It’s July and you’re stuck in a rut. You don’t know what’s wrong, but you know that it’s Something. The Something hovers over your every day. It creeps into your conversations, it hovers over the increasingly infrequent drinks with your friends, it makes you sit in your room staring at nothing, feeling too rough to read or even listen to music. That’s the only way you can describe it: you feel rough. You think about buying drugs — you know a few people you could buy drugs from — and you pump yourself so full of caffeine and nicotine that the Something that’s making you feel rough in your head makes you feel rough in your body. Then you get asthma attacks and then the shakes from the asthma medication and your heart starts palpitating a lot. You think you’re dying, but of course you’re not. Nothing that interesting ever happens to you. Not like that.
It’s July and you’re stuck in a rut. You don’t know what’s wrong, but you know that it’s Something. There’s Something missing. You know it was there at one point, and now it’s not, and you feel phantom pains there, but you don’t see it. You’re feeling kind of empty. You’re irritable. You don’t like reading words anymore. You don’t like writing them anymore either. But you like looking at them, they comfort you. It takes way too much effort to understand them, but the way the words look, especially in the pages of a book, they comfort you. They don’t mean anything. That’s fine. You like the exclamation marks and the question marks and the small letter m. It curves. You like c. C is a good letter.
It’s July and you’re stuck in a rut. You don’t know what’s wrong, but you know that it’s Something. The Something settles between your ears and you can feel it in the backs of your eyeballs. The Something makes you feel rough. You’re going around daring the world to do something. Steal your purse, run you over, break your heart. Anything. You walk at night. You know you’re not supposed to walk at night because you could get mugged or killed or raped. You know you don’t really want to get mugged or killed or raped, but ever since that last earthquake and that big typhoon you’ve been waiting for the world to end, and you wonder what it would be like to have your own microcosmic apocalypse.
It’s July and you’re stuck in a rut. You don’t know what’s wrong, but you know that it’s Something. You wish you could tell them what’s going on in your head, but you can’t. You don’t have the words. You don’t have the courage. Like a coward you smile and tell everyone that you’re all right, that you don’t feel a thing, and you keep up with the wisecracks and the bullshit so you don’t have to explain to everyone why you’ve suddenly lost your voice. Where it went. How it disappeared. You’re okay. There’s Nothing Wrong. You’re good. I’m good. We’re good. It’s all good. It’s the weather. It’s the heat. You’ve never liked summer. You need more sleep. Twelve hours isn’t enough sleep. Over the weekends you’re asleep. When you’re awake you wish you were asleep. Your throat hurts. The words don’t come out of your mouth.
It’s July and you’re stuck in a rut. You don’t know what’s wrong, but you know that it’s Something. The Something doesn’t really let you read anything but you skim a short story by Thomas Farber about some kid that eats a Drano sandwich in Latin class. He just stuffs it into his mouth and his mouth and throat start burning and he has to go get his stomach pumped. You get the idea that maybe you want to try the same thing. But of course you know you won’t, because where the hell do you find Drano? Besides, that’s not you. You don’t get sad. You don’t lose control like that. You’re not dramatic. You don’t eat Drano sandwiches. You chug Monsters. You smoke a little weed. You drink some beer. You smoke a cigarette. You watch Parks and Recreation when you’re stoned and you stare at books in your hands and smell them and that makes you feel okay for five minutes. Cool. It’s just July. You’re just in a rut. There’s nothing really wrong.