I steal because people have taken things from me since I can remember, and no one will give any of them back.
Like when I was 10 and asked my father to watch as I sung “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and – in a detached bluntness I can only compare to that of a college advisor who suggests for you to stop setting your sights on Harvard or whatever “dream school” you’ve chosen – told me to stick to what I was good at.
All the times they said they were there for me. I could read their messages but where were their faces and hands?
Like when my mother – who told me she loved me so many times I stopped listening – left but was returned to us, not wanting to be returned, and took away everything I knew about her.
And when you, you clever man, found my heart where I had hidden it and carried it away in your hands, blood dripping down your wrists, leaving a blackened pink patch, a phantom feeling of being whole that screamed, How had you not seen this coming?
I steal because I can.
Because I float powerless through the avenues of my days, shuttled along roads and over bridges I don’t understand how are built, always looking at a screen that tells me what to think, down or straight ahead or sometimes up when I sit too close in the movie theaters.
I don’t know where anything I say or do goes. Into those black holes past the sky? Into the Internet? Into an ear and out of a head?
I steal because I think too little in this world is given.
When I tell the story, I am Robin Hood. Instead of taking gold from a rich man’s pocket, I take lip balm and underwear from all those who have forgotten the lesser part of the world and I give all the spoils to myself.
I deserve them. I deserve all of these things.
Oh, and it’s free. Free. That may be the beating heart of my sticky palms. Nothing, I promise you, feels as good as something that is free. Stealing is like spitting in the faces of everyone who told me and tells themselves that money can buy everything.
It is like leaving a tiny bruise.
If you can’t relate to this, I’m sorry for you, really. You have played by the rules while everyone else was cheating. You have never had the pleasure of saying fuck you to everyone who said you couldn’t.
I don’t really know when everything fell to shit. It happens gradually, little silent destructions along the way, you’re facing the sun so you can’t see them, you’re distracted by the trees and smiles. But they’re happening. Little explosions, puffs of smoke and falling walls along the way. Fires and earthquakes, flashes and shudders. One morning you’re in Hawaii planting toy choy and picking lilikois and by 5 o’clock your mom’s downed 60 sleeping pills and a bottle of brandy – thousands of miles away, gone into a coma for 20 hours, ending in ICU, then psych hospital for evaluation. The next day you’re at the store buying facial cleansing cloths and a bag of peanut M&Ms, thousands of miles away, why the fuck why. Two weeks later she will come home and cut her wrists in the shower. Her wrists, then hands, then inner creases of her elbows, searching for the veins and destroying them, like enemies.
One day you think you’ve made the best decision of your life, the next you can’t remember the last time you were happy. All of a sudden everything seems to have had its last time. The last time you truly laughed. The last time you truly loved somebody. The last time you felt in control. The last time you slept all the way through. The last time you drank too much. The last time you didn’t drink too much. And it feels like it’s now a long time coming for the next time. You start thinking of everything in the past tense. You take away your future because, firstly, you have no fucking idea what’s going on and, secondly, you just assume whatever will happen is going to be fucking awful.
That’s what I’m doing right now, in Hawaii. That shit I mentioned earlier is real. Shit sucks. These days I feel two feelings, sadness and hopelessness, and I feel a thousand shades of each one. Each day a different degree. Some days are better, lighter degrees. Some days I reach new depths to the feelings. Go places I’ve never been before. I almost go where she did. But now I never can. In a way that makes me kind of mad, she took that away from me. She did what I have only dreamed of. And now everything feels like a movie. Now nothing will be the same, which may not be bad but it’s fucking scary. Now I know what it will be like afterwards and that’s all I ever really dreamed of. What it would be like after I tried to kill myself, or after I did kill myself. That’s the problem with the dream. You’ve got to be around afterwards to see it. You’ve got to stay alive.