“Why do you punch the wall?” the boy asked.
“Because I’m angry” he replied.
“Why are you angry?” the boy asked.
“I’m angry because I’m sad and I’m sad because my life is a mess.”
“Because I have lost everything I’ve ever had and it’s my own fault.”
“Take a good look at me, little boy. I’m sitting on the street in January, freezing my ass off in those torn up clothes because I got kicked out of my apartment six months ago. In my right hand is an almost empty bottle of Jack Daniel’s I bought with my remaining money from the job I lost eight months ago. In the breast pocket of my shirt is the last pack of cigarettes I own. On my left hand is the ring from the girlfriend who left me when I lost the apartment. You’re still young. Enjoy your life while you can and don’t fuck it up like I have.”
“My mommy says that’s a bad word” the boy said.
“What is?” he asked.
“Well, tell your mommy that sometimes bad words are the only words that can describe how you feel. Now go, run along and remember what I told you.”
The little boy left. He was alone again. Alone like he’d been for six months. And six months ago he decided to stay in the exact place where he was right now. Next to a clothing store where he’d bought his girlfriend so many things. He sat there in hopes of seeing her again. But she never came. And every morning that he woke up from a restless night with his hands and nose frozen and without a feeling in his feet, he would punch the wall in the exact same spot he had the day before. The knuckles of his left hand were swollen and started bleeding every time he punched the wall. The ring on his finger was scraped and stained with blood. But he didn’t care about any of that. He embraced the pain. It was the only thing that could take his mind off his situation. Throughout the day he sat there and held out his hand, hoping that someone would give him money. But it was very rare that anyone did. People don’t like to be confronted with sadness and suffering. They go around it with as much distance as possible. They don’t like the thought of someone not having a good life. They’re trapped in the illusion that the world is a happy place and that everyone is well. So with the money he had received so far he could just barely afford to buy old bread. He was continuously hungry and the whisky he had bought to kill his feelings barely sufficed to get drunk just once again. The pack of cigarettes was half empty, too, and he grew more tired every day. The wall behind him didn’t even have a scratch. He’d been punching it every day for half a year and still there wasn’t even a dent. Every morning he woke up with the resolution to punch a hole in the wall. He knew that it wasn’t possible. He knew that the wall was made of stone and that he was lucky not to have broken his hand yet. Still he didn’t give up. He kept on punching the wall every morning. And every Saturday the little boy would come and ask him the question he’d grown tired of answering. “Why do you punch the wall?” he’d ask. And the answer remained the same. “Because I’m angry” he’d answer. This kept on going on like that until one day when it was raining like it hadn’t rained for over twenty years. The rain came falling down from heaven like a waterfall and turned the streets into streams of dirty, brown water. He woke up, stretched his tired limbs, stood up, turned around and punched the wall as hard as he could. He heard a faint rumbling. For a second he thought that he had finally made it. He had beaten the wall. It rumbled again. He looked down at his meagre waist and realized that it was his stomach that made the sound. He started crying. He cried for hours and then, when there were no more tears to cry, he punched the wall again. And then again. And again. He punched the wall over and over, not only with his left hand but with his right hand, too, for the whisky bottle was empty and there was no need for him to hold on to it anymore. He kept punching the wall. He hated it. He hated it with all his heart. His hands felt like they were on fire but they started to go numb. Soon, he could feel nothing at all. He just kept punching the wall. Then suddenly he heard a voice. A voice that awakened something deep inside him. Something that he had lost a long time ago. He stopped punching the wall and turned around. And there she was. Standing before him, wet from the rain, with her blue eyes and black hair. She looked like an angel who had come to finally take him away and release him from the pain. She spoke: “What are you doing?”
“I’m punching the wall” he answered.
“Why are you punching the wall?”
“I…because you left me” he was in a trance induced by the returning flaming pain in his hands and by the rush of feelings with which he was overcome
“What has become of you?”
“I have lost my way, dear. Save me. Please save me”
“I can’t. Not anymore” she looked at him like he was some wild animal
“I’m sorry” she started crying.
But he gave no answer. He sunk down to his knees and fell face down to the ground. His time had finally come. He could finally leave. She watched him die and cried, cried as if all of this was her fault. Then she saw the ring on his finger. It was now no longer silver, it was red. Nevertheless, she recognised it. And she cried harder. She cried as if she could have done something different. As if she was responsible for his fate. “Why are you crying?” she heard a thin voice ask. She turned around and saw the little boy. He looked at her with big eyes. Then he saw the man, lying on the ground, not moving. “Is he…”
“Fuck” the little boy said. Then he started crying, too. They cried together while the rain washed away the past behind them.