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“It Shouldn’t Be This Way”

Written By Jason Smith

“It shouldn’t be this way”

But it is.

But I need help, she says, I want to be left alone, I want peace, I want quiet, I want the voices to stop, she’s begging, something, anything, anyone, fucking anyone, please, somebody do something, I want them to leave me alone because I’m just a human being, I have feelings, I matter too, still begging, I watch, helpless, a dog staring at a television, plot, what the fuck’s a plot, I see colors, movement, watching, understanding none of it but following along, her sitting, not quite crying, not quite not, and it shouldn’t be this way, she’s screaming, it shouldn’t be this way, she’s looking at me, it shouldn’t be this way, top of her lungs, deep breaths, in, out, mental deterioration in real time, deeper breaths, louder now, in, out, absolute nonsense then out-of-nowhere truth, so timely, so honest, a revelation you feel, making your chest hurt, the simplicity of the words juxtaposed with the complexity of the situation, making the whole thing painful, because you know she’s right, it shouldn’t be this way, man, it shouldn’t, but it is, and you can’t change it, or can you, and if not, then what the fuck are you doing here, because here’s a girl, maybe thirty, someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, a little girl once upon a time, innocent, curious, trusting, then abandoned, discarded, no looking back, human fucking trash, disposed of by the one she loved most, her or the drugs, the drugs must’ve been really good, forgotten, abused, raped, silenced, America the Beautiful, tossed to the side of a dusty, dirty, long, narrow road with a carelessness that should crush your spirit but it doesn’t, and that scares you more than anything, because you’re losing your ability to connect to others, but you have to, you tell yourself, because if you really felt this, all of this, all the time, you’d be a fucking wreck, a mess, so instead you try to stay numb, for her, like her, that part of her soul that once connected her with the rest of humanity, torched, destroyed never rebuilt, never repaired, nobody gave a shit, it was too expensive, she was too cheap, whatever, and here she is, here we are, hearing voices, staring at one another, the whole goddamn thing crumbling to the ground.