and the tale tells signature of a cemetery comes into view. “See this.” He points to a single gravestone with her name chiseled on it. “He did this…” I let go of his hand which cuts him off. I sweep my fingers across the stone. The date seemed too familiar, I try to recall the day. The day… I fall back onto the grass. “You see I have to stop him, I have too.” I nod my head trying to hide my fury.  He takes my hand and smiles. We stand in front of her house again, I slide my hand from his and wipe it on my jeans.  He steps forward and I grab his arm “Can you do a favor for me?” he stops and turns around. “You should  bring me with you… But not me, I know too much, the unknowing me.” Eugene gives me a puzzled look. “Trust me that’s how it works, paradoxes and everything. If you create one universe…” he interrupts my explanation quite hastily. “Alright, alright, damn nerd.”  He takes the silver blade from his pocket, gives a soft shit house grin, then is gone. I walk across the frozen lawn to the side of the house. Her window is slightly cracked, though the night is cold.

I watch and listen through a crack in the door as there is a shout and crash, another shout then screams. Their footsteps pound against the floor and her door slams. I hear his slow steps become louder and louder until they stop in front of her door. They scream each time he kicks at it. The knob pops and the frame gives, the closest door widens from the force of the impacting wood against the wall.  He stands perfectly in line with the opening, he turns to look right at me. He somehow finds my eyes in the dark of the closet, smiling for a second then he’s whisked away. I hear my fists slam into his face over and over, then comes the sound of me crying. I slowly slide open the closest door and crouch my way to the other side of the bed, the little gun safe sits right where we agreed to put it. I hear him whisper something softly to the other me as the safe beeps, I flick the safety and slide the gun to her under the bed, the room explodes into sound as it evaporates.

The bottle and the empty glass sit where I left them, ice still ice. I take the glass and overfill it with water. Splashing a trail to my office I get to figuring out how exactly I was to apologize. The words become swallowed each time by my regret. I throw the pages again and again to the side. I try to explain each time why it didn’t, why I couldn’t , how there seemed to be another path, another path that I just needed to take. I scratch the words out once more when there’s a knock at my door.