• Sudeep Bhargava


I came back to Philadelphia for a few days just to wrap things up. By the last day all I had was a pile of clothes, various belongings, and an empty suitcase to pack. I had already emptied out my house of anything that could be traced back to me, which was a weird feeling. I met up with Sarah around 11 am and showed her the two tabs of acid we later placed in our mouths. Sarah’s apartment isn't small exactly, but there’s only one window from which I can functionally see the sky, and I had the sudden urge to take a walk.

The streets were emptier than usual, but we hadn't reached ghost-town status yet. We reached my house on Irving Street. and, after slight hesitation, went inside. I showed Sarah the room I once slept in. The only things left were a dresser and a mirror, but those had been there when I moved in so I had no reason to take them with me. There was also a pile of things sitting in the middle of the room just collecting dust. I knew I would have to pack at sometime, but the trip was still escalating, and I knew I didn't have that type of willpower at the moment.

We sat in the empty lot beside the row of homes on my street. I was wearing a new shirt so I was careful not to get it dirty. I look back now and think that it's pretty funny that I'd wear a new shirt on the day the world ended. Luckily, we did run into a few people that day and I did get the compliments I was expecting. We walked around campus and nearby spots that I felt like were important enough to be seen. The drug had a peculiar way of making everything feel serendipitous. Of course I'd walk past Allegro Pizza right as they were blasting No One by Alicia Keys. And of course Sarah and I would walk past the one man we've both kissed. Every dog being walked looked at me and acknowledged my presence. The sky was actually a dull gray, but it was perfect for a goodbye.

We came back to the lot a couple time on our walk. I didn’t want to be in the house, I thought of it as nothing more than a skeleton anymore. I felt it to be haunted in a way, I guess. Nobody else would be coming to visit it now, it had already seen its last etchings of liveliness and to disrupt that would be incredibly rude indeed. We went back to Sarah’s and turned off all the lights. We sat in the dark, and she told me this was a song she’d always wanted to listen to while tripping, so we danced around her apartment. I had retrieved my film camera from my house when we were there last so I took a photo of Sarah, and Sarah took a photo of me. I'm not sure what was going through her head at that moment, and I remember wanting to know, but maybe it's better that I don't.

It would be dark soon, and I wanted to say a last goodbye to my house on Irving Street. On our way there I realized two things: the major wave of the drug was wearing off, and that I had left some weed and cigarettes in the bottom right cabinet of the kitchen. We smoked the cigarettes on my front porch as I became more and more apathetic about my life and returning to Texas. It was hard to care about anything, even my lungs, when the world was making too much sense. Everything was right, and it was too much to express, so instead I just lit another cig. It didn’t seem pessimistic to me, but I didn’t want to say what I was thinking out loud in case Sarah wasn’t feeling the same way.

We accidentally smoked the whole pack and talked about turning into our parents. I watched as the whole block was demolished and built again ten times over. In the end, this place will be reduced to rubble, as all things are. I knew that the world would be ending soon, and I still needed to pack, but maybe I could put that off for a little longer. I left Irving Street, but eventually even Irving Street will leave that place, which is to say that nothing binding my existence in Philadelphia has any more permanence than I do there. Time managed to turn all these buildings into tiny pebbles, and I realized that I am no more mortal than that which sustains me.

I did what I came to Philadelphia to do, and it was just a matter of time before I would be taking off and watching the city crumble. That was the day the world was going to end, and I didn’t care much for the place anyway so I nothing to be sad about. I thought about my front porch, and I felt nothing at all. I was afraid to approach the day because I still hardly have a handle of it. I find that it is often hard to separate the past and present into distinct categories. The future itself will become just another thing that happened. How do I evoke the past without enacting violence unto it? Yes, I am afraid of losing everything I've learned, but knowledge is gained and knowledge is lost, and in the end we are exactly as we were. I punctured these images in order to make them prettier than they were, and maybe everything I've written is a lie in the objective eyes of the world. Eventually, the day will be reduced to just another thing I did and maybe it won’t matter at all, and I don’t feel bad about thinking that.

©2020 by ~quarantine content~.