Jay Summer

Sitting on the wood floor, phone screen says 7:13 pm. When did I eat last, maybe two? That’s the problem with Sunday. Earlier than two, that’s right, eleven-ish, whey protein for breakfast, late breakfast, brunch. Stand up and walk to the window, walk to the fridge, nothing’s in it, just ketchup and beer. I wonder if I could get a promotion. I’ve worked there three years now. The floor is dirty, I need a girlfriend. The phone screen still says seven, the background image is Bruce Lee, yeah.

Pace across the room, my shoes look kind of cool against the floor. Red vans, real hardwood. The floor is dusty. No, it’s dirty. How is there still dirt in the city when everything is concrete? I guess the medians, the parks, I guess it blows up in the wind, makes sense, windy city, maybe leaf blowers blow it up, been seeing more of those, trucks seem to be surrounded by dirt. Dump trucks, city trucks, tow trucks, followed by clouds of it. What a drag.

Pace, I don’t think the girlfriend would clean the floor. The floor thing and the girlfriend thing shouldn’t have come out in that order. Maybe she would, it wouldn’t be mandatory, I mean, that’s a bad word, it wouldn’t be expected, that was just a miscommunication, nothing is mandatory. Or a mis-thought, poorly ordered thoughts, but dirty floor did remind me of girlfriend. I hope I’m not sexist. Girls hate that. Phone screen, like Bruce says, Mistakes are always forgivable if one has the courage to admit them.

Pace, look at legs, I am tan against these boxers, is that a vein? I think it’s a vein, finally, a protruding leg vein, yes. Tomorrow’s leg day, today is cheat day, I don’t want to cheat, I want progress. I want to grow, no more standing still, just do it. The refrigerator’s empty, buy some food, the door makes a funny sound when it closes, the rubber suction like a mouth. The wood floor, it’d look nice shiny, women could be impressed by that, I read in a magazine wood is the most impressive type of floor for a bachelor to have, makes sense, wood. What to buy, fish maybe, no, pork, no, beef. Beef, the manliest of meats, bloody meat, dripping blood. I hope my girlfriend isn’t vegan, maybe that should be a deal-breaker, but how many deal-breakers can a guy have until that’s it, the deal’s broken, there’s just no more chance for a deal.

Phone screen, the Bruce Lee, A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to be aimed at. Is a girlfriend a goal? When is a girlfriend a goal? A goal can’t have hair, I don’t think. Sit, IKEA futon, is twenty-eight too old for this, a leather couch would be better, but this is comfortable, I can’t afford a new one, would she be able to tell I’ve masturbated on it? Maybe I’ll ask for a raise. At the very least, I should wash the cover.

Shaking, because I need to eat? My stomach feels like it’s eating itself. Phone screen 7:16, what was it before, how many times do I have to look before I notice, sometimes I feel like I never notice. If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done. Action, not looking, not just looking all the time, the floor, the fridge, the window, how to action, how to act. Cheat day, don’t work out, no work, so what action, act, move, the floor, the fridge, the window, how to act. Eat something, call a girl. Who? There aren’t any. Is a girlfriend a goal?

Look in the mirror, fresh shave, I shaved today, guess so, smile, face stiff, why would smiling hurt? Chest rising and falling quickly, when did I start breathing like this, uncontrolled? It’s okay, Bruce, Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind. Everything is okay, the wind blows dirt, there’s dirt on the floor, let it be, breathe any way, breath is wind.

Walk to window, it looks gray, maybe I should clean, if only I could see my apartment from the perspective of a female, maybe I could hire one off Craigslist to come in and tell me everything wrong with it, walk through, fresh eyes, everything she’d notice, there are probably things I could never see. The window looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in years, I didn’t notice until today, I look out of it every morning. Maybe when I go to the store I should buy flowers, or a candle, something red, something romantic, red vans on wood floor, are those too immature? I don’t even skate any more. Maybe I should buy loafers, and a breadbox. Phone screen, 7:19. Maybe I should buy a floor rug, a girl would never have sex on a floor without a rug, how do I have no rug? Maybe a red one, the magazine said red reminds them of sex, the rug must be small enough that she can still see the wood. Sit on the floor, I should buy wood polish, floor polish, whatever it’s called. The floor is something I have going for me, the one thing. Look at leg, the vein, not bad, two things. Screen, 7:22, Bruce Lee, shirtless. He has such white teeth, maybe I should whiten my teeth, maybe I should practice walking around without a shirt on, just at home at first, then outside, on the lakeshore, maybe I should get a tan and let the wind blow my hair.

Jay Summer is a Chicagoan living in Florida. She writes fiction and creative nonfiction, is a founding editor of weirderary.com, and hosts First Draft, a monthly live literary event in Tampa. Her work can be found in theEEEL, revolver, and Chicago Literati.