sometimes you stop talking to a person you love on purpose, because you are trying to be responsible to and for yourself and the brain that pilots your self, and it’s this impossible hell of distance and loss and the stupid grief stitched to each that feels so melodramatic and so high school, but you can’t seem to shake or shrink it, probably because you are twenty-three and haven’t quite figured out how to fully fool yourself which seems like the hardest part of growing up so far, so instead you carry the grief like a Starbucks gift card you can’t remember if you’ve spent all of yet, wallet bulging with extra plastic (just in case), and things are truly not getting better—it’s been months and you aren’t better—and it’s embarrassing to talk to your friends about how not better you are, so you peel away from them like a gummed-up Band-Aid you left on too long, all the skin underneath white and bloodless and dead looking, and now you are alone, and you know you were technically alone before in this city where you know no one, but now you are truly alone, without even the company of the digitized internet ghost versions of your old friends, playfully haunting your apartment, and so there’s nothing to do but scroll through Twitter and go to work at your stupid job where you make stupid spreadsheets and try not to think about the stupid UN climate report that just came out that says we’re all gonna fry like eggs on an Arizona sidewalk in like five years or something like that (you’re not sure (you didn’t read it (you just read all the people dooming about it and all the people dooming about people dooming about it, and then saw that picture of Tim Robinson in the hotdog costume, and then saw a picture of a kid from your high school who died, and then saw a picture of a friend from college hiking through the woods, which reminded you that, oh yeah, you were supposed to be worrying about the climate, and your phone is giving you an attention disorder))) and you steal the realization from a tweet that the Fuck Around generation has lived just long enough to fake an apology through their smirk as they leave you to Find Out, and it almost feels like it was on purpose, but you have to try to believe it wasn’t, and unfortunately even your empathy machine was built to run on fossil fuels so all this believing is also choking a koala to death somewhere, and you forget what the gift card metaphor was about from earlier, but you definitely feel guilty for all this fucking useless plastic you carry around, and it’s making it hard to focus on the spreadsheet so you open Spotify, and you’re pretty behind on a lot of your podcasts because you’re emotional and obsessive and can’t stop thinking about the person who introduced you to them, but you’re trying to drip acclimate yourself to joy again, so you listen to the newest Dungeons & Daddies episode and let yourself laugh, but not too loud so no one can hear you through your office door because you don’t want any of your coworkers thinking you’re unprofessional or human or anything other than a spreadsheet making machine with a passable pair of brown dress shoes, and you manage to finish the fucking spreadsheet and you’re actually pretty proud of it and feeling accomplished and thinking maybe you’ll go get ice cream after work because you just got paid and haven’t done that in a long time, but then one of the hosts (Freddie Wong (he’s one of the dudes who made the web series Video Game High School which is crazy because your older brother was super into VGHS when you were in junior high and now he (Freddie, not your brother) is one of the co-hosts on this D&D podcast you love, so you get to pretend like nothing ever ends so much as it changes contexts, like a stranger’s car on the highway you keep passing and being passed by, and you think he (Freddie, not the stranger) has a laugh like a friend who really puts in the work to make you feel funny, which you think would be a very kind observation to make about a person if it weren’t so parasocial and fucked up), he, Freddie, starts listing Patreon subscribers and somehow, of all the names they could’ve chosen to read, they choose to read the one name that is going to decimate you, and it doesn’t seem fair that you were born to live in this time because, yeah, you have penicillin and antibiotics or whatever, but at least the pilgrims weren’t having to worry about Shakespeare name-dropping their ex to thank them for the kind, five-dollar-a-month donation, and you just want to go home, but you know home is just another hollow shell of a word that used to trick you into thinking it meant something, and that everything that looks like escape is just a door to a new room with new doors to agonize over, and it is truly a miracle, a miracle, truly, truly a miracle that anyone lives at all with how fucking embarrassing the whole process is, of being a dying person in a dying world, unable to stop sniffing your endless bouquet of small miseries, your own little losses, your own little life, to focus on all the beautiful things we are about to lose, how we are truly about to lose everything beautiful, everything beautiful we haven’t already lost—and I’m sorry, I am, I’m sorry, but I miss you anyway.
Timmy Sutton (he/him) is a person who writes, analyzes budgets, and misses his friends and family from Springfield, IL. Some of his stuff is in (or forthcoming from) Taco Bell Quarterly, Hooligan Magazine, Rejection Letters, and some other places you can find all of at https://linktr.ee/timmysutton if you really wanna. You can find him on Instagram and twitter @timothy_matthan.
image: MM Kaufman