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He is vaguely suicidal. 

And brown eyed. 

Two years ago, he came home from the factory where he works and wrote a suicide note. 

He wrote the suicide note with a Sanford ballpoint pen. 

These are the pens he makes all day at the factory.

To date, he has stolen six thousand pens from the factory.  They are everywhere in his house—in drawers, in cabinets, rolling around the carpet, making black ghostly messes, beneath sinks, between couch cushions.  He uses them for stirring soup, for de-clogging sinks, for scratching hard to reach areas, for giving in bulk as birthday presents, for poking you when he wants your attention.  He substitutes them for the missing pieces in his beat up, duck taped board games.  He glues them together and uses them as coasters.  He melts them and molds them into statues.

The statues are sometimes people.  Sometimes they are things. 

When they are people, they are sometimes beautiful and sometimes ugly.   Sometimes they have erections and sometimes they don’t have any arms—sometimes both.  On occasion, they look vaguely like somebody he knows. 

Once, I saw a very sad figurine that looked a little bit like me.  She was tiny, had flowing hair he had painted a delicate brown with food coloring, a gentle bow holding it back from her face.  Etched, smiling cheeks, Hollywood teeth and yes-eyes.  She was holding two red flowers—maraschino cherry red—with both hands.  The rest of her was pen-casing white.

I thought she was beautiful.

When I picked her up, he blushed. 

When the statues are things, they are tiny television sets and they are doll house furniture and they are atomic bombs.

Sometimes the television sets and atomic bombs have erections.  Sometimes they don’t. 

I once asked him; “Why do you need so many pens?”

“I don’t know.  I’ve got some ideas,” he said.  “Rock gardens of shredded plastic.  Pens that explode by remote control.  Plus the statues.  You know.  Stuff like that.”

“Oh,” I said.  I was rolling a pen along my knuckles.

He shrugged.  “And, sometimes, you know, I just get lonely.”

His suicide note went on for twenty-six pages.  It included such bullshit sentences as,  “the world eats parts of you you didn’t even know you had until they’re gone,” and “what’s the difference between an empty feeling and death,” and so on.

I’m not really in love with him, but I remember moments when I have been. 

Once, we were at the park, and we were walking tourist-style, stumbling straight through a wedding rehearsal where the bride was wearing jeans and white Keds and holding a bouquet of Hershey wrappers, and the groom was wearing an Iron Maiden t-shirt.  Then we were lying down on the grass and looking up at the sky that looked so blue and deep—it felt unreal like King Kong –and I had this crazy feeling right then.  I don't know.  I wanted to kiss him, right there, in the park.  Right there- and get tangled up on the grass and get cut up by grass blades.  And I told him a story about stumbling onto this couple kissing in the park when I was little, and how they looked so apart of each other that I don’t know if I’d recognize them apart.  And I told him how I was just watching them kind of clumsily and knock kneed and feeling a happiness like purpose, just standing there. 

They felt the same—the moment of that childhood story and that moment with him in the park.

Which I guess is impossible. 

And once, driving out of the city, he was looking at the lights getting smaller behind us and he was smiling and said; “It’s kind of funny, how city lights get more and more beautiful the further you go away.”  Then he paused, looked real confused; “I don’t know—it’s just that there’s mystery in distance.”  Pause.  “So maybe it’s just the mystery that’s beautiful.” 

I fell pretty far in love with him then, too.

I can’t explain why I didn’t kiss him in the park, or told him I loved him that day in the car.  Maybe because I knew then that I wouldn’t be able to stay in love with him.  Not really.  I mean, I fall in love with him every once in a while, in moments.

But I know there would be times when he would say insensitive things, or dull things, or oblique things, and they’d probably make me hate him if we were supposed to love each other through the insensitive, dull, oblique moments.

And his life is so complicated; I almost just want to be silence for him.

After he was finished with the suicide note, he slipped the twenty-six page manuscript beneath my door, one page at a time.

I found them the next morning- piled up like a tiny mountain on my rug.

It took me thirty minutes to read.  I had a hangover.

I read it over breakfast—donuts and soy milk and ohshit thoughts about the night before.

The last words were these: “The End.”

I called him as soon as I was done with breakfast.  He answered, sounded as if his voice box had gravel in it; 

“Too many words,” I said.

“What?”  He asked.  I heard him putting something down—the rattle of ballpoints pens being disturbed.

“Too many words,” I repeated.  “That’s all.  You’re suicide note.  It’s too wordy.”

“Oh,” he said.  “I’m…sorry?”

“Don’t worry about it, no problem, really.” I shuffled through the pages loudly for his benefit, “I’ve made some revisions.” 


A long pause.

“Thanks?”  He said.

“Don’t mention it.  I’ll run them over right away.”

It’s two years later, and he’s still alive.

This morning, he dropped off the four hundredth copy of his suicide note.  It’s only eleven pages now. 

I must say, it’s getting better.

[Forever after at http://eyeshot.net/kennebeck.html

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