By Meshach M.


He let his phone fall from his hand onto the floor.  There was the hint of tears in his eyes that had not cried in years.  Why, he thought, why now?  Life didn’t seem fair – it never seemed fair, as if there was some powerful force holding him back.  He had already bought tickets to the show.  Last week she had been excited. Now this.

It was not like she had even let him down easy.  She didn’t seem to understand how he felt.  It was more that a feeling: it was a passion, something beyond his control.  Yet now he was angry toward her.  More than angry, he was frustrated, confused. How he felt didn’t make any sense. It never did.

His phone buzzed, he picked it up.  It was she.  He didn’t want to talk, to her or anyone else.  Maybe he just needed time to muse it over.  He lay down on his unmade bed and looked up at the ceiling, an ugly dark green covered with posters of bands from thirty years ago.  There was a calm about them; something relaxing in a very primitive way.  They made him feel safe, that was it.

His phone buzzed again, she had texted: I’m sorry.  He did not reply.  She hurt me, he thought, and she knew it, too.  She knew she was going to hurt me and yet she did it all the same.  He didn’t understand women, they seem to think men are these powerful creatures that don’t care about anything and will be fine whatever way things go.

And that’s true most of the time, he considered fairly.  When it has to do with little things, sure, but this sort of thing is more important than she realizes.  I do care – I care a lot.

He sat up a rubbed his neck.  Well, he thought, I guess it could be a lot worse.  He got out of bed and walked over to the door.  The hallway was dark and silent save for the breathing of his siblings in the adjacent rooms.

He tiptoed, walking down the stairs to the fridge.  It was sparse; a half empty gallon of milk sat next to a Tupperware container filled with potato salad.  Other odds and ends littered the remaining shelves.  Nothing looked appetizing.  He closed the fridge and walked back upstairs.

He lied down, this time his heart was slower and his breathing more even.  It was as if reality had finally sunk its deep grip into his consciousness.  He felt better, not recovered, but better.  By morning he would be back to normal, no need to tell anyone, just a little piece of him gone or changed, he wasn’t sure which.

It wasn’t worth it to be sad, or long for the ‘what ifs.’  It was only worth it to move on.  It was time to go to sleep.  There is only so much you can make yourself do and the rest you have to let happen.