I’ve walked into a hornet’s nest again. On the Internet, there are scads of them. They lay around in unsuspected corners, humming, thrumming with angry hot stingers and venom that pulses and burns through unready veins.
I find them on a regular basis. I’ve a knack for it. I’ve a way with them. They draw to me like abuse victims find abusers, over and over again, without fail.
I limped along trying to mind my own business and noticed the hook in my lip too late. I put it there myself. I never saw my hand work its magic. I only felt it when the tug tore my cheek. I did it myself, and no one’s to blame.
I’ve been tolerant and I’ve tried to be nice. In reality I am neither and grow weary of the charade. I have no heart to lie; I can’t pretend a stranger is a long awaited friend.
I won’t anymore. I can’t anymore.
I don’t anymore. I’m through with the clothes I’m supposed to wear and the “right” way to be and the “right” things to say.
I’m finished with it now. I’m too tired, too old, to play Internet games. I came here to appreciate art. I made friends along the way.
Or did I?
Did I only dream that? Was there some stain on the cloth I didn’t see? Some stench on the fabric I didn’t detect? Some smudge on the skin I didn’t notice before?
I slog through the mire and pretend I like the trip. I strain against the quicksand that threatens to suck me in, and I work to smile while my brow beads with sweat and my armpits drip with the effort and I start to stink, even to myself. I can smell my own odor, my own vile fragrance, and it makes me gag. I turn away to vomit but someone’s in the way and I don’t want to get any on them. I swallow it and it burns worse and tastes awful and I gag again, and hack, and on it goes.
Why do I care? What do I care? I want to vomit and have done with it, have it out of me, purge.
I want to scream and choke and rant and eviscerate.
Instead I go into my room and stare, seething with rage I’ve bottled and kept on a shelf. I see things, hear things, shadows and whispers, and no one sees them but me, no one hears them but me. No one believes me. I am dismissed and ignored and told lies and insulted.
It’s not my injury heralded. Why do I care? What do I care?
I thought I made friends, I thought I knew them. I don’t, I haven’t. I’m wrong. There’s a black spot on the whiteness of the purity of intentions. I reached out to scratch at it with my fingernail, but the distance deceived me. I can’t reach it. I don’t know if I want to. I don’t know if I can.
And why do I care? What do I care? It’s not my injury, is it? Is that my blood on my hands? Or someone else’s? Does it matter?
To anyone? To me?