I'm walking home from the grocery store and down Chase street I see a crowd. Naturally my mind begins to wonder what may have happened, and as the average human thinker would behave, I assume something bad happened.

As I get closer and closer, the yellow police tape becomes more visible, and then finally someone tells me that someone was murdered. Shot down. This city gets more than its fair share of homicides, but I'm starting to believe that death will never get old. No matter how many times you see a lifeless body, it makes you think.

I'm standing there looking at the man's face, at least they didn't mess with that. Then I start to think of Joe, how even though Joe isn't dead like this man, they both look the same. Their faces are so still. Expressionless, emotionless. Sometimes as a child when my mother would make my father sleep in the living room, I would walk by and watch him as he slept, and it always scared me because he looked so dead. In some dark twisted way, how he looked when he slept was exactly how he looked at his funeral to me.

There was a time in my late teenage years where all I could do was think about death, but I think we all go through that phase some point in our lives and it hits us hard because it's such a hard thing to understand. What is death? The obsession with death ate away at my mind, and it wasn't because I didn't know what happened after it, it was because I knew it would have to happen someday, and I didn't know when.

I can't say that I've accepted death, but I am not terrified of it anymore because as we all know there isn't really anything we can do to prevent it. In ways birth is the same as death, but because our mind is in a fixed position on life, I don't think we can ever perceive that as what it really means. This damn fisheye view. It probably takes someone until their late teenage years to question life and death, but I'm sure it takes everyone a lifetime to accept death itself.

I get to the front of my apartment building and I look at the flowers Lynne is planting, and they are starting to die. Today I am surrounded by death it seems. They are turning brown and look shriveled up. Now that I think about it, I hadn't seen Lynne since that night she came to my apartment.

As I'm about to open the front door I notice Claire's car in my parking spot. I guess she's over for dinner. As I'm walking to my apartment door I hear talking and knocking, and eventually I see Claire and some man standing in front of Lynne's door. It kind of looks like that man who was here before, the man who was banging on Lynne's door and disturbing everyone in the building. Her ex-husband. But I can't be entirely sure. I nod at Claire and she nods back, and then asks me if I've seen Lynne.

I tell her I haven't seen her in days, and I ask if Lynne is missing? Misused question mark. As I'm asking this question frames of that dream pass through my thoughts. Billboard, have you seen Maria?

Claire tells me that Lynne is fine, she tells me that she was suppose to meet Lynne today to talk but she hasn't been answering her phone all morning and she doesn't appear to be home. As her and the man are walking by to leave the building the man tells me to let them know if I see Lynne, and then he gives me a dirty look as if he is trying to turn that favor into a demand.

After they leave I open my door and I go fill the fridge with my groceries. The damn garbage can is full, so I go outside to throw it out. As I'm walking I notice Claire's car is gone, and in the corner of my eye I see Lynne's window curtains move, as if someone was checking to see if they had left. Someone is home.

I'm walking back to my apartment door and as I'm about to open it, I instead decide to go see if Lynne is actually home, to see if anything is wrong. I knock, and then I say it's me, I say my name, and she opens the door. I jokingly ask her why she's been avoiding me and she begins to laugh, and those bruises on the side of her face seem as if they were gone. I would kill to see that laugh.

I ask her if that was her husband, and she says it was her ex-husband. She goes on to tell me that she thinks her sister is seeing her ex-husband and about how much she hates them both. This damn hate gene.

I ask her why she didn't just open the door and talk with them about it, and she says because Claire would never realize that Silvio was using Claire to get back at Lynne for taking the kids away from Silvio. She calls Silvio an Hispanic bastard.

These adults now sound like they are going through typical high school bullshit. She also adds that she doesn't trust Silvio's temper.

Then Lynne tells me that she knows that Silvio found her last time because Claire told her where Lynne was staying, and that this was the reason why she hated and suspected her sister. Lynne's face is so red that I decide I have to change the subject, and I tell her that her plants are dying. She looks at me confused, then the redness goes away. She walks into the other room and then a few seconds later she walks back out and hands me something. A packet of seeds.

She tells me that she made the mistake of trying to plant zinnias where there isn't much sunlight. That zinnias can't survive in a shade garden. Since there was no other place to plant anything she was instead going to plant Peace Lilies. She tells me that Peace Lilies flourish in the shade. She's finally smiling again. This happy gene.

Not too long after I hear a knock on my door, and I go see who it is. I'm hoping it's not the return of Claire and Silvio. I look down the hallway and I see a police officer and I inform him that I'm the one who lives at that door.

The officer asks both Lynne and I if we saw or heard anything strange last night or this morning, and we both say no. Lynne asks why and the officer tells her that there had been a murder not too far from here. The murder that I walked past.

The officer tells us that before the man was murdered, several tenants from other apartment buildings said he knocked on their door and asked strange questions and looked as if he were confused. As if he didn't know what was going on and he had no real connection to the world outside of his mind. As if he were unaware of his actions.

The officer asks if either of us received a visit from a man like that and we both said no, and then went on to ask others in the building and then he left.

Two nights ago I had a dream where I was digging a grave. At first I'm standing in front of my mother and my father's tombstones, and then I'm standing in the grave digging deeper and deeper not realizing I won't be able to get out. I'm looking for my mother and father but no matter how deep I dig I can't find them. It's funny how I say "them" instead of "the bodies." When a boy is alive and well, you'll call him Jason, but when he's dead and his body is lifeless, most people refer to him as "the body." Where's the body? Bring me the body.

Not where's Jason, not bring me Jason. I think most of the times the people who knew Jason would keep calling him Jason because they don't want to realize his life is gone and all that's left is his body. The human psyche at work.

I keep digging and digging but all I can see in my mind is Abraham Lincoln's face and what I think is his voice. "We can never fool all of the people all of the time." I look up to see if Lincoln is above me, speaking down to me, but he isn't there. Just a voice in my head.

When I look back down to start digging again, I see that woman, and she is laying face down. That damn woman that haunts my dreams. That damn woman who won't tell me who she is. I start to turn her body, and before me I see a woman who resembles my mother.

After I wake up I try to figure out what it means but all I can really come up with is that the dream when I'm in the utopia and this dream mean something, that they're connected at least in my mind. If the woman laying in that bed in the utopia that I am leaving is my mother as well, then maybe what I'm hoping for subconsciously is that my mother is in a better place now. In a peaceful place. Or maybe that I'm willing to switch places with her if she isn't.

Before my father died my mother committed suicide. I believe she killed herself because she felt as if she was born in the wrong time period or the wrong parallel universe. She didn't say it but I know she hated most of the people she met. She hated them because she hated people in general, she hated human tendencies and their lifestyles. Misanthropy.

She hated the imbalance in the world, and she hated the people who didn't care about it even more. Her hate grew so much that it eventually consumed her and took away her life, literally and metaphorically.

The one thing I could never understand was how she loved my father. How can you hate so many people and find room in your heart for this one person. Now my father wasn't a bad man, but he wasn't that great either. He didn't beat my mother, not with his fists at least, but in a way he did hit her. He ignored her, and he didn't care how obvious it was that his work was more important to him than his wife and his family. Somehow she found the strength to stay with him until she died.

After she died, my father realized how much he ignored her. How worthless he made her feel. His guilt turned into physical body complications and then he eventually died. In a way they kind of killed each other, but only in kind of a way.

I remember when Maria thought I needed help, that I needed to go see a psychiatrist or a therapist or something like that. I saw her point, my mind was out there, so I decided to humor her and go see one.

The problem with that was that the medication they were giving me was messing with my memory, and in turn, I couldn't remember my dreams no matter how hard I tried. For two months, it was as if I had no dreams. I couldn't live like that. I wouldn't live like that.