The Person Sitting Next to You Watch

mmmonowar
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I’m sitting in the park. There’s someone sitting next to me. There is always someone sitting next to me. Old men in trainers, a Single mother with a baby carrier, hunky guy with his German Shepherd, some aged lady barely able to talk.

I like to talk a lot.

But the person sitting next to me is not hearing this.

Some days are pretty rough. I mean — really rough. I come and sit in the park to play the piano. Somedays I’m cold and somedays my stomach groans louder than my piano sounds.

But you see, I really like playing the piano. Even though I don’t know how to play it, never had classes or anything. But the notes — ah! I love playing with them notes, the chords and the tunes — I just love it!

Did I tell you that I have a secret power too? Well, I know you won’t believe but I can be anyone you might know. I mean I really can.

For example, I was President Obama once. And before that, I was Lessie Raffaele. You don’t know Lessie I suppose? Well, not many people either. Her ma got cancer, and she gotta quit school to make time for begging. But that’s part-time though. I should not say this, but she’s full-time something else now. And I did not enjoy being her, for the record.

Well today, I am Meghan. No. Not Meghan Markle. Just Meghan. Meghan is nice. His mom thought he’d be a girl. But he got stuck between his mom’s wish and God’s wish. He’s pretty cool. He knows how to code and plays really cool guitar. I’d say if Meghan got the chance, he’d beat Tay Swift to shame. But you know, Meghan never got the chance. I’m supposed to end Meghan’s pain today. We’re prepping for his departure.

We tie the rope, we make the noose, check the strength. Hah. “So tiring!” Meghan speaks to me.

“Yeah.”

“But it feels good. No?”

“Yeah. And you know what part of it feels good?”

“What?”

“The fact that the world won’t accept me for who I am. And I can be someplace where I won’t be constantly reminded that I’m not like everyone else.”

“What do you think will happen once you’re gone?”
“Oh, the usual stuff. They’ll fake some tears and say he was a good person. That I didn’t have to do it. You know. Everyone will gather to pretend they’ve lost someone they don’t even care about. Hypocrisy at its best. Haha”

“Are you afraid?”

“Are you kidding? Course I am. I’m scared to ****.”

“And you still want to do it?”

“I’m tired. I’m tired of seeing this thing over and over again. This society has no place for me. It denies that I exist.” Meghan smiles. He does look tired.

“But I don’t exist either,” I say.

“But you’re kind. Besides, you can be anyone you want. Weren’t you that actress? What was her name? Marlen?”

“Marilyn”

“Marilyn. Yeah. What was it like?”

“It was pretty fun. Everyone wanted me. What I had. But I was sure no one really meant it.”

“Yeah, sucks doesn’t it?”
“Yeah.”

“Is there anyone you liked being?”

“Yeah! President Obama.”

“What was it like?”

“Oh. I went to places hehe.”

“Haha, I’m sure you did.”

“And anyone you didn’t like being?”

“I think I didn’t like being Lessie.”

“Who’s Lessie?”

“Her Ma’s got cancer. Had actually. She’s cured now.”

“Dead you mean. How did the poor lady die?”

“I came home after begging all day. I was tired, hungry and sore. Ma couldn’t move cause she’s bedridden. So I went out to find me some food. But you know, people won’t give you food just like that. So I go to Joe’s. Joe’s got a wife. He’s got plenty of cash too. It’s just that Joe’s not what you’d call a good guy.

After coming home, Ma asks me what happened to my skirt. I say nothing. She calls me a whore. And I get mad and I shout at her. Tell her that it’s she who had brought me to this hell. She died that night though.”

“Do you feel guilty?”

“Do you think anyone will miss you?”

“I don’t think so. No one hardly remembers anyone. Unless you’re really famous. I really wanted some friends. It’s hard living like this.”

“Don’t worry, if you die, you’ll become me. We’ll be hanging out with people, so you know.”

“So what are you really?”

“Me? I’m a fictional device. I’m trying to grab everyone by the collar.”

“Hahaha. Why would the author do that?”

“Shouldn’t you be doing your thing?”

“Oh! Right! Thanks.”

Meghan gets up. And just like that, he hangs himself.

His face is disfigured now, it’s silently screaming for air.

That’s the thing about air. It has many forms — it can be food, a nice smile, or a friend to hug you in terrible moments….

But the person sitting next to me doesn’t know this.
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