Sometimes when I can't sleep I think about all those people I've talked to and try to recall all the things they left behind. I pull the blanket up to my nose and I stare past the ceiling trying to see and feel something. Then I start opening doors that I keep trying to close. I start thinking too much and start again on thoughts of the afterlife. I think of the old computer that I had long ago in my early teens that we replaced because the power button stopped working. Then I remember finding it again in the basement and carrying that heavy monstrosity up the stairs and putting it down carefully on the carpeted floor of my room. I stared into the hole that used to have a power button with one eye closed as I inched closer and closer to it trying to see if there was anything special. Then I had the bright idea to go down to the kitchen, grab a chopstick, and bring it back up and inserting it into that hole.

Miraculously, the computer turned on again. It's old and dusty fans started spinning within the bowels of its metal chassis with such volume that it was almost as if I had turned on a lawnmower. I connected the computer to a newer monitor and waited for it to completely boot up. Hearing those hollow beeps and electronic midi's starting up the system brought such a nostalgic warmth in me that I couldn't help but smile. All those late nights struggling with slow dial-up connections and frantically searching for that one cheat code for that extra hard video game suddenly came back to me, a most familiar feeling of recollection filed under 'little things' in the back of your mind.

Even through the incessant coughing and wheezing from caked dust, the computer trudged its little metal spinners and pullers and pushers and started up once again. I understood that this ancient machine was fragile and for some reason I thought I should also be careful in moving the mouse or pressing keys on the newer hardware that I had connected to it. Almost as if this computer could somehow feel some phantom pain from the hard clicks or the exaggerated slamming I resort to now with my fingers when I type (I've been asked if I'm angry at the keyboard when I type). But for this moment in time I grazed my fingers over the keys slowly and gently, almost as if I was running my hand over a sleeping dog, making sure to not disturb it.

I spent the entire afternoon slowly going through all my old files. I enjoyed myself as I read poems and stories unfinished and smiled at the pictures I saved and music I somehow downloaded. At a certain point I had eight windows open, each one a different folder in the computer. Now this was something I regularly did because I always assume that I will need to quickly access something. On my current laptop opening that much was cake, but on this aged hardware? I tried closing one of the windows, still unaware of what I had done and when it refused to close I froze along with it. I stared for a couple minutes at that screen, the happy warm feeling slowly dissipating. I felt every drop of that warm pink liquid called nostalgia as I began over thinking once again. It saddened me when I realized that the moment I turned on this computer, it was in the same state as we had left it seven years ago - except dustier, slower and a lot older. The night we had decided to retire it, it was still pushing itself, making sure that it still did what it had to.
The tower, the skeleton, rickety and so brittle that it needed to be propped against a wall in order to stay up.
The software, so outdated and weak that it needs so much more effort to do things it did with relative ease before.
The memory, parts corrupted and fragmented that you can't really trust it anymore to remember some things.
It's PSU, the power supply unit; chugging, coughing, struggling, beating. The very heart of the computer so weak and fragile.
Fated to not turn on again because of human carelessness.
Nothing really can escape inevitability can it?
It was almost as if this computer had just woken up after seven years of death and it just continued as if those years were nothing. The only thing it has to show for it is its deteriorating body and corrupted mind.
When I stare up at the ceiling during nights I can't sleep, I think back to that day. I sometimes wonder if there is a heaven for computers and if I had pulled that ancient behemoth away from it just for a brief exchange and to catch up. Then I smile because it's so absurd. Then I wonder if there is something after death, a computer human heaven.

Mix them according to preference. Or don't mix them at all

I met a nice girl the other day. She was in a lot of debt for someone her age and for some reason she pissed off the wrong people. This lead her to a sort of crossroads that lead to the same place, if that makes any sense. I took her to the beach very close to the city and made sure to remind her to bundle up because beaches in December are nippy.

I picked her up at her place and we walked in silence to the beach. She wore a perfume that was redolent of funeral flowers. The kind that are artificially enhanced to last a bit longer than usual. We got into public transit and she made her way to the back of the bus where we sat not beside each other but face to face.

I stayed quiet because it wasn't my job to entertain her. There was a quick exchange in glances, both of us waiting if the other was going to start a conversation, a conversational stand-off of the sort. I wouldn't be the one to pull the trigger and apparently she wasn't either. It would be a quiet ride between the two of us. Now she was a beautiful girl there was no doubt about it. A salad of genes that would make any average to below average girl envious. But at that moment of vulnerability, that moment where she had to face her mortal existence, she couldn't be any more beautiful. She didn't bother to wear make up and it was obvious that she was crying the night before. I caught those eyes of hers shaking slightly when the bus stopped to pick up passengers and she would make eye contact with someone for a moment. A fly trapped in a web watching others fly by, living their life. When a person stopped trying to blend and became bare bones, living only to cling onto each day as a blessing, they became something different, something ethereal. Something beautiful.

We eventually made it to the beach, the only words exchanged were commands from me to move faster or telling her that it was time to get off.

Now the beach is a very special place for me. No matter how cliched it sounds, the beach does things to an individual that they wouldn't do otherwise. A beach in the middle of winter is a special kind of solace for people otherwise unfamiliar with a ritual like this. The smell, the sounds, the feelings, they all worked together to erode away the final pillar of a person.
When they finally stare into the horizon, their eyes half closed and their white pupils glazed, I begin speaking.
I usually start with something easy like a joke or a fact. For this girl I just started by saying that in this world there are so little things that can be described as epic. The ocean though is undoubtedly one of them.

Things that are also epic: Space and the intro to Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin

She stood there, her scarf wrapping her comely cheeks and those ineffable brown eyes of hers looking out into the water, almost as if she was trying to look across the ocean. Then she began talking.

She talked for a long time. But it didn't matter to me. Right now the two of us had all the time in the world and I was more than happy to listen to what she had to say. She talked about everything she ever wanted to be and everything shes always wanted to see. How she will never be able to have children and how she will never feel true love that she's always wanted. How she will disappoint her family and how she hopes that at least one person in this entire world will cry when shes gone. By the end of it all she was in tears.

Then she asked me if I ever have thoughts of the end and I nodded, lying would neither comfort or upset this girl. Then she asked me what every person asks when they can see the end in the distance. She asked me if I think that there is an afterlife. I told her that I didn't but that shouldn't stop her from believing if there is.


Then she asked me about me and I told her about me. Then she asked me what I thought and I told her what I thought.

I asked her if she knew what nihilism meant. She didn't so I explained.

Then she cried again. There are times where I believe that I'm not the right person for this job.