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I've never felt alone before.
I've been alone for some time now, but I never felt alone before. Loneliness is the feeling of some sort of emptiness, like the world has taken something from you, something that you never had in the first place. Take for example, Janice. She was my wife, and she's been dead for quite some time now, three months, to be exact. But unlike the past weeks when I had moved on with my life and forgot for a change, today I remembered what it was like to talk to her. I remembered what it was like to wake up and see another fellow human being beside me.
I'm currently on some dusty road in the middle of a barren wasteland, about five miles away from home. The street is jagged and the asphalt is cracked. It's no wonder why I don't see many people driving by.
But even though the situation is becoming bleak, I'm still sitting here, waiting for someone to come help me. That's the life of a hitchhiker for you. It's the poor, meaningless life of a hitchhiker.
What I had accomplished the past week:
The First Human
Ever since I lost Janice, I would have to hitch a ride home from my usual spot. Usually I would just wait from noon to civil twilight for a car to pass by, and then I'll just fumble my way home. However, I’d either see no cars in sight, or I would be rejected, so I'd have to walk home anyways. That specific day in January was different. A man in a blue Toyota passed by, wearing a black business suit, holding the steering wheel in one hand and the gearstick in another. He was another average Joe, but his actions were unforgettable.
I did the signal I would always did to get the driver's attention, a very energetic wave followed by a huge shout for help.
"Sir! Can you please lend me a hand here? I'm in need of a ride home!"
The man in the driver's seat actually pushed down the brakes, and stopped. It was a huge surprise to me, especially because no one has treated me like this. The man started signaling me to come over, so I ran over to his blue Toyota to listen to what he was saying.
He rolled down his window.
“Where do you need to go?” he asked me.
Because of the situation I had been in for the past few months, I was just doing it for the sake of doing it. Luckily, I did actually have somewhere to go.
“56 Lorway Avenue. It’s a busted-up part of town, so I don’t expect you to know it,” I explained.
This man actually knew where it was, and nodded. He let me hop into the passenger seat and go along for the ride. I also carried some heavy luggage with me; there was a huge box that I had to squeeze inside the relatively medium sized trunk.
The engine purred as the driver shifted gears to driving, while I sat quietly crossing my fingers. I was finally getting somewhere.
The man remarked: “You’re lucky I’m feeling extra nice today. I wouldn’t usually do this for a torn up man like you.”
To me, that sentence was something that came out of a memory to me. This man suddenly reminded me of Janice, and how she used to talk to me. It brought me back some memories…
Come to think of it, I had completely forgotten about her until then. If this hadn’t happened, I would still be pretending like she didn’t even exist.
Then again, maybe everything would have been better if I was still pretending. Something inside me feels empty, but I can’t really explain that feeling…
I don’t know why, I just felt like that was what I was feeling. I’ll remember why later.
During the duration of time the man drove me back to my place; I sat quietly, being sure not to disrupt him. However, the man was in the mood to get to know about me. He just started asking questions about my everyday life and such.
“What’s your name?” he would ask.
“Do you have a job?” he would question.
And I would reply “Isaac” and “No”. It was simple questions like these that made the man a little more relieved, like he could trust me more.
I asked similar questions, and I got answers. Still, the man was very hesitant as he spoke. He’s still a little unnerved by me.
The man’s name is Thomas.
Thomas was then moving into my neighborhood, a worn road with broken houses built from wood from the Dark Ages. I warned Thomas to slow down in this area, so his car tires wouldn’t catch in a large crack in the asphalt.
“Whatever place this is, it’s a dump,” Thomas stated.
“This dump is my home,” I grunted. A part of me sunk inside when I heard those words tumble out of his mouth. This place was where I grew up, where Janice and I spent our days together, where I sat alone crying.
I stepped out of the vehicle, and asked Thomas to help me get my bags out of the trunk. A large, long box and my bag of items were brought out onto the street, where I had to say goodbye to my good friend Thomas.
But I decided to test my luck and ask him a favor, to pick me up tomorrow on that same road. I know I shouldn’t ask too much from him, but that was my thought at the time. I didn’t get a response.
At the time, I was so desperate that I thought he meant yes.
I had an addiction with ecstasy, primarily because of its side effect: Memory loss. Ever since my wife, Janice had died I've been going to this building selling this stuff. I can't control it, and I know the side effects. But all I need is to feel calm and relaxed, and numb my brain from this tension. If I could forget that I was a broke, unsuccessful middle age man who can't do shit, I would. This drug is the closest thing to forgetting.
It works a little too well. I'm starting to forget human emotions and memories of my family. I don't even know what my wife died from.
Nonetheless, every morning I wake up, walk the six mile or so distance, and get some molly. I don't even know why I'm trying. I waste the entirety of my day doing this.
I walked along the side of the broken dusty road I met Thomas on, waiting to see if he would come back to pick me up. For half the day, I whittle down my patience waiting for that bright blue Toyota to appear from the distance. And sure enough, after a while, I see him, driving by once again. I signal him just like last time, hoping that he'll still let me in.
And just like last time, I did get to hitch a ride.
On the drive, I started a conversation. It was the first time in an eternity that I had a conversation with someone. I was cut off from human interaction ever since Janice left me, so I wasn't really sure how this would go...
"Thomas, do you have any kids at home?" I asked. I was kinda worried that the question was inappropriate, but he replied back without hesitation.
"I do, a son and a daughter," he replied, "do you live with anyone?"
"No. My wife died a few months back. I think her death was on the news, a missing body or something."
"Really? I feel so sorry for you. I can't really imagine living such a lonely life."
And everything got silent after that until we got to my place, where I left and said a quick goodbye.
Stepping into the door to my house, I realize what a dump this place actually was. The room inside is dark, empty, cold.
I imagined Janice standing there, waiting for me.
On the third day, when Thomas picked me up, he had given me a newspaper. Apparently, there was an article on Janice's death. Her body was missing, but traces of her blood had been found on my street. The police had called this case "insolvable" due to the inability to find the corpse. However, they say that she was murdered.
And that's when it all came clear to me.
I wish I could forget what happened on the fourth day.
In the morning, I used up all my money buying drugs to forget the yesterday’s memories. There was no way I could have murdered Janice, the only person I truly loved.
But the thought of it torn me from the inside, and I couldn't handle it. I relied on the memory loss to kill the memory. It didn't work.
On a depressing walk to the side of the street I swept daily, I waited for Thomas's blue Toyota to arrive, so I can at least talk my sadness away. He never showed up.
I waited, patiently, until civil twilight shunned darkness onto my world. I should have known he wouldn't be arriving. I walked away from my spot without waiting any longer.
Thomas definitely reminded me of Janice. He was helpful, but didn't really enjoy my company.
I remember when I and Janice first met. She allowed me to hitch a ride, and she was willing a few times, until she got sick and tired of me. But we got together again.
I don’t think Janice loved me; at least that’s my memory.
Was she even my wife?
And the feeling of guilt struck me once again, as if I really did hurt poor Janice. Then again, with my inconsistent past, I probably did.
I left my waiting spot early that day. I had given up on many things, and I'm starting to give up on hitching rides. Why should anyone waste their time on me?
It took an interminable amount of time walking home, but I made it to my house at around 4 to 5 o' clock, just before sunrise. I felt sluggish moving towards my busted-up wooden shack, as if gravity was my enemy. The large case held in one hand intensified in weight at those last few steps.
Here I was, in my empty living space. I dropped my bags, and stood there for a while. Now I just needed to calm down...
What was in that large case that I was carrying?
I rushed to unlock the latches to the wooden box, hoping it was money or something. But it was not.
It was Janice's body, decomposing and heavily mutilated.
I had no money, so it was no use to go to the building I went every day.
While I waited, I decided to fill the room's empty atmosphere by having a fake conversation with Janice's corpse, but dead humans aren't human.
They're just husks of what used to be human.
But I still talked to the corpse all day and night long, hoping the dead can say one last word...
I wish life were simpler, and the world would be much easier to master. The dusty roads are void of all life except me, a man who waits for someone to enter. I hope I can talk to Janice again. I hope I won't have to live much longer. Maybe I can just keep someone for the rest of my life, kidnap or murder, I don't care. As long as there is someone out there I can connect with.
I saw one lady, driving in a gray minivan.
She had brown hair and a wider smile, unlike Janice's blond hair and scowl.
But she seems like Janice to me.
This pasta has received a rating of 6/10 or higher and has moved on to the finals of the 2015 freestyle pasta challenge.