Sometimes I know a strangers whole life story.
I know you work in a office, your suit is tailored. Cuff links facing north, though it’s hard to say you’ll be moving in that direction. I don’t know that under your cuffs are the cuts marking every time you’ve questioned yourself. You should have been a doctor. No one to take that role now, your brother has already struck gold with his acting career. No turning back.
The office has become your house, hard to call it a home, because your heart is not really there. But when you do go home you leave your mind at the office, On the desk between last weeks work, and your scented pencils. It sits there. While you sit on the plastic covered couch your grandmother is scared to get dirty. She doesn’t realize, in this heat wave your thighs stick to that plastic like gum stuck under your high school lunch table.
And as you melt into that couch your name is the most talked about in the house but only in whispers “That degree didn’t get her far, she’s living in the city now, working in an office but only as an intern, she doesn’t call home much, I think she’s a bit depressed”. You’re the hushed conversation in hallways as people pass, eyeing around the corner to see if you’re in earshot.
Home also comes with unwanted interaction. The grocery store clerk only sees you as a messenger “I saw your brother on that show, wow to think I went to school with that kid, tell him I said hi” He doesn’t want to say hi to you, just keep moving, your brother has already built his ego to tall. One swift wind and it might all fall down. You don’t want to add to the rubble. You’re sitting on the couch trying to ignore the stalker neighbor who keeps giving you side eye, but by the end the night his number will be on the back of a crumpled receipt, tossed in the bathroom trash. You didn’t want to hurt his feelings. Besides he’s was talking fine dining. You can’t afford Olive Garden, even when you get your paycheck. But you’re not one for committing so it’s best to toss his number now. You don’t want him to get the wrong idea. Plus you’re focusing on work you don’t have time for relationships.
You’re dreaming big, you’re getting out of the cube farm, on to the big office retreat. Don’t dream too hard though, that involves work, and you already have enough of that. So write your dreams on sticky notes, put them on the mirror but not the walls. Because that closet you’re renting is owned by a very strict man, and he did say “I want nothing on the walls”. So you’ll stick them on the mirror besides your toothbrush and self confidence, which you leave at home everyday because you once heard “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” And well, the earrings match your outfit so you hang up your confidence and walk out the door. And on your way to work, through tunnels and over bridges you meet a stranger, it’s best to say “hello” it’s not like you know their whole life story just yet.
1. The year I was sentenced to summer school, the boys across the street were sentenced to solitude. And I thought being grounded was tough.
2. While I was passing notes instead of passing classes, they were passing guns instead of passing coffins. Too bad they passed the torch to some other boy who was now passing the time in his sarcophagus.
3. While math left me scratching my head, they were scratching the serial number off the gun they found in the trashcan behind their apartment building. It was their only salvation.
4. While I was building brain power, they were building power too and the courage to go outside with mass destruction at their finger tips, because you only look so dangerous, standing in the mirror with the gun pointed at your reflection.
5. They don’t look so different, to the naked eye, they just look like a group of boys standing on the corner. Maybe taking a breather after playing ball, but what you don’t know is that they have been standing on that corner all day, and they don’t plan on leaving.
6. I look towards my teachers for orders, those boys are under orders too, with a strict deadline, because turning in late is not an option, if it’s not on time, they will be dead by next week, and that is the bottom line.
7. At least in summer school, I get to go home when the day is over, a long days work followed by dinner with my mother. Their mothers look out the windows, wondering if their boys are coming home tonight, and if she’ll have dinner on the table, because she knows his day on the corner was a fight. Young boys trying to fill the shoes of a distant man.
8. These pencils have given me callused hands, I’m writing faster than ever before, it’s all flowing now, it’s like education galore. The flow has stopped for them. Their bodies stamped with bullets like birthmarks, distributed by a revolver. It’s nothing new, just another fallen boy.
9. The corner was once used for hop-scotch and toys, side walks now painted with the blood of our lost boys. We have all filled the role of a mourner, this corner has brought our neighborhood together. We’re fighting against this violence no matter the weather.
10. I can’t say much more, without running out the door in fear and terror, because on those blocks out there, it’s not getting much better. So I guess I can say this was just a letter, to let you know what’s going on in my neighborhood. When I look out the window at those boys on the corner, and remember how I’m protected by the street’s border. For if summer school has taught me anything, it’s that if I blink once, I might miss it all, my heart might sink and fall, because before long, that corner might be home to the mourner watching me, go by in a dark parade, smiling a waving to those boys on the corner.
I may have just wasted money to the kitchy charm bracelet and poster that come with the special night before our stars shit for TIFIOS. 2legit2quite. I want this damn charm bracelet, but is it really worth it? Watch it be plastic or some shit and it breaks in my hand.