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June 2009, vol 5 no 2

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N. Aptop


Ritual One

Early morning. I hit play on my iPod, turn up the volume. Music filters through the speakers. I知 holding a c-camp吠ssued plastic mug between both hands, warm to the touch. I slowly sip at the liquid, giving it time to cool. My morning ritual.

This morning I sit a heaping bowl of oatmeal on the table in front of me, a pit of tasteless goo. I finish it, followed by a cup of hot cocoa instead of coffee. My latest health kick.

Soon I値l go to work, count the hours by the shovelful of sub-grade or trail mix. I値l walk home listening only to the crunch of my own footsteps falling on gravel. I値l return to my cabin, walk in, leave the door cracked behind me. I値l sit down in the dark, knife blade pressed firmly into the thin layer of flesh on my left wrist, wishing I didn稚 feel so god-damn alone. Maybe a tear will fall; sometimes they do. I値l sit this way for fifteen minutes to an hour, grow frustrated, slam the blade onto the table. I値l walk to the rec hall, count the hours till bedtime by the tv show. My evening ritual.

Ambiguity makes up so much of my life now. How else could I continue to wake up so empty and still get out of bed. How else could I put on my uniform and put off thoughts of 兎scape until it痴 杜y time again. How else could I eat this heart-healthy mush, unsure if I値l even eat dinner. How else could I not press just a little harder this time?

Silent evening
Sun shines on fiery reds of
wilting blueberry leaves

Ritual Two

I'm 32 and living in a college dorm for the first time. Just out of the shower, it all feels so good – the cool tile on the bottoms of my feet, then the coarse fibers of carpet, my new life, and my lease on it. The smiles come easy now, lips spreading the warmth felt within.

Looking back, the finality of endings brings a shudder through my body. Like a movie reel broken in half, everyone's playing their part, then suddenly, nothing.

Just one pill upon waking and three before bed and the beginnings seem to stretch out forever. Like the smile across my lips.

beginnings —
my new roommates'
sudden laughter

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