The rain has cleansed but I still feel dirty. I sit on my balcony smoking a cigarette wondering about how I could cleanse myself. The road looks black and slick after the rain had cleansed it. My cigarette makes a man walking past hold his nose. He pulls his t-shirt up over his mouth and nose. I’m smoking but he’s still the loser. He walked past fifty-eight cars to get here but it’s only my cigarette that he cares about. I went to a bar last night to watch the All Blacks. People were smoking out the back so I went with my pint between my knees and joined them. We had all brought our own little packet of death. One of my friends has recently given up and was chewing two hundred and seventy-five pieces of nicotine gum. I asked them if they wanted a cigarette? They flipped the bird and threw a pint of piss over me.


I feel like a loser when I try to walk. It’s because I must look like a loser when I try to walk. Other people see something else. I don’t know what they see. I see what I am not. I see what I am no longer. I guess other people see what I could be. My gait is crooked and so is my mind. A dirty and fat homeless woman walked up to me the other day and thrust her left hand out at me. Her hair was jet-black and dread locked. She had three distinct rolls of fat protruding out of her t-shirt. Give me five dollars, she shouted at me. I told her to fuck off as I kept pushing my wheelchair up the street past her. I felt bad for telling her to fuck off so started to turn around to apologise to her. That’s when I felt both of her hands on my shoulders as she pushed me out of my wheelchair. I hit the concrete footpath before I realised what had happened. She stood over me with no expression on her face before she turned and started to walk off. I was so angry I wanted to spit on her but I didn’t.


I have only just gotten rid of the dictator. They weren’t an actual dictator but they acted like one. I missed two of their calls one day while I was at the gym. I don’t take my phone with me. When I got home I found two messages of them shouting at me. Every time they came to my house they would criticise and find fault. They would tell me my house was too dirty and that I had no taste in fashion. They would stand and point at me and tell me that a man in a wheelchair shouldn’t have such long and untidy hair. The dictator had an accent and dyes their hair blonde. You can see the black roots. I wanted to tell them that they look like a cheap prostitute but I didn’t. I just let them ride me (no pun intended). One day they held my stare as they told me that it looked like I didn’t care. They were right. I don’t care.


I saw a male nurse from the hospital I spent over a year in the other day. He told me that I looked good. He told me that I looked with-it and strong. I asked him what he meant? I asked him how I looked before? He told me when I was in hospital I was as skinny as a rake and was on a different planet. His statement should have made me feel good. It should be a reminder of what I can’t remember. His statement should make me feel good at how far I’ve come. What he said actually made me feel bad and embarrassed wondering at what people saw. It made me wonder at the way I presented. I hit my head so hard that it knocked the Andy out of Andrew. His statement should have made feel good that I’m starting to become Andy again. But instead I sit and I wonder when Andrew will show his face again.




Andrew Stuart Buchanan


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