by Ivan R.

There was a young man sitting in his house, looking at all the beautiful flowers: blue, yellow, white, and purple, and the purple ones had small yellow stars in their center: and this young man was thinking about love. He had never felt love before, but he felt as if he had felt it before: that is, he felt empty inside. 

And he was sitting there inside of this big empty house, silently damning his own emptiness. The house was brown. The floorboards were brown, and cold, the bookshelves were brown, all the trim along all the windows and doors were brown. The books on the bookshelves are really what made the room pop. They were red, blue, brown and black, with gold lettering: all sorts of colors really. There was a vase, with a single white rose in it; the vase was a soft blue, and it sat upon a brown nightstand and a creamy white colored doily. 

This kid, he sat in the room and had nowhere to go: for all the large world, he had not a single friend who he could call up and invite over for a night of movies and drinks and laughs, nor did he know of any place where he could meet people of this disposition. Silence? This was his most heroic companion. Solitude. Four cold emotionless walls that could not give a damn about him. He walked over to his bookshelf and picked out his favorite book, The Apology, and he began to read it as he always read, that is, with small squinty eyes. Ah. That was the ticket alright! Now our fine friend seemed feeling better. 

After a while, his mind was all full up of very florid thoughts. He made his way up the stairs, walked into the bathroom and shut the door. He took a shit. When he was done taking a shit, he made his way back downstairs and poured himself a tall beer, the golden liquid pouring out of a 40 oz. bottle mellifluously. The frost rose to the top: the bubbles jumped and sang. He sat down and finished his glass of beer, and then poured himself another. He quite liked beer. He once told an old friend of his who now lived in a very remote part of the country that he would never marry a woman, for they would demand that he not drink as much. Oh, how he wished he thought out his solitude better. The second beer done. The silence returned, and brought with it a phantom gust of sadness. 

When I say, the silence returned, what I mean is, that he once again became aware of the silence. 

Let us suppose that all things exist, at all times imaginable. It is only our awareness that must become fixed on the thing. The same way a definition might come into contact with a word to create some sort of electricity, our primary awareness must come into contact with a phenomenon in order for that phenomena to possess existence. 

The light was beginning to fade. There was no knock on the door. He put on his jacket and walked out of his house. The evening was warm. He walked past a bar, called Easy. Inside people were drinking. “Pour me another one,” he heard someone say. He walked past another bar, Fry's, some way down the road. Inside people were watching a baseball game. They were drinking and cheering; the lights on the street turned on. He walked on. He walked through an abandoned lot. 

The weeds and bricks were strewn. This place was familiar to him. There was a hole in the fence where he walked through and ended up in the parking lot of the liquor store. He walked in through the large electric double doors, and made his way to the back where the 40 oz. bottles were kept, along with the rest of the bum drinks. 

He picked out two 40s. The liquor store had a ceiling light out. The room glowed dimly, as if lit by candle for a celebration. He placed his 40s on top of the counter, and pulled out his wallet. 

The clerk was a thin man. Bearded, of Indian descent, well-dressed, and carried the pungent aroma of flavored tobacco. He placed the bottles in a bag. The young man left the building, thanking him. On his way home he reminisced about the good times. The thoughts made him weightless and seemed to carry him along through the empty streets. He floated past the two bars with their neon signs without noticing them. He turned the corner and into a parking lot he walked, carrying his two ice cold bottles. He was looking at a sign (an advertisement for cigarettes), and he did not notice the young girl who was also walking in that parking lot. The girl was coming out from between two parked cars, while the young man was transfixed on the sign. She did not notice him at all. He bumped into her and her whole body was sent reeling to the ground, and she said "Uh!" as she bumped her ass on the ground. He held his bottles steady, but extended a hand to help her to her feet; she took hold of his hand, pulled herself up.  

"I'm sorry," he said. "You came out of nowhere."

"Yea, huh," she said, massaging her little ass with both hands. 

"Where are you going," he said. "Maybe I can walk you home."

"I'm just going to the liquor store."

"You don't need to do that," he pulled the golden bottle out of the bag and handed it to her. She took it and looked at it curiously.

"Thanks," she said.

"Where do you live?"

"I don't know if I should be telling you that," she said. 

"Yea, well, take it easy," he said. His old companion silence came in order to give him comfort.

"What's your name?" she said.


"Ben. Well it was really nice meeting you. My name is Janie."


"No. Janie."

"Is it short for Janice?"

"Yea." She began to laugh. Ben smiled. "Hey, do you wanna go back to my place?"

"Yea, sure," Ben said. He thought of The Apology; the bit about death being a migration rather than a simple turning off of the lights. It turns out that she was a very nice girl. Her apartment was a mess, but it was not dirty: it was very clean, in fact. There were clothes everywhere but none of them were dirty. They both got into bed, and watched TV together: The Simpsons: and then some movies: In The Mood For Love, Caddyshack: and then they slept together. In the morning, they drank.