take me off the list – i don’t want to be missed.

Good to see you again.

God, I can’t stand this heat. How do you manage?

You know, everyone gets so excited when the weather turns warm, but it’s March, for heaven’s sake. You and I both know what happens when it hits eighty degrees in March.

That’s right. A tornado.

I can see dark clouds already.

So how was your week?

Now don’t tell me that you’re still mad. You really don’t have any reason to be mad. None at all. I was just posing a question. I think you’re on a journey. A search. You’re looking for something. I just want to know what it is you’re looking for.

You don’t know?

That’s alright. I didn’t either. For the longest time, I didn’t know. I was aware that the malaise had crept up on me and morning noon and night all I knew was sadness. You remember what it was like. You were there. It was awful. I never stopped going to class, but I slept as late as I could. I went back to bed when I get home in the afternoon. I never went out. That was the malaise, alright, taking Nyquil on a Friday night before ten o’clock, just so I could fall asleep.

It was the worst on my birthday. Of course you remember that. I had dinner with my family and then came back to our place. The malaise was with me, like it always was and I didn’t care about a birthday. How old was I that year? Twenty-four. A graduate student with no direction. The malaise was heavy, hanging over me like New Orleans humidity. And I could barely take it. So I went to bed and when nine o’clock rolled around and you walked in with a dozen people eager to wish me well, I pretended to be sick and sent everyone away. That was a sickness of a different sort that I could tell friends – kind gentlemen and beautiful women – to go away so that I could be alone in a dark room on an October night with a bottle of Jim Beam under the bed, and smoking cigarettes in the bathroom with the vent on so we wouldn’t lose our deposit.

Go ahead and laugh. It’s ok. I don’t mind. It was pretty damned pathetic when you think about it.

Oh, there’s that waitress again. She’s looking at you. You don’t think so? You’re going to have to find out sooner or later..

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