I was growing my hair out. On my face and on my head. It made everything itchy. I knew I couldn't stay this disheveled because I needed to work, needed a job, needed to finish my resume, but, in the mean time, I was growing my hair out. I'll clean up when I get the job, I thought, if I get the job.
Halfway through the resume I realized I didn't know what I was doing. I drove out to my mom's house, though, technically, a trailer, where she was sitting out back rolling a joint. I sat next to her on plastic lawn furniture and we passed it back and forth while I asked her questions. "What exactly do I need to put down?" I said. "What exactly are they looking for?"
"You're asking the wrong person," she said. "Ask your father."
I thought about my father, living in Dallas, driving his Corvette with his new wife, her hitting the ignore button on his I-phone when she saw that I was the one calling. I decided to ask someone else.
But there was no one else, and so I found myself driving through town high as fuck in my small, beat up car that shook like it was laughing whenever I tried to stop too fast. $1,200 to fix it, the mechanic had said. I'll get it fixed when I get the new job, I thought, if I get the new job, but only if they don't drug test. I'll quit smoking pot if I get the new job. Where was I?
I was at my ex-girlfriend's house. Her dad would help me with the resume. He still liked me. I got out of my car and rang the doorbell, saw him trotting in from the living through the front window. "Nate?" He said, when he opened the door. "Mr. O'Hara," I said. "I need help. With a resume." He looked behind him to the living room, where, against the wall, two sliding glass doors opened up to the back deck. Valerie, my ex, was sunning on the patio with her new boyfriend. I could almost hear Mr. O’Hara’s brain turning. "I just need look at one,” I said. “Only for a second." This was the same man who taught me how to set a table; taught me how to tie a tie; taught me how to drive a stick shift. This was all before his daughter. This was before I through a brick through her widow. "All right," he said. "Come in quick, to my office. But don't let my wife see you."
I barely remember the office. I remember being overly aware of my hair growing out. I remember feeling hot and crowded, that Goddamned itchy feeling spreading from my face to all over my body. I remembered that my mom sometimes laced her pot. I remember Valerie's dad asking me if I was OK while he pulled up the Word doc., and I remember sweating and saying, No, no I'm not OK, and then pulling off my shirt and running down the stairs. I remember him chasing after me. I remember Mrs. O'Hara in the kitchen screaming, the sound of something breaking. Glass, I think. I remember taking off my pants, my underwear, being naked in their dining room and feeling that fire all over my body. I remember seeing the pool and running for it, hearing Valerie scream "Jesus Christ!" while her boyfriend pushed himself up from the deck chair and shouted "What the fuck?" at me, right before I dove into the pool. I remember opening my eyes from the deep end and then looking up, looking up at that turbulent blue reflection of the world outside, at everything all around me. And then, underwater, when I decided that I couldn't stand it any longer, I opened my mouth and screamed all of the air out that I could, like an undomesticated, wild animal.