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Stranger, Unfound

For all the weird ones

By Emily BomanPublished 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 3 min read

My divorce was finalized two years ago and the hellscape that ensued was enough to keep me single. I had no interest in love or most people for that matter.

Recently I dated again. A mutual friend slipped into my DM’s with a thought provoking request: “Can I take you to dinner?” How sweet. At least he didn’t show me his dick to break the ice. I very nearly said no but some rushing tide gave stride to a break; a “yes” I’ll never regret.

Here we are, months later, I am his and he is mine. Entré nous, my subtle, gnawing gripe. His roommate, the old man, saves pickle jars. When I say pickle jars I don’t mean just the jars. I mean half-full jars of brine of which the pickles are long past consumed. There must be almost a dozen. The liquid contents have not been consolidated, certainly not allocated with any specificity towards a particular use or meaning. The simple disrespect for fridge real estate is enough to make me cringe inside. It isn’t my business, I suppose. Still, I can’t seem to get a straight answer towards the purpose of their presence. They’re just there…

I suppose it’s always been the lack of a good explanation that sends me into a tizzy. Lord knows life is like that. People often offend my pragmatic mind. It’s my modus operendi, my ongoing existential crisis. Mein kampf…pickle juice.

The old man jokes when confronted. “Maybe I can be pickled when I die. I’ll have the supplies ready”. The irony cannot be contained. He is always “pickled”. The old man wakes up looking for the whiskey or beer that’ll set him right for the day. It’s the fix that allows his meleed intro/extroverted strangeness to all seem ok. Tolerable at the very least. There may be nothing left to learn in his eyes. I speak with him in the morning after my gent has headed to work. There is humor and connection but secretly I know I am not special to him. He speaks articulately and with charisma for the sake of doing so. He is natural disaster behind flesh. He holds onto vocabulary that he thinks would rival that of a MENSA scholar. This is his final act of existing, the proof his brain and being is still somewhat intact; the proof he is still alive. He needs that feeling and I am the last to discredit it.

They say the more you sink into yourself the stranger you become. Sinking into oneself does not denote the existence of self-awareness, reflection, or presence. The loss of one’s mind does not give way to meaning.

But people like me understand the old man. I understand why I’m so derailed by pickle juice. If I’m being honest, it’s just the kind of weird shit I would do and expect other people not to notice. I have copious stacks of magazines meant for god knows what, journals full of quotes from my favorite authors, and menial junk stored for some rainy day. Sometimes I feel like life is a rainy day and there is always an occasion.

Even when my body can feel the sunshine my mind boldly and most annoyingly contends in the opposite direction. This is the struggle of the stranger. We are unfounded and we are not remorseful. We are the poets, the artists, the musicians, the eccentrics, the dreamers and we will excuse our egos and quirks in the hope of understanding. Or, alternatively, the sheer lack of a shit that anyone ever will.

We won’t really be passed over in our minds, in our souls, because we retain the belief that if you’re just strange enough, maybe people won’t ask too many questions. Even about an infinite supply of pickle juice…


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