An Inability to be Present

It’s a warm Saturday afternoon in late Fall. I’m drinking to stave off the hangover. She demands we do something productive with the day, so I exhume a large weed from the yard, roots and all and deposit it in the trash can.

As my glass loses liquid, I watch her water our dead garden. I marvel at the dirt backyard that borders it. The flowerbeds put in to bring a hope of beauty to concrete shambles. The grass that wouldn’t grow. The weeds that overtook it.

Neighborhood sounds of children playing and cars passing manifest as steel bars.

Odie the dog knows best how to approach these proceedings, hiding beneath the patio couch where I sit as her stare sears me. I have a friend in town. I want to go out and spend time with him but know I can’t.

Fear creeps in when I consider going in public. Breathing heavy into a mask. The petri dish light rail. The death box elevators creaking in skyscrapers.

It’s ingrained in my mind to think about the still-shot of the planet spinning.

We’d do best to not forget what religion has taught us, however silly its basic tenets. The thin thread between good and evil is all that stands between us and the truth that we all only dream of escape.

Under the couch, Odie’s tail beats hopeful against the concrete. He needs simple comforts. Love. Attention. A walk in the soft calm of the evening.

I love the jingle-jangle of his collar when his body shakes with excitement for simply going outside. I put his harness on and make sure it’s straight. I buckle the plastic fasteners. I attach his leash to the harness and open the gate. I pull up my mask which stinks of booze. I peer both ways down the alley, see no one coming and we sneak out into the neighborhood.

Wilson Koewing is a feeble man, terrified almost daily of even going outside. His work has recently been rejected more times than his abacus can keep up with. He has appeared in The Daily Drunk on several occasions and has been rejected by the Three Penny Review over a hundred times. His favorite movie is Jaws. 

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