There Is A Cut On Your Hand That Won’t Heal

There is a cut on your hand that won’t heal. There is someone in your bed who will not stay. There is a nine-to-five that won’t satisfy.

You wake up and that person next to you is still snoring. Your head throbs from last night and it is now a weekday and all you can think is fuck. You have to drag your ass out from the warm bed and you look at the person next to you twice because that person does not look the same in the early morning light that bleeds in from the soiled white curtains that came with this rental.

You think your life is shit. You really do. It has not gone as you thought it would many years ago when you envisioned a different life. This one is fractured. This one is incoherent. This one is undesired. You are embraced more by loneliness than a constant lover. You look at your hand, with the cut on the thumb, that you keep scratching and think, Why won’t this heal?

The person next to you rolls away, still protected by the innocence of sleep, and you know, you absolutely know that you have to get out of bed. You look at the clock that keeps ticking like the counter to a bomb and every minute you lie here, another minute you will be late, and your supervisor at the office tower will watch you come in and look at his watch and shake his head and write something down without saying a word to you, and you look back at the clock and another minute has passed, and you know it is another minute that you hate.

You have been warned in the past, but even though you have been warned, you stay here in this bed with this stranger, knowing that time keeps moving on and that you are not moving with it.

People say that your life is measured out in bolder actions than these — what you do at work, how you spend your free time, the decisions you make regarding life’s calamitous events. But no. This is what you wrestle with — life and all its meanings and what does it mean to you and what does your life mean to you. Is it this?

And that terror hits you, so early in the morning while your head half rests on a lumpy pillow in a brown pillowcase, a pale sheet and torn duvet thrown over most of you, a leg sticking out. This is the hard time when so early in the morning, your life means nothing, a waste and a shame, and you yourself are embarrassed by it. It is a sham and a misfortune that you try not to think about most of the time, but it is hard not to, it is very hard, and the clock, that fucking clock that keeps ticking, keeps telling you how badly you are fucking up this morning.

Then you realize how much you hate your life sometimes because it was not supposed to be this, this now, this moment, this thing that you call your history, and if the future is going to be like the past, how are you going to be able to get out of bed tomorrow and the day after and the day after-after and so on.

You don’t know if you can go on any longer like this.

You look at your hand which still hasn’t healed and at the person next to you who is still there, and the clock which is telling you that the nine-to-five is closer, and you force yourself out of bed because you know, ultimately, that is your only option as it was yesterday and the day before yesterday and you pray, god damn it you pray, tomorrow as well.

About Ron Burch

Ron Burch has published stories in the Mississippi Review, The Saint Ann’s Review, Eleven Eleven, Pank and others. He's been nominated for a Pushcart. His first novel, Bliss Inc., was published by BlazeVOX Books; Aqueous Books is publishing his upcoming flash-fiction collection, Menagerie.

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