Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I am posting writing today and not Thursday, but it's something. I am trying to add on, but it's not really about anything. Then again, nothing I write is about anything. Sorry blogger fucks with formatting. 

I saw a man die today.
            He was collapsed on the street outside of my house. No one knew how long he’d been there, but when I went outside to go to work, I found him there, lying on the pavement, gasping for breath.
I have never seen a man die on any other day of my life. Not even when my grandfather was in the hospital with pneumonia — as a child, I always thought it was pronounced pee-neumonia—with a thing over his mouth to help him breathe. All he kept asking me was what I wanted for Christmas and I wanted to say, “Grandpa, don’t you know you’re dying,” like they hadn’t told him yet, but certainly they had if we knew.
But that man on the pavement, he died. After I found him, I ran to the apartment next to mine, banged on their door until they came out, and called 911.
They saw a man die today too. This was my fault. They might have not seen a man die if I had not knocked on their door, but I did knock on their door because I figured the only thing worse than seeing a man die was seeing a man die alone, so I selfishly brought other people along.
Eventually he stopped gasping for air and we had to keep checking his pulse to make sure he was still alive. The ambulance came. I didn’t go inside. The only time I have been inside an ambulance was when I was a teenager. There was nothing wrong with me. I suppose there was something wrong with me, but the ambulance didn’t help anything. I wasn’t sick like that, on the outside. One of the men on the ambulance told me about his son. I could tell he was thinking about his son and how glad he was that his son wasn’t riding in an ambulance because there was something wrong with him.
This man didn’t really need an ambulance either because by the time they got there he was dead. They gave him a shock to the chest and he didn’t wake up and the ambulance men did not say, “Come on, wake up,” like they do in the movies. He might have woken up if they had done that, but they didn’t do that and he didn’t wake up and they put him in the ambulance anyway. No one told us what his name was or what he was doing on our street to begin with. We figured he must have been going for a walk. That happens sometimes, people go for a walk and then they fall on the street and die. It must happen sometimes because I saw it happen today.
I tell all this to my friends that I see at the bar. They are shocked and surprised and drink a lot of beer so they don’t have to say anything. When I go to restaurants, I do the same: drink a lot of water when I have nothing to add to the conversation. I usually get over hydrated and then have to use the bathroom a lot. This is not a problem I think people should have.
One of my friend’s repeats, “You saw a man die,” over and over again as if she thinks it will help or maybe it’s how she processes. This is what school teaches us: if you read the same paragraph repeatedly eventually you will digest the information.
We go outside and smoke cigarettes. I don’t know anyone who says they smoke cigarettes, but most of the people I know do. Outside we meet some townies. They say, “Hey, aren’t you really green over there at college. We’re green too, we cut down trees and kill animals, we love spending time outside.” They offer to let me drive their hummer, but say, I can only do it naked. I decline, tell them I’ve had too much beer. “We’ve had beer too,” they laugh. They get in their hummer and drive away.
One of the boys at the table likes me. He uses the line: I’m sorry if I seem nervous around you, you are just so pretty. He is fat. He likes to smoke a lot of cigarettes, but says, “I am not a smoker, I am quitting.” He also used to do a lot of cocaine. He still wants to do cocaine. I know this because he talks about how he doesn’t do cocaine anymore all the time. It’s like how I talk about drinking a lot while sober, but I still drink most nights.
We kissed once before, but I stopped him because he was fat. I don’t like to tell people that’s the reason, so I say something like, “We stopped because I was uncertain.” My first kiss was a dare when I was fourteen. Afterwards the boy said, “That was gross.” I don’t tell anyone this either.
When we leave the bar the boy walks me back to my apartment. We sit outside chain smoking cigarettes.
“We should go inside,” he says.
“No, I just want to stay out here.”
If I stay outside long enough perhaps another man will collapse down dead on the sidewalk. There is probably some statistic about the likelihood of randomly seeing a man die on the street compared to the likelihood of being hit by lightening. Those statistics always lead me to believe that many people get hit by lightening since it is more likely than most things.
When we finally go inside I let him kiss me. I might have kissed him first. I am never certain about these things. He leads me to the couch and then to my bedroom. I’ve never suggested that we go to the bedroom with anyone before, yet somehow we always end up there. I always thought that I don’t bend to peer pressure, but only because there has never been any pressure there, just peers and suggestions. I like to call myself agreeable.
We have sex after he tells me we don’t have to if I don’t want to. I don’t say anything. After it’s over I tell him, “I saw a man die today.”
“I know,” he says, then he falls asleep. This is what boys do after sex. 

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