They weren’t real likes, they were pity likes.

When does “verge of collapse” become actual collapse?

Liked, respected, trusted, admired—
Those are off the table, I’m afraid…
Feared?
(embarrassed cough)
Tolerated?
We might be able to work with that.

Today as I rounded the bend into the clearing I ran into J with his three little dogs. I hadn’t seen him in two years. As I raised my hand in greeting it became obvious he didn’t know who I was. At first I guessed two more years of drinking and medications might finally have finished off his memory, but now, thinking of his uncharacteristically clear eyes and almost sheepish demeanor, as if presenting himself too nakedly to the world, I think he was sober. He was sober, while I was still in the fog. When I asked how long they were staying, he was evasive. I don’t blame him. If I ran into me, I’d avoid myself, too.

He documented his slow decline into madness with a series of photographic self portraits, continuing until the day he no longer recognized himself.

When someone tells you they’re behind you “1000 percent,” you know you’re on the way out.

Auction Highlights: Aside from a significant amount of water damage, bullet holes and general wear, the painting is not of particular interest.

Things to avoid: mirrors, clocks.

Normally he anticipated this cold black season with dread, but this year it suited him. He expected nothing else. It was what he deserved. He was locked in for the siege.

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