A short story for my sister:
I bought them at a gas station, on the way to the beach. Nine dollars and ninety-nice cents, before tax. The black plastic shines ever so gently in direct sunlight, but they’re obviously cheap as hell. They’re too big for my face, but that’s the fashion.
I like to drink. No insane bacchanalian extravaganzas, just a few chardonnays to unwind. My tolerance is garbage. Long gone are the days when I could drink an entire box of Franzia on my own, and still make it to an 8:00 am class. I get hangovers on the regular. They are almost always accompanied by headaches.
Headaches I can feel in my blood.
On days when my body is fully rejecting the previous night’s decisions, I keep my sunglasses close. Their crappy Chinese lenses offer me respite from an otherwise intolerable world. They block out the harsh florescent light of my cube. They protect me. They build a little wooden sign for me that says, “leave me alone.”
When I put my sunglasses on, I declare it, “invisible time.” I can still see the world, but the world can’t see me. I’m a ghost, a phantom, a wandering soul just looking to make it through the day unscathed. I pretend that my darkened view is a netherverse; a place where everything is shadowed and comfortable and mine.
My boss hates my netherverse. She always wants to talk to me, even while I’m there. She wants to talk about work stuff. She has an ability to somehow see through my cloak. I try to pretend I don’t see or hear her, but she persists.
I’m not a misanthropist, I just don’t like anyone. I like me, but no one is like me. With my sunglasses on I don’t have to see anyone else, which makes me happy. Happiness is a pair of sunglasses.
Today is a day I’d like to spend entirely in my netherverse.
My boss wants to talk. I want to yell obscure obscenities at her. My brain feels like it spent the evening in a butcher’s shop. Whipped cream flavored vodka takes like hairspray the next morning. She’s not a bad lady, I just don’t feel like talking. I put on my sunglasses.
She asks me why. I say, “Invisible Time.” She doesn’t laugh. It was funny, she should have laughed. She asks me about some emails but I’m not really listening as the internet is very distracting. She asks me to take off my sunglasses. I don’t.
She didn’t have to start yelling. In fact, if she had been reasonable, I may have come out of my netherverse voluntarily. This is why I don’t like people, always yelling about something. I take off my sunglasses, but she’s still irate. Something about disrespect, which is ironic because she deserves about as much respect as a cheap hooker. She tells me to go home, and I oblige.
It’s pretty bright outside, so I put on my sunglasses. Sweet, sweet sunglasses.