Swerved around, that’s how it felt. Like an issue or an unsolved problem that only sirens could bring any attention to. Oh, my gosh! Look out, here he is. Here’s Dim ‘Friend’ Zohn. Look, he’ll like all your cute stories. He’ll be your shoulder to lean on and smear your snot and mascara when you cry about what boy hurt you, sexed you, and shoved you off. All sirens wail and point him out for that split second so that you could feel like someone cared. No, his feelings aren’t important. Someone needs to hold you up. Someone needs to lift you out of your drowning tears so that you don’t wrinkle in the sorrowful pools. Someone has to be the foundation, the base that absorbs all the salty saddened drops of black ink. Dim’s like make-up in that sense. Here is Dim, being applied to another sickening issue or story for the girl once again only to be wiped away and tossed aside.
Here is Dim walking now, swerved past by the onlookers in Jeeps, Chevys, Hondas, Lexus’, whatevers. Kicking a smashed green plastic soda bottle down the curbside, Dim. No efforts from anyone, he thought maybe they might see him and think he looked like someone cool who needed a ride. He’d strike up a conversation with them and they’d find out he was going to the same bar he was headed to and they’d all get along and be friends. Dim pulls at his gaudy silver necklace trying to show emphasis on the jewelry. But the cars pass, not one person asks if he needs help or even looks his way. One car honks. He gets excited and feels his heart jump then they throw a soda-pop can at him. His head now slunk as he walks and his is bright blue flip phone screen is glowing through his jean pocket, not because he’s getting a text but because he keeps nervously thumbing the volume buttons.
The road sign says he’s made it to the nearest gas station in the city. It seems so far but for Dim, it’s only around the corner from his cruddy apartment home. His sights are still set on the bar. There, Dim thinks about the lights, the bright lights that spin off of the DJ’s equipment. He likes to spot the colors and watches how they sway through the air, landing on the walls and tiles, rubbing down the bodies of those that dance beneath them, around them, through them. He loves the lights for what they can do.
Dim’s seen this place in the daylight. He knows it’s not much to the eye’s sight but he also knows the feeling of not being much to one’s sight. Short with no real form to his body, Dim’s appearance is drab. Not fat, not skinny just meat that sits unkempt on a body, free from any real muscle tone. His pale skin and blue veins that run through his legs, arms, and wrist like cold rivers of blood. His acne is a sky view of dermal topography. Mounds of white heads and gorges red deep and fading pink valleys with flakes of dead skin that gets picked at unendingly; his face a world map of genetic embarrassment looking as if it hurts to wear. That’s why he appreciates the lights. In life’s ugly darkness, lights make the simplest of things attractive. When the dance lights are blinking and swaying they travel across all things mundane or unpleasant. The wall’s dullest spots are highlighted and beautified. Dim sits in the lights. He feels beautified. Each light reminds him of the headlights on every car that passes when he walks, except in here there is no avoiding…no swerving. Here he collides with the lights, he’s made beautiful for the moment. Here Dim’s noticed.
Twenty hours prior to Dim’s arrival, Magdalena ran out of his apartment with her luggage in her hand and her cigarette burning almost to the filter’s end. Turkish Silvers, how the singed paper would roll backward quickly toward the butt, orange-cherry. She wouldn’t let the cigarette go, as if it was the only thing allowing her life. The luggage bobbled around and the sidewalk she staggered across only made it harder to hold on to. The cracks where her other cigarette butts resided during and after those long nights with Dim only caused her agony now as she almost lost grip of the handle on the wide container, teetering from wheel to wheel. This cigarette she held on to so strongly looked like her last hope at leaving and not settling in this city anymore.
”Magda,” Dim called out.
But she kept on, head down and nostrils flared. She used to stare at these cracks and compare them to the veins in Dim’s forearms. ‘Look at ‘em, Dim,’ she’d say. ‘Look how they wiggle through the sidewalk all weird. They’re like you.’ He never knew what she meant until after she left. He was awkward and unsure of himself. He had no exact route. He was confused with where he was going in life and had no exact plan. But that’s why he liked her— loved her. She seemed as much of a wreck as he was. His spontaneous ideas and decisions always stretched his pockets too thin. It left no option for stability. Her flakiness of a relationship with that jailed asshole leaving her in emotional ruin.
Dim thought he and her were a perfect pair of damage, dysfunctional functioning. In fact, had Magda not been such a good friend and gotten Dim a job at the Burger Place he would still be sleeping on laundry mat benches or staying at her place every other day. He would have preferred the second option but she no longer allowed for it. She was a few years older than him but at 22 years old, Dim didn’t have any real skill or potential. Only Magda saw something in him. He still tried figuring it out. And maybe that’s why he was so in love and obsessed with her. Well, her and any other girl that showed him the least bit of attention.
This was a different side of her though. She stormed out half drunk, half high. Pissed about what had happened. She had hugged him so hard. Caressed his back so aggressively but sensual. Dim swore it felt sensual. Her denim skirt was riding up her thigh while she sniffled about how she was never coming back. She talked about how she was on her own and life was so dark and sad. Dim was here though. She didn’t see it but he did. She complained about how her life was unfair and how the only family she had was against her and lied about her to her boyfriend.
His sorry ass being locked up had half her checks going to his commissary while the other half was split between her gas money, her rent, and his mom’s rent. Dim tried consoling her. He hugged her like always. They were on his couch and his hand was on her shoulder. Her head was lying against his chest. He was rubbing her while she moaned about how her boyfriend’s mother recently visited her job and saw her talking to Dim. She said the mother went to the jailhouse the next day and told Magda’s boyfriend she was flirting with her coworker again. Dim felt butterflies at the thought of Magda and him. To others it looked like they were flirting? So it wasn’t just Dim that thought so? Magda then leaned toward his lap and laid her head down. Just like always, the rolodex of dirty thoughts began spinning through Dim’s mind.
Normally, when she was there she’d lean on him, holding him. Her hand on his belly stroking his hairs underneath his shirt, him stroking her head fantasizing about how she’d just fall in love with him. Right there, like the usual times before she’d come bursting in, except in Dim’s fantasy it made perfect erotic sense. ‘Dim, he’s horrible. His mother’s a witch and I’m tired of it! God, I am so lonely Dim, so lonely. I need you! Please, Dim!’ She’d press him to the wall. She’d feel him get hard. He’d feel her pierced tongue slide past his, while her hand slid elsewhere.
And then he’d stop. Snapped like a dry autumn twig under a walker’s foot, Dim’s reality would come back and she’d be sobbing with her head in his lap and him trying to slide his erection to the awkward and painful side of his right thigh, fully erect and hoping Magda didn’t notice. Normally, after their cuddle cry session she’d leave, her perfumed scent would follow her out like a sharp misty trail of hope. When it died out so would his yearning. “Let me take care of you,” Dim would say in his head. Poor Dim, he didn’t see it. Friend zone, Dim. You are stuck.
Pathetic he would think. She’d leave his apartment time and time again and it was always the same afterward. No play but still hopeful. Maybe she’ll turn around some day. Maybe one day, she’ll realize her man’s never leaving that penitentiary. Or maybe one day he’ll die, gang raped and stabbed in the jailhouse cafeteria. Life, lost over a sugar-free gelatin cup. She’d be so sad she’d come running in like she always does, yellow purse swinging. Dim never locked the door for a reason. She’d run in, tears and mascara running down her face and here he would be expecting nothing like this to happen. ‘What do you mean dead? No, Magda, I’m so sorry. Here just sit down.’ Then her epiphany would occur. Here he is, has been, and will be. Here he is, your knight, your hero, your gallant Dim. They would hug and kiss, both of them crying. Dim’s tears falling, weighted by loneliness and horny grief— Magda’s tears from pain and anguish for her lost useless man and a second chance at true love. But instead it was soggy faced Magda and her smoky voice doing routine emotional distress runs to his apartment. All Dim could think about was how maybe…just maybe she would stop feeling offended and start feeling affectionate.
But the nasty thoughts of her didn’t stop, even in her sorrowful moments. It’s not that he wanted to think these things but after so many times of consoling, you would think she had to have some sort of attraction and connection to him. Besides, it was noticeable to all the customers according to Magda. Dim got bold. This time as she lied on his lap, he didn’t adjust. Her head lay on his lap. She shuddered and cried while he stroked her head, she stroked his belly hairs. As he swelled, nervousness crawled through his skin and tingled to the tips of hairs all over his body.
“Better, it’ll get better.” He whispered to her as his heart raced.
“No it won’t,” she said, “ Dim! It’s so hard.”
Dim’s eyes bulged and as he heard her words, confused at what she was referencing to, his emotions and urges got the best of him. Dim smelled her perfume and he could feel his organ slowly tickle and slide past his thigh, swelling and only needing a slight flex to force blood fully through his sidewalk cracked veins. And then it happened. It was so strong, but he liked when it was. With a brave pump, his pants moved upward and Magda had a jerking reaction. This was not what he had hoped for. But then again, he didn’t really plan this sorrowful, seductive fantasy out. In his sex dreams, she would smile and tell him that as much as her boyfriend screwed her over, he could never really screw her. And Dim? He would smoothly slide his pants down and say, ‘wet it.’
“What did you just say to me?” Magda was now sitting up and staring at him.
“What? Nothing, wuh do ya mean?” Dim’s heart sped up and felt like a speed bag was being beat in his chest.
“Did you just tell me to wet it? What the fuck Dim?!”
“Magda, I’m sorry…I thought—“
“That’s disgusting! Are you seriously hard right now? Did your dick just touch me?”
“Madga, please, I—“
“Fuck you…wet it! Wet it? I tell you my boyfriend’s mom is trying to break us up and you poke my face with your cock and say wet it?! Get away from me!”
Dim tries to reach out and grab her but Magda pulls her arm away and reaches for her golden purse. He doesn’t like that. He doesn’t want her to leave, she can’t.
“Magda, you love me. I love you, please don’t. I’m sorry, please. I’m sorry. Don’t get upset, please come here.” His face is red with embarrassment and fear.
Dim reached for her again grabbing her by the shoulders pressing her against his living room wall and she’s trying to force him off of her. He’s whispering in her ear ‘please forgive me’. He’s scared, scared he’ll lose her. He’s scared she’ll leave and have nowhere to go, no one to turn to. She needs him, she only talks to him.
“Dim let me go! Why are you doing this? Stop!” She continues to struggle and as he holds both her wrists in his left hand, he’s feeling under her denim skirt.
“Please let me go.” Magda is begging now; her voice once angered and forceful, now weakening and pleading. Dim’s acne face is in her neck and nosing through her hair. As he’s whispering to her and whimpering for forgiveness, Magda is looking around the apartment for something to use, something to hit him with if she could just get free. Dim’s dick is protruding in his pants and as he smells her perfume and grease thick hair, the urge to love her is pulsing through him. He’s pressed against her now and doesn’t realize he’s licking her neck and his pelvis is humping against her crotch. Magda starts squirming and fighting his grip and soon knees him in the groin. Snap! Like an autumn twig by a walker’s step, Dim’s reality is settling around him like ash after a volcano has erupted. Damage is done. From the ground, his apartment looks so much bigger and expansive. From the ground he sees Magda grab for her yellow purse, some of its contents falling out and he can see her turquoise panties as she rushes for the door. The pervert is heartbroken; he’s hurt, and worst of all he’s oblivious.
Now, Dim is in the bar, crashing through the lights. Just wanting to be noticed.