the car's on fire and there's no driver at the wheel

She blinked again, the world remained as it was. She couldn’t bring herself out of this twisted cycle, this monotony. The long hallways of her mind had no doors, the exit signs lay dim. Then they’d widen with each grasp at the immensities of the world, deep and unforgiving. Maybe the medicine would have helped her, dull the faint hammering of the walls, maybe show her a door. Then again it may have taken her away; made her fall through some trap door. Had she always felt this inconsequential? Was she always so desperately wanting to do something more?

and the sewers are all muddied with a thousand lonely suicides and a dark wind blows

Another cloud motioned into the sun’s vision as she slouched lower on the wooden bench. She held herself closer to block the soft wind coming off the slightly disturbed lake. The cold day had, for the most part, kept people away from this place. The afternoon’s shadows got longer as the population became ever fewer and those that remained were mostly joggers and the occasional family with kids. The entire life surrounding this place seemed perfectly at ease in the quiet peace.

“Fuck you,” she mouthed and began to cry, “…you ruined everything.”

He held her close, absorbing the tears that came pinballing down the corduroy chutes of his jacket.

the government is corrupt
and we're on so many drugs
with the radio on and the curtains drawn

It was a Sunday. Church goers abounded, dressed like fancy clothed reapers ready to take her away when the time came. Here came the bright lit sun, and it tagged and triggered the wind, just a breeze, that broke apart the reservoirs of thought, bringing her back for a moment.

Aspirations wasted on the weary and wounded. She’d thought it was the suburbia, that wasted space where middle-agers were sucked into monotony through families and new names. It’d been a constant drain on her insides, so she moved to New York, but this only exacerbated the solitude. Here, now, she thought of moving to the countryside, but couldn’t think of any particular place that seemed deserted enough.

we're trapped in the belly of this horrible machine
and the machine is bleeding to death

“Do you ever worry about being generic?” the question took some time to form.

“Nope,” a jet made its soft rumbling ascent above them.

“Really? I’ve started to…” She replied, then went silent again.

In grade school she had wanted to sell flowers. In her punk days she wished to spark a revolution, throw down some anarchy. Later, in her days of college she had dreams of destroying the world with hydrogen bombs; leaving her definitive mark on the world. These days she just couldn’t fucking decide.

the sun has fallen down
and the billboards are all leering
and the flags are all dead at the top of their poles

One night she had laid in her bed, awake, silent and alone, trying to contemplate whether there’d be something more after death. Countless more were spent grasping what it was she wanted to do in life. She came to the conclusion that death would bring with it the ability to experience every other person’s own, and that this transcendence would bring total meaning to her once unfulfilled life. As to her current affairs, she still couldn’t decide. So she lay still awake these nights trying to find meaning amidst six billion other people.

it went like this:
the buildings tumbled in on themselves
mothers clutching babies picked through the rubble
and pulled out their hair

At least this wasn’t an ocean, she didn’t think she could stand that, the vast expanse which encompassed so many emotions. No, this was where she would stay, among the flightless, the land locked, the static. No more waves would be made today.

But even here, now, looking across the still waters of this small lake she felt hopelessly alone and minor. She decided that if this were an ocean, she would throw herself in, let the undertow grasp at her ankles and pull her deeper, a part of something too great to understand. If I sat here long enough this bench would engulf me, I wonder if I’d have the willpower to stay still that long, starving, dying.

the skyline was beautiful on fire
all twisted metal stretching upwards
everything washed in a thin orange haze

Then there was him. That wretched saint, her goddamned savior. If it weren’t for him, she’d already have left. They weren’t even in love, but they already knew each other too well. One conversation, that’s all it took these days, she felt so relieved by each that she couldn’t stand risking another, so she came here, to the lake.

i said: "kiss me, you're beautiful --
these are truly the last days"

She was falling into the exact traps she’d prepared not to. Becoming dependent, relying on the strengths of someone else. But maybe I really do need this now. Would he ever…

“What if we ran away from here, just up and went. I need to be reminded that the world’s not so hollow, that all these others, they don’t really matter.” But she knew the answer would be the opposite of what she wanted to hear.

“I’ve got a lot underway right now-” His reply left open for the words, “but I’ll go with you anyways” which never came. Of course she knew it already, stupid to ask really. She might well have just asked herself, for she surely didn’t have a clue as to where they’d go.

“Have you ever been to Canada?” she said.

“Actually, I was born in Toronto but moved here when I was very young.”

“And you’ve never thought of going back?”

“I’ve been trying to tell you, I’ve got engagements here,” he withdrew his arms and looked away, something had changed. His arm reached for an armrest that wasn’t there and settled instead on his knee. There need not be this distance, she thought. She looked to the kids on the bank who where throwing rocks at the ducks who were luckily just out of range.

“Things went wrong just now, but I don’t know why,” her hand and eyes slid into his, but he broke the contact, looking instead at the large bolts securing the wood panels to the bench.

“I want to live right here, on this very lake, not some shitty apartment in some shady part of town. I want a place to my own with a garden and a pond and ducks and fish. A place free of sirens and horns where I might write and paint and listen to the silence.” She had never been so decided in her life, this she needed.

“Well, yeah, we all want something like that, that’s no secret, but we get trapped into the others.”

“I know but I can’t stand those anymore, I need a crisis, I need things to get fucked up. Whatever happened to spontaneous rearrangements, the nuclear family?” her anger stemmed from the knowledge that she too was trapped in this life. It was all predetermined.

you grabbed my hand and we fell into it like a daydream or a fever

It wasn’t supposed to all decay like this, she knew she’d be alright, but this being dependent, it came as so foreign. She’d stay; for him; for now. I thought I’d go solo forever.

His embrace came again and she fell hard into an emotional wreck, a renegade battle against reason. Little by little she’d find ways to stand it, so long as he remained true.

“Be still, I’m not letting go,” he said, her tears were stopped now, the storm had subsided.

“How’d you find me?” The question was mute.

“I had a hunch you’d be checking out the joggers.”

Her bittersweet laugh came in bursts accompanied by soft tears. She turned her head to the lake, still locked in him; her chin came to rest on his shoulder, her eyes blinking into clarity. Expressionless words were exchanged as the world continued slowly beyond them.

we woke up one morning and fell a little further down --
for sure it's the valley of death

- lyrics from the Godspeed You! Black Emperor song, “Dead Flag Blues” off the album, f# a# oo

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