I Don’t Know

The house went up in flames, and I threw myself from the second floor window. The glass shattered, and I watched the shards fall and shine in slow motion. For every fall is slow. Until you hit the ground.

I wasn’t dead, and I didn’t seem to be dying, a washing line had broken my fall, though the clothes were smeared in mud and the washing line prop holding it all in had snapped in two. It was only earlier that she was boasting about how sturdy the aluminium was, and could hold up anything. But nothing could hold me up.

I watched the house burn to the ground as I lay in the washing, the fire brigade was too late, and I didn’t even think to run back in and be the hero. I wondered if that was inhuman, then I guessed it must be, because I couldn’t even think of how the others inside were doing.

The worst thing was, she was in the same room when the fire erupted, and smoke crept through the closed door. She was lying naked, and I had been sitting at the edge of the bed refusing to look her in the eyes. She was lonely, and I was hungry. That’s all it was, but she was searching for something more. I smoked a cigarette at the edge of the bed, listening to Low. But that didn’t start the fire.

I bumped into her after a night out. I’d been to the bar to drink alone, and there she was squatting by a bar, looking dismal, like a mangy cat. And the alcohol was telling me she needed help. I could be a saint for the night and walk her home. I considered only for a moment that this was disgusting, then human nature took control.

She accepted my offer, and we walked to hers. It wasn’t far, and I didn’t even ask what she was doing. She didn’t even ask me my name. We both had ideas in our head on what we wanted. The only difference between us, was this was my first time. I’d given up accepting ‘standards’. I’d given up wanting to be ‘good’.

Work let me go. I sat there doing whatever it was I was usually doing, and then the boss came up to me and told me it was time to go. Time to go where? Home? He thought I was stinking the business up with my bad hygiene and a frequent haphazard approach to work. I didn’t believe in the future, and I had more in common with pandas when it came to how I looked.

And he was right.

For some reason, I needed to drink, for some reason I needed to smoke. And I didn’t need to sleep, I didn’t need to eat. I don’t know why, she hated how I said I didn’t know anything. What sort of answer is that? I don’t know means I just don’t understand. And that’s why I felt so sick, that’s why I fell apart so quick.

To be honest, I don’t know what started the fire. It was burning a long time ago.


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