He sat with his head in his hands, leaning against the white concrete wall. The location was desolate, almost resembling a ghost town. It was broad daylight, no later than twelve noon. There wasn’t a car in motion, or parked on the street, for that matter. His clothes were ripped and torn from his collar to his ankles, which confused him. He couldn’t remember much of the night before, despite not tasting any residual alcohol on his breath. His head was ringing like the liberty bell, and his phone soon matched.
Digging in his pocket, he pulled it out and pressed the green answer button with his index finger, putting it against his tight beard. Before he could answer the call, he felt a stinging go up his arm, preventing him from doing so. The phone dropped to the pavement below, shattering the screen. As he bent down to pick it up, the pain now gone, he took in the sounds of what could only be described as a busy street. Car horns and mixed conversations flooded his senses, causing him to take a step back to the wall he had just risen from.
Looking around left to right, now shaking his head as if he was a dog fresh out of a lake, everything began to come into focus. The first thought in his mind was that maybe he was day dreaming, or something like it. Stuck in a fog of just waking up here, not fully coherent. It wouldn’t have been the first time his mind had pulled the wool over his eyes and told him it was night. Trying to knock the cobwebs loose once more, he sat back down and observed.
As he looked down and around him, he noticed a spread pile of green rocks beside him. He picked one up and held it towards the sunlight, inspecting it as if he’d be tested it on it later. Grabbing another, he compared the two, and it gave him a sharp squeezing pain in the middle of his arm. In his mind he was hearing voices in the distance but paid them no mind. He knew these rocks held a deeper meaning and was determined to dig it out of the recesses of his brain. All he could muster up was a feeling of regret, a deep sense of losing something or someone he loved.
He felt like a seaman trying to see the land beyond the fog, doing everything he possibly could to reach his destination. As memories came and went, clouded with the voices and everything in between, he conceded that he wasn’t in the best mindset to deduce anything but the feeling. He rose up and put a handful in his pockets. As soon as they hit the bottom of his blue jean pockets, he felt a sharp pain at the bottom of his legs that damn near dropped him to his knees.
Trying his best to put the pain behind him, he rose up and began walking towards the intersection, people walking forth and back like he didn’t exist. He was beginning to get frustrated and stopped at a parked white Cadillac Sedan and looked at the passenger window. He wasn’t a vampire, he saw himself in the reflection. Ripping off his black and white flannel overcoat and tossing it to the ground, he shouted and kicked his legs around like a toddler in the supermarket.
Nobody paid him any mind, which only fueled his rage more. In a way, it was like he was living a personal nightmare that he had already lived a dozen times over. Being ignored by those he gave the most to, thrown away like he didn’t matter, stepped on like a piece of dog shit in the hot sun, and his time wasted like a drunk on a Saturday night. Familiar territory, indeed.
He began to make a scene with pedestrians, screaming at them as they walked by, but to no avail. They just kept walking, as if he was nothing more than a gentle breeze. Confused and feeling completely alone, he walked over to a gorgeous blond girl sitting outside a café with a notepad, sketching away.
“Can I help you?”
He was taken aback by the fact that she not only spoke to him first, breaking contact with her art, but that she had noticed him.
“You can see me? I’m not losing my shit?”
She chuckled to herself and put her pencil back to the pad, “where is that voice coming from?” She began to look around and once more chuckled, pencil back to paper. “Of course, I can see you. They can’t. You hurt them.”
“Wh.. what the fuck does that mean? I hurt everybody in the world? I don’t even know these people.”
“Not everybody in the world. Everybody in your world.”
He pulled a chair beside her and asked, “do you mind?” In which she nodded that she would, in fact mind if he sat next to her.
“But, it’s not like I can stop you. Come on.” She cleared the area for him to sit comfortably as she explained his reality a bit further.
“So… you don’t know me? What you did to me? How you hurt me? Broke my heart?”
He sat back in the chair, eventually putting his head back in his hands, just as he had woken up. She patted his head, scratching his scalp.
“Hey, hey. Are you okay? I didn’t mean to…”
“Yes, I’m fine. I was just thinking back and trying to remember you or even how I hurt you. I’m sorry I just… I have no recollection of it. I know I could be asking a lot here, but can you help me along?”
He couldn’t exactly place why he felt the need to be understanding to her so much versus everybody else in his world who he had wronged, if she was to be believed.
“I can’t do that. You know why.”
“You do,” she said as she turned the sketchpad towards him, brandishing a picture of them both laying under a tree, the leaves dark green, the sky a fiery pink, the grass looking freshly cut. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the green stones he had dumped inside earlier and handed her one.
He reached for her hand and she pulled away gently, wrapping her soft arms around his neck, and whispered into his ear that he had to ‘do this alone.’ They walked across the street together, and she stood back as he approached an oak wood door. He pushed forward on the handle, took a deep breath and a step back toward her. She approached once more. They embraced for a minute, maybe even a minute and a half before she stood back once again, waiting for him to accept his fate.
He opened the door, and a bright light overcame him.
Feeling groggy eyed, he looked up at the ceiling. As he tried to raise his arms up to his face to wipe the cold out of his eyes, he realized he was strapped down to a gurney. The blond girl was behind a glass window pane with tears in her eyes. He couldn’t hear what she was saying but she was all he could focus on. She was mouthing the words, “I forgive you.”
His vision eventually pulled back, and he seen that he had more than a solo audience watching him.
The lady who owned the white Cadillac who didn’t acknowledge him was there. The old man who owned the café. The kid from down the street.
The warden stepped in and handed the leather pouch to a man who must have been the executioner. He put the kit on a metal tray beside him, his breathing picking up a bit more.
Everybody from his world, from his dream, that he had hurt was here to witness him take his final breath.
The only thing that came to mind was to look directly at the blond girl and mouth the words back to her.
“I forgive you too.”