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Wake Up

It's not that I found any of what she was saying to be of the remotest of interests, but I just didn't want to get out of the car. It was unseasonably cold tonight. How many times would I have to say 'I don't know' in order for her to keep talking.

It's like 10 degrees out. A pause in her speaking, shit, come up with something, use the line about the thing. Remembered it just in time. She bought it. Should get a few more minutes in the warmth. I smiled and looked outside. She asked me about my family.

I wonder where the homeless would go on a cold night like tonight. A cardboard box doesn't seem very warm, it's only one ply, I suppose you can always sleep under a few of them. That would double, triple the heat, I'm sure. Bums have it pretty good. They get money from people for nothing. Bums come up with a clever little saying on a sign and then get a coin tossed their way.

Metaphor for life, really. Don't we all just kind of hold up our little cleverly worded sign, hoping to get a buck tossed our way? Sure we do. A diploma is the same as a cleverly worded cardboard sign. The more prestigious the school, the more cleverly worded saying on the sign.

I decided to let her know I just thought up a metaphor for life, if nothing it would get some more time in the car and the heat. I told her, but she didn't find it quite as wonderful as I did, and I think that hurt my feeling.

I've only got one left, ever since my girlfriend left me for some better looking guy and I've been going out with randoms to pass the lonely, sleepless, God-awful nights.

It was only three months and nine days ago, but may as well have been yesterday. Yesterday was a shitty day, so it could have been yesterday. But it wasn't yesterday, it was three months and nine days ago. 10 days tomorrow.

So here I sit, feeling hurt, only one feeling left and it was definitely damaged by her lack of response to my newly discovered cardboard metaphor for life. Forget this chick. The cold didn't look so bad right now. I touched the inside of the window, it was freezing. Better stay put.

I decided to explain to her why my cardboard sign metaphor is actually good, it was really cold outside after all. Maybe I sold it better this time, cause car girl saw the light. She thought it was brilliant, and as she was telling me it was brilliant she slipped into a story about her Dad. Apparently her Dad lost his job last year and ran out on her and her Mom because he was embarrassed of his sudden fall from grace. So, essentially, that bum with the sign was her Dad in her own world. That's what she had going on in her mind, and once she mentioned that to me, her tears started falling.

I can't pretend to know a thing like that, I told her. She wanted me to leave the car now, she was tired, and I made her mad. I thumbed the heater up to the max it's silly plastic face would allow. Cranked it. I was going to miss this heat. It looked colder now outside.

But she wanted me out of the car, so I mustered up the strength, told her I loved her, and pushed the door open. She stopped me and asked me what I just said.

I told her I said 'Bye.'
She said I didn't say that, that I told her I loved her.

I didn't even realize I said it. I thought I just said 'Bye'. Her face looked silly, really, harsh light from outside the car splashed onto her head, making it look larger than normal. Did she have a big head? I couldn't go out with a girl with a big head, and now she thinks I just told her I loved her.

Damn it's cold out. I wish I could jump back in the car, maybe if I told her I loved her again I could squeeze a few extra minutes next to the heater.

She asked me what I was thinking. I told her I was thinking that I was cold. She asked me if that was all? Yes, I said. This seemed to upset her and she told me to never talk to her again.

She pulled the door shut from the inside, cut me off from the heat, and drove away.

I walked home that night in the cold. Along the way I stopped next to a bum that was covered in cardboard and gently kicked him. He awoke with a start, but I calmed him down and asked if he would mind if I grabbed a cardboard slice from him. He said no, so I just took it from him.

I brought the piece of cardboard over to a secluded corner near an alley. It looked inviting enough, near the garbage dump, probably was warm, too. I circled the spot three or four times as I've seen dogs do, and then hunkered down. I pulled the cardboard on top of me and saw that it had some writing on it.

In big, black letters, the bum had written 'Will write on cardboard sign for food.'

I smiled as I pulled the diploma up over me and went to sleep.