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  • Reassurance, Or the Evolution of the Pessimist


      Then something unusual happens.
      Under a dim light above the breakfast table in your cave, the folded razor blade glows. Under proper use, you must make a certain device for a cleaner cut. You should buy an old-school generic razorblade and bend it in half—and if you can, half again. There’s a section of your forehead, above your eyebrow, that will flow like the Niagara and heal up within the next day or two. You used to find spots on your arm that did the same thing when you were still in high school.
      However, on this night, you’re going for the kill. Everyone gets these thoughts from time to time, don’t they? There’s a point when you realize all you loved leaves and all you fought for—your career, schooling, house, engagement rings and wedding bands with bright rocks—amounts to zilch. If heaven’s nonexistent, your pain is for naught and you’ll spend decades as maggot grub.
      And you just want to jump the gun sometimes.
      Then something unusual happens.
      The blades runs along the blue river of your vein, a dishrag gags in mouth. She walks in, towering over you with her black and pink hair glowing in the darkness. Eyes like sapphires.
      She sits down next to you and smiles. Her hand doesn’t slip the make-shift slicer out of your hand. No, she covers your vein instead, feels along your wrists. And she speaks in a low, seductive voice, “You have really smooth skin. You shouldn’t ruin it.” She’s ethereal.
      Her hand traces your arm; touches your shoulder. You drop the blade to your side. Remove the gag that still tastes like Palmolive.
      “Who are you?” you ask. And you swim into her deep blue eyes again.


      Her lips are cotton candy every time you kiss.
      Running your hand through her smooth hair, you want to pull. And soon enough, you’ve been dating awhile and you’re doing so. Although you’ve been making love since day one. For once, though, it’s about feeling close and intimate and not just about sex. It’s something unusual.


      It’s a Tuesday—none in particular. You’re out sipping coffee before movie time. “You’re amazing,” she says. And then fully-automatic, she blasts your heart with a thousand bullet-sized shrapnel of affection. Your skin smooth, your lips curved to fit each other’s, your hands, your eyes, your scent, your neck, your humor, your doubts, your everything else, but not limited to just everything else.
      Tomorrow the list will grow. And the next day.
      “I’m so incredibly happy with you,” you say. “I’m afraid this won’t last.”
      “It will,” she assures, and you believe her. “No matter what hits us, I promise.”
      And you lock pinkies.

     
      “I hate promise rings,” you tell her a week later. “They’re usually a sign of insecurity. They’re like a promise for failure. Engagement rings are promises to be together forever. What good are they if they need a promise too?”
      Her eyes drift to the side. Her smiles drags.
      But she sort of agrees to humor you. “Yeah, I can see that,” she says.


      The ring’s on the way and you have this perfect notion of asking her, not to marry you, but to stay with you for eternity. Life is composed of priceless moments that provide everyone with either hope or despair. Never one or the other; always both. Over time, you’re compelled to share them with someone, the good and the ugly. Everyone will die someday, so it doesn’t matter, really, if you have personal unity. You just don’t want to die alone—the pack-animal mentality of the human condition.
      She’s provided you with more positive moments, within five months, than you’ve ever encountered in your entire existence.
      During such moments, you can recall everything, as if life became still-framed for a few seconds at a time, as though love could add years to your life—happy years—in the form of seconds. You’re a thousand years old and ecstatic, though you don’t express it well.
      But she believes in what you fear—that, the few moments of despair overshadow any singular, positive moment. The kind of observances that make you walk out on someone, only until you’ve recalled everything you admired about the lost loved one. And it’s too late then.
      You call yourself stupid. You say you’re sorry. But “stupid” is the superior adjective to “amorous,” and nowhere in the dictionary is “sorry” defined as “correction”. If you’re apologizing, just fix the goddamn mistake. A synonym for “sorry” should be “psychological masochism.”
      “I’m sorry,” she says, “I just need to figure things out.”
      Her voice echoes across the pond you brought her to for the sake of giving her the same tangible form of commitment that you fucking despised just a few months ago.
      You say, “No, it’s ok.”
      It’s not, you think.
      “I understand,” you say.
      You don’t.
      “I promise I’ll come back to you,” she says. “You’re perfect for me and we’ll be together in the end.”
      Maybe at a cemetery.
      So many questions race through the crumbling highways of your mind, colliding with other drunken thoughts. Wreck, wreck, wreck. Death, pain, or regret. You’ve hopped on I-silence and missed the exit to hope. You can’t pull over on a cold shoulder.
      None of this sounds funny to you.
      And you wait for her to return. Trust the next exit, perhaps?
      How far can you skip a promise ring across a pond?
      And you wait.
      You could probably bend a promise ring to a point, if it’s a weaker metal. You bought her white gold.
      You wait.
      You wait because you hope you’re wrong. Reassurance skipped across the pond three times before sinking to shallow depths, only to erode and deteriorate over time, like her, like you, and like everyone else.
      Something far from unusual.

    Reassurance, Or the Evolution of the Pessimist


      Then something unusual happens.
      Under a dim light above the breakfast table in your cave, the folded razor blade glows. Under proper use, you must make a certain device for a cleaner cut. You should buy an old-school generic razorblade and bend it in half—and if you can, half again. There’s a section of your forehead, above your eyebrow, that will flow like the Niagara and heal up within the next day or two. You used to find spots on your arm that did the same thing when you were still in high school.
      However, on this night, you’re going for the kill. Everyone gets these thoughts from time to time, don’t they? There’s a point when you realize all you loved leaves and all you fought for—your career, schooling, house, engagement rings and wedding bands with bright rocks—amounts to zilch. If heaven’s nonexistent, your pain is for naught and you’ll spend decades as maggot grub.
      And you just want to jump the gun sometimes.
      Then something unusual happens.
      The blades runs along the blue river of your vein, a dishrag gags in mouth. She walks in, towering over you with her black and pink hair glowing in the darkness. Eyes like sapphires.
      She sits down next to you and smiles. Her hand doesn’t slip the make-shift slicer out of your hand. No, she covers your vein instead, feels along your wrists. And she speaks in a low, seductive voice, “You have really smooth skin. You shouldn’t ruin it.” She’s ethereal.
      Her hand traces your arm; touches your shoulder. You drop the blade to your side. Remove the gag that still tastes like Palmolive.
      “Who are you?” you ask. And you swim into her deep blue eyes again.


      Her lips are cotton candy every time you kiss.
      Running your hand through her smooth hair, you want to pull. And soon enough, you’ve been dating awhile and you’re doing so. Although you’ve been making love since day one. For once, though, it’s about feeling close and intimate and not just about sex. It’s something unusual.


      It’s a Tuesday—none in particular. You’re out sipping coffee before movie time. “You’re amazing,” she says. And then fully-automatic, she blasts your heart with a thousand bullet-sized shrapnel of affection. Your skin smooth, your lips curved to fit each other’s, your hands, your eyes, your scent, your neck, your humor, your doubts, your everything else, but not limited to just everything else.
      Tomorrow the list will grow. And the next day.
      “I’m so incredibly happy with you,” you say. “I’m afraid this won’t last.”
      “It will,” she assures, and you believe her. “No matter what hits us, I promise.”
      And you lock pinkies.

     
      “I hate promise rings,” you tell her a week later. “They’re usually a sign of insecurity. They’re like a promise for failure. Engagement rings are promises to be together forever. What good are they if they need a promise too?”
      Her eyes drift to the side. Her smiles drags.
      But she sort of agrees to humor you. “Yeah, I can see that,” she says.


      The ring’s on the way and you have this perfect notion of asking her, not to marry you, but to stay with you for eternity. Life is composed of priceless moments that provide everyone with either hope or despair. Never one or the other; always both. Over time, you’re compelled to share them with someone, the good and the ugly. Everyone will die someday, so it doesn’t matter, really, if you have personal unity. You just don’t want to die alone—the pack-animal mentality of the human condition.
      She’s provided you with more positive moments, within five months, than you’ve ever encountered in your entire existence.
      During such moments, you can recall everything, as if life became still-framed for a few seconds at a time, as though love could add years to your life—happy years—in the form of seconds. You’re a thousand years old and ecstatic, though you don’t express it well.
      But she believes in what you fear—that, the few moments of despair overshadow any singular, positive moment. The kind of observances that make you walk out on someone, only until you’ve recalled everything you admired about the lost loved one. And it’s too late then.
      You call yourself stupid. You say you’re sorry. But “stupid” is the superior adjective to “amorous,” and nowhere in the dictionary is “sorry” defined as “correction”. If you’re apologizing, just fix the goddamn mistake. A synonym for “sorry” should be “psychological masochism.”
      “I’m sorry,” she says, “I just need to figure things out.”
      Her voice echoes across the pond you brought her to for the sake of giving her the same tangible form of commitment that you fucking despised just a few months ago.
      You say, “No, it’s ok.”
      It’s not, you think.
      “I understand,” you say.
      You don’t.
      “I promise I’ll come back to you,” she says. “You’re perfect for me and we’ll be together in the end.”
      Maybe at a cemetery.
      So many questions race through the crumbling highways of your mind, colliding with other drunken thoughts. Wreck, wreck, wreck. Death, pain, or regret. You’ve hopped on I-silence and missed the exit to hope. You can’t pull over on a cold shoulder.
      None of this sounds funny to you.
      And you wait for her to return. Trust the next exit, perhaps?
      How far can you skip a promise ring across a pond?
      And you wait.
      You could probably bend a promise ring to a point, if it’s a weaker metal. You bought her white gold.
      You wait.
      You wait because you hope you’re wrong. Reassurance skipped across the pond three times before sinking to shallow depths, only to erode and deteriorate over time, like her, like you, and like everyone else.
      Something far from unusual.
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