dialogue, short story

Side Effects

“I honestly don’t know where I’m at. It feels like I’m on this path and I’m surrounded by this dark, thick and heavy fog. And the things I did recently are just a bright spot behind me, like, I can see the path through which I came, let’s say for a mile maybe less. There’s a ray of sunshine there, and then it goes away. Everything fades, and I can’t see where I’m going. Everywhere I look, everywhere I turn it’s just fog. And of course, since I’m an idiot, I walk with my mouth open. So sometimes I inhale some of that fog, and I cough and I get sick. I don’t know what else to say, it’s just that it gets tiresome to walk this way, never really know where you’re going.”
“Isn’t that the case for everybody?”
“I don’t know. I guess, yes, maybe. It feels different to me. I see all of these people that I know; they go straight forward. They seem to have only one line of direction, one aim. And they make it. Meanwhile I’m just fucking taking turns left and rights. Sorry, my bad.”
“That’s okay.”
“And it’s the same things with people I don’t know really. I watch them. I mean, I don’t watch them. I’m not a perv or anything. But, I see them. Yes, ‘see’ is perhaps a better fit here – ah, semantics. I see them, they wait for a bus, they hop on a bus, they go to work, work, and they get home. It’s like everyone knows their place but me. I mean, even you. You get up everyday and you know what you have to do. I get up and the only see that I’m sure of is that I have to take a … use the restroom.”
“It might feel that way to you. But everyone asks themselves the same questions. You’re not the only one with doubts.”
“Does this mean you have doubts too ? You look pretty solid to me. Always sure of yourself and whatnot. I guess it might be a professional hazard or something, huh ?”
“Probably. You said that you don’t know where you are going. Is that true ?”
“Oh I never lie, except when I do. But seriously, yes I mean it. It’s like I’m all torn up between things. I want to do this thing but when I’m in the process of doing it I just think to myself ‘what the hell am I doing here ? This is not where I should be, I need to get the fuck off of here’. Again, my apologies. And on the other hand, I think about these other stuff that I could try all the time. All the time. But I just don’t.”
“Why is that ?”
“I don’t know. I’m scared maybe ? It’s just that today, you need money for eeeev’rything. What if I try and I fail ? Am I gonna live in the streets and starve ? Am I gonna be a burden for my family or whomever ? No just no.”
“These other ‘stuff’ you mentionned, why wouldn’t they pay off?”
“Art does not always pay off. It rarely does in fact.”
“Oh so we’re talking about art.”
“I don’t know. I guess. Maybe.”
“What do you do?”
“I paint. I mean I try.”
“You should not be so reductive about whatever you’re doing. You paint. You don’t try.”
“Don’t be sorry. You just need to be more positive about yourself, and it starts with little things like that. Don’t say negative things about you, other people will do it for you.”
“Sounds fair enough. My father used to say sh-things like that.”
“What would you father tell you to do then?”
“I don’t know. Grab a drink, and think about it ?”
“Right. Well, you can do that. But what happens after that ? Don’t you think you at least ought to give it a shot ? Painting I mean. Don’t you think you can try? I’m sorry, I’m not a great painting afficionado myself, but I do know that most artists have something in common : they were all afraid to starve for their art. And some of them did. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will either. You will just never know until you try it. Does that make sense ?”
“Yeah. I guess. Whatever.”


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