I am the broken crayon, the scratchy liberal in a roomful of pressed conservatives, the fish lurking just beyond your baited hook, unwilling to bite, unwilling to be your next meal. I am that random thought left behind, the dream that can’t be remembered, your next brilliant idea interrupted and forgotten because the girl was more important. I am the embarrassing party guest, the unpleasant cough in a quiet library, the screeching tire heard just before the life altering impact of metal on bone. I am the unpleasant after taste from too much garlic in the spaghetti sauce, the bartender who tossed you from the club so he could steal your girl, the smell of sulfur lingering in the air after the fireworks show. I am the bathtub stain that can’t be removed, the chipped plate in the back of the cabinet, the marked card in the deck. I am the irritating bubble from an overpriced, overhyped, oversexed bottle of imported European drinking water, tickling your nose. I am the loaf of day old bread on the discount rack at the market, the brown spot on your otherwise pristine piece of fruit, the golf club missing from the bag at the garage sale. I am the third wheel at a family gathering, the one who stays at home during prom, the black sheep no one ever talks about. I am the nightmare that lurks after you awake, the shadow behind the light, the mugger you’d rather not meet. I am scared eyes, crazy eyes, business eyes and dead eyes. You’d better hope I don’t turn my gaze on you. I am the unknown assailant, the one who got away, the prison lifer who never gets mail. I am the splinter in your mind, which you pretend doesn’t exist but that you can’t ignore. I am a product of your institutions and all they represent. I am not you.
I am your fault.