There is nothing at first. There is only silence, but it is deafening and terrifying at the same time. There are things in my mouth—they are crunchy and unforgiving, and I think I’ve felt them before—it isn’t a new sensation at all; but this roaring silence definitely is.

I want to wipe my face, but I can’t; and why would I need to wipe things away anyway? I can’t move—and I don’t know if I even need to, but I feel I want to. I don’t know where my arms are. I try opening my eyes, but they don’t work either; it’s as if they’ve seen it all before and have simply given up. Is everything going to be okay? What did I do? What did you do? What has happened to us? Wait, can you hear something? That distorted muffle? It’s like a scream, an endless stifled scream—just to my left here. I think it’s my left, you really don’t hear it? It sounds so familiar. But how can I tell left from right anymore? If feels like it should be left anyway. There; a muffled screaming, low and continuous. It’s quite annoying. Are you sure you can’t hear it? I think that is my left ear, I can’t feel the other one. I try to move my head to wipe my face and to see if I can see anything. Nothing. Just a blackness and the murmuring low scream within the enduring silence.

I’m not sure if that is pain I feel—I don’t think I will ever be able to feel anything ever again; should I be worried about such things? Where are you? Why won’t you talk to me? Don’t you feel anything, either? Is that why we still work? Is indifference a skill we have acquired and mastered and made our own? I can’t move. Can you? Should I panic? Not that that will help, but I wonder if it would all the same. I’m conscious, though; at least I think I am, but I’m paralyzed as well; paralyzed by all of this. What’s that smell? It reminds me of your father’s tool shed when he lived in Taranto; do you remember? Of course you do. That was where I first kissed you, got to know your shape, your form and curves, and where we smoked our first cigarette when we were so very young, when we were different; long before the kids, before other habits formed, before routine and responsibilities nullified our everything and complacency and familiarity took hold of us and now coldly holds our frigid hearts apart, dangling them over a gorge of contempt—like that is meant to be the norm for people like us. Yep, it was most definitely before all of that.

Strange. Why aren’t you speaking? Where are you? Weren’t you right here? Hang on, what was it you said to me: I don’t know if I can carry on like this anymore? Was that it? No, wait, there was more and then I asked you why you would even say that to me today—today of all days. What kind of an insensitive prick are you? You know what this day has always meant to me, right? Or have you forgotten? Just as we have perhaps forgotten all the other things from our divergent pasts that now masquerade as our present. But where are you? What is that endless screaming for the love of God? You hear that too, right? I desperately need to wipe my face—at least I think I do. Why can’t I feel my arms or my legs? Did you say something? I think I heard you for a moment there. I want to choke—clear my throat, but nothing happens; just things crunching in there—I think I can hear that. There is only the darkness and the screaming sound and a trickling, I think I can feel a trickling. So, clearly, I can feel things then. Can you? Why won’t you say something? You normally always do. Please, speak to me, say anything you want—even that shit you said before. I think I can take it. There it is again, that smell; like tiny metal shavings and grease and exhaled smoke so wonderfully entwined within the memories of hope that we once had. So, is that it, are we still in that shed? Are we forever frozen there like statues of past glories and expectations lost, are we? Are we still there, dreaming of all of this? Where did you put that Polaroid of us standing outside it? You know, the one your brother took all those years ago. I haven’t seen it for a while and I think I’d like to see it again before it’s too late. Is it too late? Is that you that is tickling my face, my cheek, my neck, my back? Is it? Am I just dreaming here? Am I really all alone? Or can you feel that too? If it’s not you, then who is it? And why won’t you say something then? What has happened to us, my love? Have we simply been dreaming of getting bored? Is it all just a shared dream of our stagnancy and we are still in that beautiful shed? Perhaps we really are still trapped within your brother’s Polaroid—frozen and held captive within feelings that no longer mean anything to anyone above and beyond the fake nostalgia that such an image evokes for people such as us. Maybe that’s why we can’t find it, because we are it, we have become it. Is that really all that is left of us? Seriously? Is that all that is left? Just a lost forgotten picture of how things used to be encased within the greasy and slippery metallic stench of reminiscences? Really?

Where are my arms? Can you stop the tickling now, please? I no longer enjoy it; it becomes tiresome. You annoy me. Why won’t you talk to me, though? You always normally do. What is so different today? Today, this day of all days. Why don’t you tell me how much you can’t take it anymore? Look, even on this day—even that would be better than this endless screaming, this relentless and total darkness. You honestly can’t hear it? Or feel it at all? So, it’s just me again and my ever so fluffy madness once more, is it? Look, just tell me that you don’t want to carry on—I won’t get mad this time, I promise. Honestly, I won’t; not this time; there’s no room for violence left here today, not anymore, not after all of this.

Is this really what we have become? A relentless empty indifference? Just nothing? I always thought there was more to us than that, more to all of this than that; more than just this delicate tickling and the subtle trickling of things.