First Kiss

If there was one thing I hated, it was darkness. Every child can understand; you lay in bed late at night with a little light peeking under your door, the covers huddled up to your face like a suit of armor. Lurking in the shadows is the biggest monster you could ever imagine. At least, this is what every child thinks that they know. The reality is that the monster is all around them: it’s the darkness.

When you’re a kid, you try to fight the darkness off. Your parents set up your night lights, you open the windows. The sound of crickets fills the air. You call for mom or dad to come check for monsters under the bed. When it’s time to sleep though, the darkness never truly goes away. It’s always there, it’s just that sometimes it’s a little further off; it gets thinner, stretched across your room like you’re looking through a dark balloon.

When you’re an adult, they tell you that you can’t call for mom or dad anymore. There are no miracles nor superheroes. You’ve got only yourself to rely on. You buy your night lights, you open your own windows, you check for monsters. Well I was sick and tired of it, because the darkness never goes away. There was no one to tell me it’d be alright. I heard no crickets. I got no goodnight kisses. I always wanted kisses, that’s what bothered me the most.

It was my desire for kisses that led me to where I am now. There was something about my mother’s kisses at night that made me feel safe and warm. The uncertainty in the night was still there, but I always felt a little better after she kissed my forehead. I just wanted a kiss. I wanted it so, so badly, you wouldn’t believe me.

So you can imagine my frustration when I walk up to the local hookers in dark alleys and not even they pay me any mind. I hate sleeping alone, and yet I do it every night. Every fucking night, it’s the same cuddling next to a lumpy pillow in that cold studio apartment: staring at those dumb plastic lilies on the window sill. No amount of money would make those hookers sleep with me; I’m too ugly, I guess; too weird and awkward; too fat. I fucking hate myself.

Everywhere I go I see morons and whores on the street. They give me strange looks. There are so many morons, debase and vile, that come out at night. From my little window I can see all of them skipping down dark streets and dancing in dark clubs. That’s why I don’t go out anymore: only monsters go out at night. The street lamps and crazy rainbow dancefloors can push it all away but I can still see it. I know the monster is there, lingering in some dark alley or up on the ceiling where you’d least expect him. That’s how darkness is.

In the daylight, the monster shrinks back into the buildings. He scurries into abandoned houses, down into the cellars, and into my apartment. I never turn the lights on. All I want to do is sleep this life away like it was never given to me. I want to live in my dreams. I have dreams of being in bed in somebody else’s embrace. Then I wake up every morning, and I have to go to work.

A day job is perhaps the most annoying universal experience in the world. This is especially true when you have no one to go home to. That brings us back to kisses. I finally got one, and at this point, I hope you’re happy for me. If there’s anybody on this hopeless spinning ball of animal shit that deserves a goodnight kiss, it’s gotta be me.

I have wanted to kill myself for a very long time. I feel like an oven, just cooking from the inside out. I’m so goddamn lonely I feel like my organs are melting. In my twenty-four years I have found you can focus on two things in this world: the fear, or the loneliness. They’re the only constants in your life. I was a shut-in who focused on the fear, because the loneliness will cook you from the inside out. One day, I changed my mind, and I thought I could do something about my loneliness.

So last week, I was driving home from work at a pretty late hour. It was dark out and it was raining. I was stuck on Broad Street in that stupid Philadelphia traffic. I started thinking about myself. I decided that I was gonna kill myself that night. The street was half-lit by street lamps and there were so many people: the businessmen, the homeless, the druggies, the families, the college kids. I hated all of them.

I wanted to die, but before I went out, I figured I’d give the hookers one last try. I got out to Germantown as quick as I could.

“Hey you!” I said, “Come here!” I startled her when I spoke. My voice was groggy and my speech was slurred. I’m such a fucking disgrace. She started to walk towards me.

“Are you looking for a-“ she paused “Oh! Sorry!” she said as she saw me, before turning around.

“I’ll pay you!” I shouted. My voice echoed down a narrow alley full of trash bags.

“No thanks!” she said with her back to me, she sat under a little overhang on the roof to protect her done-up hair from the rain.

I fumbled out of the car and opened my umbrella. The rain was coming down hard. I walked down the alley to where she sat, and I called her a whore, and she looked upset. I noticed that she couldn’t have been more than nineteen.

“Mister I’m not taking anybody tonight. I’m sorry.” I knew that was a lie. I knew she was lying to me. I knew it deep in my gut. So I hit her in the face as hard as I could and she fell in the mud.

I stepped on her hand so she couldn’t get up. I broke my umbrella when I pressed the handle up against her throat. I pressed it so hard against her that I heard something crack. When I let go she was gasping for breath and she wouldn’t get up. I kicked her in the side a couple of times until she stopped breathing altogether. It was then that I decided I wanted a kiss. Not only did I want a kiss, I wanted love. I wanted to feel someone beside me when I slept. But I was angry, and there was no way I could drag an entire body into my apartment without getting caught.

You can call me sick all you want but it wasn’t my fault. I was out so late because I was at the office. It’s not like I have anyone to come home to anyway. I was out late enough that the darkness got to me. I was a part of the monster; he had me in his grasp.

I had a folding knife with me. I carry it everywhere I go. It’s very sharp because I never use it. That night was the first time that blade had felt the metallic taste of blood since I bought the thing. I pushed it into her neck and in a sawing motion I cut and cut more of the flesh away until it was just bone. My hands and shirt and tie were soaked in red. I have never felt more elated than I did that night when I finally got her head off. I didn’t wanna die anymore. I picked her up by her hair, wrapped it in her shirt, and threw it in my trunk.

Now I get a kiss every night before bed.

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