from the sky to the center

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“I hate my life,” he says.

And then he goes quiet again, the alcohol only letting that much out.

“Why?”

There is no response.

He is drunk and he is too young. But the years keep coming and he ages unwillingly. There are new things he is supposed to do and the birthday parties are less colorful. His blue bicycle is rusted and people don’t notice him as he walks down the street. He is himself. He is supposed to be a man.

What do we have in common?

What do we have in common, I wonder, as he tells me little slurs of himself.

“I’ve been thinking a lot.”

“About what?”

He never tells me, but slumps down in his chair, giving in to gravity.

He is calm and sad. He likes pictures of the sky. He thinks about constellations. I think about constellations. Remember how small we are? Who decided he has to grow up like this? Into this?

There are no other signs of hope from him. He does not seem hopeful. How could he be? How am I? I want to tell him, but there isn’t a short sentence for clarity.

What do we have in common? It must be something. We are so much the same. It is simple and laughable and sad. It is drunk and alcohol and stars. It is remembering how to walk down the street alone. It is music and turning it up too loud and turning it down again. It is midnight again and again and again, and mornings, and afternoons, and cooking ourselves our own dinners. It is loneliness and searching the sky. It is an easy something, something to hold onto, something to become.

He drinks and falls asleep. He will rinse out the bottles in the morning and send them to be recycled. He will keep growing up into this. He will become it. I hope he will keep looking at the sky. Somehow it can be easy to miss.

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