I breathe the dense, muggy air as I walk down through the park. Everything is gray. It's as if someone has taken a photo editor to the world around me and turned down the contrast. The fog brought a monochrome hue to the park that felt cold and dead. Why am I out here? What’s the point of all of this? I am overwhelmed but a sense of meaninglessness.
I've known that I'm not a nihilist. I don't and honestly can't characterize myself that much, but I've known I'm not a nihilist. I imagine The Victorian as the best of all possible worlds. I know many of my fellow apartment residents don't share my outlook. That's why I'm not friends with Howard. Even though I appreciate Ms. Ellen for all she does I'm not friends with her. The last thing I want to become is jaded, cynical or apathetic. I don't want to be like them. I want to be different. It's about how I see the world versus how they see it. I've always been sure that they're simply blind to the good things in life.
I was definitely sure of this earlier today. I started my day like I had been for the past week and a half, taking a walk. The wind was bitingly cold but that was ok for me. It was well worth the fresh air. Getting fresh air and exercise every day was part of my transformation. Things were starting to turn around. After taking finally leaving my apartment and asserting myself to get the water bottle from Ms. Ellen I felt a control I hadn't felt in years. I realized I had the power to shape my own future. I scheduled and completed three interviews, admittedly unsuccessful, and had another five coming up for next week. I decided to sign up for a GED course. I wrote consistently for two hours a day. I felt like I was finally making progress too. I started making changes on a smaller scale too. I brushed my teeth twice everyday that week. I ate a salad every day. I took a walk every morning in the park. For the first time since I moved to The Victorian I felt like I was moving forward.
Despite the wind, the park was especially beautiful this morning. I guess technically yesterday morning but, I'm going to tell this narrative as if right now is the night of the day the events of my story transpired. I hope you're not confused. Anyhow, the park looked stunning. Fog enveloped the trees, wispy white like silk, or the air of an old woman. Dew reflected the early morning sun, each drop shining, twinkling like stars. I decided to make a wish upon these stars. I said to myself, “I wish Ms. Ellen could see this. I bet even she could find this beautiful.”
I was certain I had said this to myself, inaudible to others until I heard a call from an old man sitting on a park bench, “But how terrible! To see truth when truth is only pain to him who see.” I glanced back at the man momentarily before continuing my walk.
The rest of the day went ok. I added another chapter to my book. I finished working on another interview application. After dinner I went to the grocery store. I bought myself some fresh fruits and vegetables: broccoli, apples, spinach and a couple bags of oranges. I was planning on calling it a night on an overall satisfying day when I saw her. Tall, beautiful, skin white as milk. She was even more beautiful than I remember her the first time. Her ginger hair flowed down her back in waves, like a carrot cake icing. I decided not to come on as strong this time. I knew though something could happen. I had power to decide my future.
“Excuse me,” I called out across the parking lot. She turned around and hesitates. I waited a few seconds before she asks who I am.
“I’m Munny Pang,” I said. I tried to think about something a little less forward to say than “I love you.” I hoped she wouldn’t recognize me from the first time I saw her. I have been eating healthier this week.
“Wait,” she says. “Were you that drunk guy that hit on me at the Exxon?”
Crap. So much for not recognizing me. “Sorry about that,” I said to her. “I was a bit forward there, I admit. But I’m a good guy and you should give me a chance.”
She stared down at me, visibly annoyed.
“Give me one good reason I should waste my time on you,” she snaps.
“Well,” I started. “I am a freelance writer, but I’ve also been looking for other jobs to support myself. In fact I’ve even signed up for a GED course. I’m taking my life by the horns. I’ve been eating healthy and exercising.”
She smiled at me. I felt a warm feeling inside and smiled back until I realized she was smirking.
She responded: “First of all that was a rhetorical question. You don’t look a day under 55, I would never spend any time with you anyways. All that exercise and healthy eating is really showing, how long have you been doing it for, a week? You look like trash, but what’s worse is that you’re pleased with where your life is. You seem so happy that you’re going to have the chance to get a fucking high school diploma. And freelance writer? What kind of writer without a high school diploma gets paid? So of course you’re looking at other jobs. I’m happy that you’re pleased with your unemployment. I’m sure you’re generating enough money to be paying for those fresh fruits. You’re pathetic.”
She stormed off, got into her red Toyota and drove off. I stood in shock. She was probably just in a bad mood. I knew she was a much nicer person in normal circumstances. I still wish I got to know her. As I walked to my car, I heard skidding from the street. Then a crash. Then an explosion. I turn around to see a red Toyota up in flames. Maybe that isn’t her I thought to myself. But as I examine the wreckage I see the plain truth. That was her car. It had just pulled out from the grocery store parking lot. She was most likely dead.
In panic I ran away. I just kept running. I might’ve ran for an hour and a half before stopping. I found myself in the middle of a cornfield, far outside the city. I would’ve been totally lost if I hadn’t run into the railroad tracks. I wanted to consider myself lucky. But I finally began to see that I didn’t live in the best of all possible worlds. I saw I was pathetic. With my life halfway over I’ve done nothing. My best years are behind me. I was still writing this pathetic book for hours every day for ultimately naught. And now the love of my life is gone--no, she was awful to me. I didn’t even know her name. But I still felt remorseful. Maybe not for losing her, but for losing hope. For losing my blindness to the misery of my own condition.The train came through around 3:30 AM. I hopped on the caboose platform. The train crept at the pace of a funeral march. I noticed I still had my oranges, the same color as her hair. They reminded me of her. They reminded me of a world more beautiful than the one I found myself in. I peeled the oranges and threw off peels like flower petals at a funeral, mourning the death of by beautiful blindness.