Folding and Unfolding On
Until the Sun Comes Out Again

Because he was dividing and re-dividing and ending up crunched and re-crunched on himself like a star folding and unfolding and becoming something less or something more than he had been before it all burns out like stars do.

It was afternoon and then it was evening and then it was night. And in the afternoon he was off of work and at the liquor store. And by evening he was six glasses in and waiting for the ice cubes to materialize in a trays in the freezer. And by night he had forgotten about the ice entirely and was swigging straight from the bottle and humming show tunes to himself and laughing at the way the posters hung on the wall of his tiny basement apartment.

But then the show tunes turned to emo and punk and rock and that hard core stuff that no one can understand but listen to anyway just to prove a point to someone. And by that time it was midnight or later and his eyes were glassy and he was thinking about how to kill himself or how to kill that girl who was staggering herself in a bar downtown. Because he'd text her about getting together and she'd text him about not texting her anymore.

So here he was in a below ground bomb shelter one room shithole drinking whiskey straight from an almost empty bottle and swearing at nothing or shadows. And then he was driving. And he was at a coffee house. And he was talking to this preacher kid from down the street who had been through nothing like any of this before but he was a kid who listened and that's what a whiskey drinker needs. Because he'd called his brothers too all three of them but they'd responded with silence and nothing more than black hole solitude.

So the preacher kid was bobbing his head at the drunken kid and the drunken kid was rambling on and on about a used car that felt like shit when you stepped on the gas pedal and a cat who'd been kicked to death in the streets outside his apartment and this girl that was the second or third or fourth girl and who now was walking out on him and leaving behind the rent and the bills and the new kitten and the used car that felt like shit when you stepped on the gas pedal.

But the preacher kid didn't know anything about anything because he hadn't read the bible all the way through yet. And he was still young. And his mission trip had been on a blue bicycle around suburban neighborhoods where wedded mothers with beautiful babies politely shut doors and thanked him for coming. And he was really just a kid. Preaching. Talking to the drunken man about a life that he knew nothing about.

Maybe there is something more than this the preacher kid said to the drunken one. And maybe she left for a reason. A higher power. A way of life that is different than what you're meant for. A calling. Something special. Maybe that something special is just waiting for you. Around the corner. Or the bend. You never know right. But the one who'd been drinking all night was bobbing his head now not because he agreed but because there was an image of a cat dancing with a mouse running on an endless loop in his head on a projector made out of candles and cellophane.

And the coffee didn't sober him up and neither did the conversation or the head bobbing on either end so he thanked the preacher kid for coming out to talk with him and the preacher kid tried to give him a ride home but the drunken kid just kept repeating no way man I'm straight I'm straight I'm straight. And he wasn't. But he drove himself home anyway. And he swam underneath six or seven blankets and finished off the last of the bottle. Like a baby sucking the milk. And he thought about how this was all supposed to be. And he didn't know what to do anymore. And he was drowning.

So there he was like a star abandoned to space and time and merely existing. Waiting for a push. Like a little girl on a swing. Waiting for a push into something better. Because there weren't any answers beneath the ice cubes. And the bottle was empty anyway. And he wanted answers before he burned out. Because he was a star burning like that. Folding and unfolding on until the sun comes about again.


words: J.A. Tyler, Colorado (aboutjaytyler)
photo: Jeff Crouch, Texas (more)


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