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My desk is a disaster. It is a reflection of my inner turmoil, and I welcome the comfort of its chaos. But there is a traitor amidst the madness. There must be. It’s the only explanation for all the bullshit we’ve had to endure.
So a pogrom has begun. One by one I’m evaluating and discarding my favorite objects and items. There’s the highlighter I never use in a tall, brown ceramic cup of uncertain origin. The tiny metal buddah isn’t facing me, and I wonder about its intentions. Then there’s Boba Fett, gun raised, standing next to the Mexican skull-headed figure with a broken arm, a bottle of beer and a jaunty cigarette. All suspect. I need firecrackers for both of them.
Spoons and wrenches, magazines I’ve long finished, business cards from across the spectrum of sales all clutter the space around where my arms rest as I type these words. But even the keyboard is suspicious now. I spurn pens at the first sign of faltering.
There must be a Betrayer. There must be an active force tugging at the most delicate strings of our souls because otherwise the explanation is eternally bleak.
It sucks to feel like bad luck. I hate that other people look at us and go whoa, what the fuck, that is some bad luck coming down on them. To the Secreters & Manifesters, we caused this by our bad thoughts. By the Pagan book it’s a malicious gnome. To the Fundies of Various Religions it is clearly Punishment for our Sins. Others of a more secular variety just cite big ole Bad Luck. And for the Superstitious, we’re Cursed.
I’ve never been much of a part of the latter, but these days that feels the most true, as well as utterly ridiculous.
But when you’ve hit the shit lottery in life, utterly ridiculous is eminently plausible. Otherwise there’s no way we could be here. This new life only a year old is preposterous every day.
I’m open to the possibility of extremely small odds. I am a living example of infinitesimal statistics.
The death of our son caused our lives to spiral into despair. We clawed our way back into some semblance of normalcy, only to be constantly challenged every month when we are not pregnant again. It is like swimming into the surf only to be pounded into the sand with every stroke, every tide.
Last month, the false-positive on the Piece Of Shit digital preggers stick was a step too far on a hike that should have never even started. Car accidents before that. Financial woes. Family illness. Cold nights without heat. The many slices of life’s razor have forced me to be hard and wary. I’m skeptical of everything except for Lu, the love of friends and family, and that shit is going to be more fucked up every damn year.
It is time to purge. We already had the opportunity to discard our possibly-cursed cars, and now we’ve started fresh. One of the new machines is a time-tested Lovevan from our friends. Many a ridiculous night has been transported by said mini-van. It’s a Quest and that fits. We’re on a quest for something better too.
My new auto has an extra speed and 100k less miles, which is totally fantastic. It’s also quicker and tighter with a Celica transmission instead of Corolla. I can feel the difference in torque and response every time I jump onto the Merritt from a dead stop into zipping traffic.
It can’t stop there, though. Next are the tiny talismans on my desk. Smashed and twisted. Then the Ward of Eyes Evil from above our threshold and the angled mezuzah on our doorjamb. Shattering for one. A slow burn for the other. What good are they? Maybe the vortices of their competing protective energies canceled out one another and allowed our son to be taken from us.
Or could it be this apartment itself? This town? I’ve never felt an instance of malevolence from either of them, but maybe my Evil Radar is on the fritz. I look forward to coming back to these walls and floors every time I’m away. In the spring and summer the backyard is an oasis of growing vegetables, warm sun and cool breezes. The kitties chase squirrels or just laze about as I read the paper or fire up the grill. When friends and family are here this place feels like a party, and even alone on a cold autumn afternoon, it feels like home.
It can’t be cursed. It would feel icky and weird, wouldn’t it? Don’t the Cursed Things have an extra squeaky sheen to them? Can’t you feel the slippery deviance of their very atomic structure?
Or perhaps therein lies their insidiousness. The tainted piece of reality is invisible as evil and therefore impossible to eradicate.
It could be a cushion of the used couch we bought last year. Maybe our table is possessed with a very slow, inert demon. Or how about that water heater? I’ve always hated the way it made the laundry room smell.
One by one I’m getting rid of it all even as Lu stands there shouting at me, asking what the hell I’m doing.
“I’m fixing things” I tell her and continue my methodical eradication of everything that could contain the terrible vibration that is destroying our lives.
But then in the end, there’s only us, she and I, side by side, the apartment demolished before us. The cars are fresh and clean so we can live in them, but maybe it goes even deeper. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m the Curse that destroyed our future. I guess I’ll start with my teeth and then go for my fingernails until things start to improve.
I hope I figure out what it is before too long because Lu is starting to look at me a little funny and there is not much left to get rid of. Soon the whole planet will be a candidate for expulsion and I just don’t have time for all of that.