The fan was spinning on the medium setting. Not quite fast enough for the optical illusion of the blades spinning backwards to occur, but still fast enough enough to make it impossible to count how many blades were attached to the fulcrum. I laid there. On the floor. Staring up at the fan. Wondering exactly what I should do next. I was lost. Scared. Alone for the first time in my life. All I wanted was to run away. Leave everything behind me. Forget my past. Forget my life. Forget who I was. Start over in a new place. With a new name. With a new story. One I could be proud of. Not the person I had become. Not this imposter living a life nobody would want to emmulate. Not…who I had become. Not…me. Not…John.
My phone was buzzing in my pocket. It had been for the last few hours. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Beat. Buzz buzz. I knew I had at least three voicemails due to the amount of times it had gone off, and how may times it felt like there had been the telltale back-to-back buzzes. It was either voicemails, or just a succession of emails coming in quickly. I didn’t care. I didn’t want to answer them. I was tired of what they were calling about. I didn’t want to do that anymore. I didn’t want to do any of it anymore. I wanted to be free. As if freedom truly existed. No matter where I ran to, if I were to run, I would never be free of my memories of the things I had done…for money.
I closed my eyes. The fan blades continued to spin on the inside of my eyelids. Spin. Spin. Spin. Spin. I tried to count them. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Sev…wait. One. Two. Three. Four. Fi….Damn it. Once again. One. Two. Three. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Damn it. Buzz buzz. Voicemail number four. This is getting outrageous. Why don’t they realize I am not going to answer right now? Or ever, maybe. I don’t really know. I don’t know much of anything. I know this concrete floor is hard. Cold. Uncomfortable. This is the worst metaphor for life I could have possibly conceived. I have always had such a flair for the dramatic. That’s how I have ended up here on this floor. Waiting for an answer. I have had enough experience to realize the answers aren’t coming. Not before the person who is calling me will arrive at my house looking for me. To beat me. Rob me. Kill me. Understandably. I deserve it, I just don’t want it. I guess that’s why I am here though.
I should have left years ago. Before this happened. Before I slipped into this life. Before. Just before. I remember my dreams. They seem so long ago now. They used to play out in my mind like shows on the Travel Channel. That was nothing like my real life. My life was different. It played out like a River Phoenix movie. Or Gus Van Sant. Not Good Will Hunting though. It was never like Good Will Hunting. There were days I wished I was Will Hunting. Who cares if he was a fictional character? Not me. I longed to be him. If I was fictional, this would all be so much less real. Dangerous. Life threatening. Terrifying.
I wanted to drive off into the sunset. Leaving everything behind. Never looking back. There would be no sequel to this story either. I wish I could write the ending though. Unfortunately, I never became the writer I dreamed of being when I was young.
I opened my eyes. The fan was still spinning. The damned fan. Spinning. Spinning. Always spinning. I wanted it to break and fall. Continue spinning. Dropping and landing on me. I would have nothing to worry about then. There would be no need for worry. No need for fear. No need for stress. Just, oh, crap, what’s the word? My mind was starting to go. This was the sort of thing that terrified me. Was this a side effect of my lifestyle? Was some terrible disease ransacking its way through my body. Slowly destroying cell upon cell. Vein upon vein. Heartbeat upon heartbeat. Waiting for the last one so it could begin to take my body finally. All of these thoughts because I forgot a word. One stupid word. I of course have a flair for the melodramatic. How else would I have any sort of story in my own head? Anything can be exciting when you want to blow it out of proportion. Until it’s no longer out of proportion. Suddenly reality. More terrifying than anything anyone has ever experienced before. There I go again.
Don’t think about it. Count the blades. Just try and count the blades. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Sev…there can’t be seven. That is way too many. Or just too many. I’m not really sure right now. I have been staring at the fan for so long it had morphed into a single blade. Spinning. Looking like a wheel on an old broken down VW bus. Wanting to travel. Not moving.
There have only been a few things in my life I have ever been good at. My “job.” Relationships. Breathing. Running away. I have always been good at running away. That was how I got here. In this house. On this floor. Watching this fan. Feeling the constant buzz of my phone in my pocket. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Beat. Buzz buzz. Fifth voicemail. Running. It was great exercise. Terrible philosophy on life though. I knew I was going to have to do it. Just one last time. Far away. Far, far away. Away from all of this. This house. This floor. This fan. This fucking phone. Its incessant buzzing.
I wanted to throw it away. Far away. Farther than humanly possible to throw something. Throw it into the back of a garbage truck. Watch it drive away. Disappear. Then I do the same. If only I could get off the floor. I was broken. Too broken to be human. Not now. Not anymore. Never again. I was slowly dying. Where did I want to die? Not here. If I didn’t move soon, this is where that would happen.
Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Beat….
I waited for the double buzz, but it never came. No more voicemails. He was upset. Unforgivably upset. Understandably. I had something of his. He wanted it. I didn’t want to give it to him. I wanted to run away with it in my pocket. He probably didn’t want to let me do that. I don’t blame him. I wouldn’t let me do that either. If I were him.
If I were him, I would kill me.
The blades of the fan continued to spin. Spinning. Spinning. Spinning. One. Two. Three. Four. Fi…wait. Damn it. Did I already count that one? How many damn blades are there on this fan? Somewhere there was a sun-soaked beach. A sun-kissed girl. A bar in need of a bartender. A life I wanted to live. Not here though. Here there was less. Just less. When there was sun, it was too hot. When there was no sun, it was too rainy. When there was hope, it was destroyed. When there wes no hope, the universe smiled down upon me. Sigh. I’m too melodramatic for my own good. Theatrical. Drama-queen. I wasn’t even a queen. In any sense of the word. Many would argue that. I knew it to be true.
I broke my gaze with the fan and sat up. Quickly I looked around the room. Everything I would possibly need was sitting almost within arms reach of me at that moment. I grabbed a suitcase. I grabbed a basket of clean laundry I had never been motivated enough to put away. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Nothing. I grabbed my sunglasses. I grabbed my wallet. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Nothing. I grabbed my headphones. I grabbed my gun. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Nothing. I grabbed everything I could find I may possibly need to come with me and threw it into the suitcase. Now was the time to run. If there ever had been a time. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Nothing.
Goodbye house. Goodbye job. Goodbye city. Goodbye lifestyle. Goodbye hustling to make a dollar. Goodbye John. I no longer had to be burdened by your decisions. Tomorrow I would be someone new. Someone better. Someone braver. Someone smarter. Someone…else.
I grabbed my suitcase. Make sure I have my passport and leave the room. The room whose only inhabitant was now that evil fan. I grab everything and walk to the front door. For the first time in longer than I could remember I smiled. I smiled a real smile. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Nothing. A smile filled with hope. Real hope. Hope the universe couldn’t destroy. Hope for tomorrow. Hope one could rely on for a long time to come. Hope worth having. Without even a look goodbye at the place I called home for longer than I ever wanted to I reached for the door handle for the last time.
Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock.