Staring off into the distance, Edgar became unaware of the conversation around him. Despite the fact that he was in a room full of people, he felt completely alone. He looked down at his drink, which he had been nursing all night. The dark liquor swirled around in circles, constantly moving but never really going anywhere. As he stared at the faces around him, Edgar thought to himself that he remembered being like them; happy and carefree. On thinking about it more though, he realized that wasn’t true. He had never been happy.
Sure there were moments when he smile and forgot about the blackness, the darkness that was always lurking in the corner of his soul. But it had never been more than just a momentary distraction.
“Ed, tell her about that time that lady yelled at you for selling her an open can of beer.”
“That time at the grocery. You remembered selling her the can like tow hours before she came back in.”
“ Oh right,” he chuckled distractedly. “This chick came up to me will I was sweeping up the aisle and started screaming at me about selling her can open can of beer. I was like ‘There is no way that is possible’. And she held the can up in my face and showed me two little holes in the bottom of the can. She had like tried to shotgun it and then thought she could get another can for free if she yelled long enough. I was just like ‘There is no fucking way you are getting another beer lady.”
The people at the table chuckled and Edgar did too. More to make himself look comfortable than anything else.
“ Yea we got the craziest people all the time at that store. One time this guy came in and was shopping around for a while, and all of a sudden sprints to the bathroom. Left his cart in the middle of the aisle and everything. I was like whatever, when you gotta go you gotta go. And then about ten minutes later I see him leave the bathroom and walk right out of the store. And he got in his car and drove. He totally shit his pants.”
“I always kinda felt bad for that guy,” Edgar chuckled. “I’ve had a few close calls in my day. I’d hate to be out renting movies and start prairie-dogging and have to run to the bathroom, only to get there too late and have to leave without my Girls Gone Wild dvd.”
Everyone at the table chuckled. “Not only have I just shit my pants but now I’m not getting laid tonight.”
“Oh you never know, Ed, some women are into a guy shitting his pants in public,” Brianna said with a smile across her face. “They could change you like a baby. It’s that dominance stuff. Drives ‘em wild.”
“I don’t think any woman would want to change my shitty underwear. I’ve been living on a steady diet of asparagus and sauerkraut.”
“Asparagus makes your pee smell, you dumbass,” Jackson shot through his laughter as he shoved Edgar playfully.
“Not they way I’ve been eating it.”
The conversation drifted to other stories about funny memories they had from their time together. Jackson told the story about the time he got caught masturbating in the shower at summer camp, and Brianna told the one about making out with a girl at a party, only to find out on Monday that she was her English teacher’s daughter. He ended up giving her a C-.
Amy didn’t have much to say, mostly just chuckling here and there. She was always the shy one, and it was her shyness that intrigued Edgar. Intrigued him enough to pull him out of the abyss for an hour or two. He knew that she was just being polite when she took the time to talk to him. Edgar knew she had a boyfriend, the same boyfriend she had had since high school. And Jackson was a good guy. One of Edgar’s closest friends. But he could dare to dream, he often mused to himself. Occasionally he would allow himself a few moments of happiness and think about what their life would be like together.
Then reality, that cold bitch, would slap him in his face and he would realize it would never be.
The night dragged on and Edgar sat quietly, sharing the occasional short story, much to the delight of everyone at the table. He had always been the funny one. It had never been a problem for him to make friends. But he never really made friends, rather they made him. Edgar ordered more and more drinks each time he saw the waiter. Nobody seemed to notice as he got further and further ahead of them.
Finally someone suggest that they needed to get home for work in the morning and everyone said their goodbyes. Edgar stopped at the gas station at the end of his street and bought his supplies for the rest of the night. A bottle of vodka and a 24 pack of beer. It didn’t really matter what brand, they all did the same thing Edgar thought. He grabbed a pack of Reds too. He hadn’t been smoking, but he figured he’d need it tonight.
When he got back home, he plopped down in front of the and got more and more drunk. The more he drank, the more clearly he could see the abyss, the darkness that wrapped around his shoulders and covered his eyes. He saw life as if looking through a window, with time passing by as if it had forgotten about him. He knew he had given up, given up on the world as the world had given up on him. He drank himself to sleep, and passed out in front of the tv, a rerun of the Andy Griffith Show was playing in the background.
“Why don’t we start with what you want to get out of our visit today,” the psychiatrist offered gently, looking at her with his legs crossed, pen in hand, ready to write down anything important.
“I’m here because I’m extremely depressed. I don’t have good days anymore, I used to have one or two a week, but they’ve gone away. I’m having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. I just want to sleep all the time.”
“Would you say you are lethargic or would you describe as your disposition?”
“I’d definitely say my disposition. It’s not the I’m tired, its that I want to sleep so that I don’t have to be awake. But I haven’t been able to get much sleep anyway.”
“How many ours would you say you’re getting a night?”
“Maybe like two of three.”
“Ok. Are you taking anything to help you sleep right now?”
“No, all I am taking is my antidepressant.”
“Which one are you taking?”
“Ok. Do you know what dosage you are on?”
“I want to say its 75 milligrams once a day, but I’m not sure. I only take one pill in the morning.”
“Do you remember if it’s extended release? Does it have an XR or an ER after the name on the bottle?”
“ Yea it has an XR.”
“ Ok. So with your trouble sleeping, are you having trouble getting to sleep or are you having trouble staying asleep?”
“I would say its both. When I lay down I just can’t stop thinking about stuff.”
“What do you think about?”
“I don’t know. Nothing specific. Just stuff that makes me stressed, things that I am sad about.”
“Alright, could you think of just one example for the sake of discussion?”
“I guess I think a lot about my break up, about how much I miss him.”
“Do you think about why you broke up?”
“Yea. I think about that day a lot.”
“Do you feel like talking about that?”
“I don’t think I’m ready for that just yet,” she said as she wiped away a tear as it streamed from her eye.
“That’s alright, we don’t have to talk about that today. But I would like to talk about it sometime in the future. I think that would be very beneficial for you.”
“I know. I’m just still trying to process it.”
“Ok. That is perfectly fine. I’m thinking about giving you something to help you get to sleep. What do you think about that?”
“I think that would be ok.”
“How do you think the Effexor is working?”
“It is helping I feel like. I have noticed that it kind of dulls the sharpness of it.”
“Ok, that’s good. I think we will keep that going at the same dose. Is that alright?
“Yea that is fine.”
“Ok. I’ll get those sent in and I want to see you back in four weeks, ok?”
“Alright, Amy take care and have a good weekend.”
“Thank you. I will try. You have a good weekend too.”
Any walked out of the office, towards the front desk. She stared at the walls as she walked. The walls seemed to go on forever. The patterns they made going on and on into infinity. She reached the front desk and made an appointment for one month. The receptionist was an attractive man in his mid-20s. Amy wondered what he did when he got caught in traffic. Would he get angry and yell and honk his horn, thinking that he could solve his problems by scaring them away?
As she drove home, she thought about Jackson. She hadn’t told her friends that they had broken up. They still hung out together with their friends, and from his actions she figured he hadn’t told them either. She had really tried to be the girl that he needed, but in the last few months that hadn’t been enough for him. He would get upset, wondering why she was always sad and why she wouldn’t talk to him about it.
As if on cue, her phone began ringing. Jackson was calling.
“Hey. How did your appointment go?”
“It went alright. I’m staying on the same dose of my antidepressant and I’m starting something for sleep.”
“That will be good for you. You don’t get enough sleep.”
“Yea I think it will be helpful.”
“Are you coming out tonight with us?”
“I was planning on it. I’ll have to see how much reading I have to get done for Psych.”
“You should come. I would like to see you. I hardly see you anymore.”
“I know. I’ve just been busy. I’ve had a lot of homework and stuff.”
“I know, but still I would like to see you sometimes. I don’t want you to feel like you can’t come out because I’m gonna be there, because thats not the case.”
“I know it’s not. So have you told anybody?”
“No I haven’t. I was going to wait and let you tell them whenever you are ready too.”
“Ok. I appreciate that.”
“Yea. No problem.”
“Alright I better let you go. Traffic is getting a little backed up.”
“Ok. Well I’ll see you tonight right?”
“Yea I’ll be there.”
“Ok see you soon”
Amy knew right then that she wasn’t going to end up going. It wasn’t because she didn’t want to see Jackson, it was because she didn’t want to see anyone. She didn’t want to try to feel better and distract herself from this hole that was chewing its way through her heart. She was going to go home, take on of those sleeping pills and try to finish her psych reading before she feel asleep.
Jackson knew she wasn’t going to end up coming out with them. He had done all he could, and he couldn’t keep exhausting himself trying to make someone happy that wanted to be miserable.
“Whatever,” he thought to himself. “I’m gonna forget about this and just have a good time tonight.” He thought Brianna had always had a crush on him, but he knew that she also frequently hooked up with girls. Which wasn’t a big deal, but he didn’t want to bring a football to a soccer game. He figured he would sit next to her and try to see if she was receptive to his charm.
He was the first to get there. He grabbed a booth and ordered himself a beer. Not too long after Brianna showed up.
“How’s it going?”
“I’m good. This cold is killing me though. My nipples could cut through glass right now.”
“Damn. You are cold.”
“Where is Amy at? She’s coming tonight right?”
“She told me she was but I don’t think she is going too.”
“Oh no. How are you guys doing?”
“Well its complicated. Can you keep something between you and me?”
“Yea of course.”
“Well Amy and I broke up.”
“Oh no! I’m so sorry. When did this happen?”
“Like two or three weeks ago.”
“Jesus. Why didn’t you guys tell anybody? I’m so sorry. I feel terrible.”
“It’s alright. Thank you. I wanted to let Amy tell everybody when she was ready.”
“Oh well that is sweet of you. God I can’t believe you two broke up. You guys have been together the entire time that we have been friends.”
“Yea it was a shock for me too. To realize that my relationship that I’ve been working on for six years is going to end, its heavy.”
“I’m sorry. Fuck that is terrible. Who broke up with who? Sorry, is that too much information?”
“No no your fine. I was the one that officially ended it. But if I am being completely honest, I feel like Amy is the one that made the decision for me.”
“Man that is rough. Well I know its a cliche, but you can always talk to me if you need too.”
“I appreciate that B.”
“Oh of course, of course. How have you been handling it?”
“Pretty good I think. I try to distract myself from it as much as I can.”
“I hear that. Let’s get some drinks, shall we?”
“Sounds good. What are you having?”
“I’ll just have a beer.”
“Ok I’ll go grab that. Wait, is Pabs and Henry coming?”
“No they texted me that they got called back to work. So its us and Stevie.”
“Oh shit Stevie texted me earlier and said she wasn’t going to make it either.”
“So if Amy isn’t coming it looks like its you and me.”
“Looks like it. If you want to take off and come back another night when the others can come, I won’t be mad or anything.”
“Oh no I’m cool with it being just the two of us.”
“Alright sweet. I’ll go grab that beer.”
Brianna pulled out her phone as Jackson walked up to the bar. She sent a text to Pabs saying the others couldn’t make it and that they would have to reschedule. Brianna looked up to the bar where Jackson was standing. This was her shot. She had always had a crush on him. She wasn’t sure but she thought that he might like her too.
Jackson walked back to the booth. “Here you go. Two ice cold cervezas from the hills of Mexico.”
“Does Mexico have hills?” she chuckled.
“Well I can’t disagree with that logic.”
“So wha’t up with you? You still seeing that girl that works at the post office?”
“Oh no, thank God. I was able to shake that girl a couple of weeks ago.”
“What? She wasn’t that bad. She seemed nice.”
“Yea that’s just it, she was too nice. Always doing whatever I wanted to do. Always asking if I needed anything, if I was Ok.”
“Oh she was a clinger.”
“Yea fucking stage 5. I mean she was a nice girl and we had fun. I’m just not into letting people take care of me.”
“This from the girl that suggested that I find a woman who would change my shitty underpants.”
“Oh I forgot about that. Well I mean that is cool, once in a while, but nonstop is just too much. Let me do my own thing for a little bit, you know.”
“I guess. So no girlfriend. What about work? How’s the photography?”
“That is actually going much better than I had thought. I set up two jobs for this week.”
“Oh that’s great.”
“Yea I thought for sure after I left the magazine I would never be able to find anything that I loved doing. I got lucky I guess.”
“You? How’s the real estate game?”
“Ew its kind of shitty right now but I’ve got two places that I’ve had some interest in. Still trying to figure out if its for me.”
“Aren’t we all.”
The two of them laughed and talked for the rest of the night, both finding solace and comfort in the other’s attention. Both blissfully distracted from their own lives, which they would rather not think about.
Edgar woke up with a start. An old war movie was playing on the tv that he had fallen asleep in front of. Edgar sat up as the hangover smacked him in the face. He started his morning ritual, stumbling to the sink, grabbing a cup from the mountain of dirty dishes. He filled it with water and gulped it down, and filled it again. He grabbed some Tylenol and threw them in his mouth and washed them down with another gulp of water.
He went into the bathroom and turned on the shower. As he was getting undressed he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. Bloodshot eyes, disheveled hair, traces of vomit in his unmanaged beard.
“This is what your life has become,” he thought to himself.
He felt the shame of the morning as clearly as he felt the cold shower was over him. When he got out of the shower he looked at the clock and realized he was going to be late for work. Again. His boss would tell him not to let it happen again, and then forget about it until the next day. Edgar felt shame for that as well. He felt ashamed about everything he did.
As he got into his car, he realized he had not gotten gas the day before. He would have to stop and get some, making him even later than he was already.
While standing next to his car pumping gas, he looked at the minivan a few pumps away. The family was going somewhere on vacation. The kids were sitting in the back glued to their phones, the dad was sitting in the passengers seat while the other dad pumped the gas.
“I need a vacation,” Edgar thought to himself. “Yea, I’ll take two weeks off and get sober. That will fix everything.”
He was set. The he got to work he apologized to his boss for being late, and his boss gave him the usual “stern” talking too. Edgar asked him if he could use his vacation time the next week, and his boss agreed.
For the first time in a long time, Edgar was somewhat excited. He was excited to feel better. He was excited to feel anything other than what he had been feeling really.
He was determined to make this work.
That lasted for the first few days of his vacation. He had stopped drinking, but soon realized that he didn’t feel any better. Soon he regretted taking the time off work as boredom gave way to despair.
He began watching documentaries on tb. They were al about terrible things. Child predators, meth addiction, anything and everything Edgar could find to make him more upset. In a perverted way he enjoyed the pain. He rejoiced in the darkness.
He tried to take his mind off himself by focusing on other’s pain. One day he went to the movies to see a movie about a woman who becomes a widow during World War II. Edgar thought for sure this would distract him from his own pain.
How could he connect to a woman who’s husband died fighting in a war? There was nothing in common between the two of them.
At the movie theater, he went to the box office to buy his ticket. As he stood in line, as he often did, he began to look around at the other people who were there. There was a woman sitting in the lobby, looking anxiously at her phone. She was clearly waiting for someone, and it seemed that the someone she was waiting for was not coming. The woman was trying to appear like she was fine, but every so often Edgar could catch her stealing glances at the other people at the theater. Edgar knew why. She was trying to see if anybody else was looking at her, noticing how nervous she was.
Edgar felt a pang of empathy for this girl. He knew what it was like to be worried about others noticing how worried you are.
Suddenly, Edgar got the urge to go up to this girl. He wanted to prevent her from feeling the way that he did.
“No I can’t go talk to her. She will think I’m a crazy person.”
The girl continued to look around nervously, and then back at her phone, and then around again. Edgar bought his ticket and went inside to sit down. He sat at a table in the lobby not far from the girl.
Her hair was a soft brown, draped down her back with just the slightest curl. If she hadn’t been so upset, her back would have been rosy and carefree, and Edgar pictured himself making her smile. What beautiful smile it would be.
Edgar continued to debate with himself about whether or not he should go up to her. He longed to make her happy. To see how her face would glow when he would make her smile. Finally, he decided that he was going to talk to her. He would try to ease his way into a conversation with her by asking her if she had seen the movie he was going to see.
“No, that’s fucking creepy,” he admonished himself for even thinking about doing something so stupid.
He looked back at her. God, she was beautiful. She was the answer. He thought about taking her on a date, how much fun they would have. He could feel the darkness lifting as he daydreamed about the girl that he had never met.
“No, no, no I’m being a fucking creep. I’ve never even met this girl. Who talks to somebody they don’t know at a movie theater? Freaks and perves, that’s who.”
But he could not help himself. The girl got up and went to the concession stand, still visibly nervous. He couldn’t believe what kind of a douche would stand up a girl like that. As she reached the front of the line, he heard her voice for the first time. It was shy and timid and it was the voice of an angel. Edgar had never been more sure about anything that he had to met this girl.
“Come on man, grow some balls.”
Edgar gathered up the tiny amount of courage that he had remaining and got up. He walked over to the concession stand and stood in line behind her. His heart began racing, his palms became sweaty. As she went to grab her wallet out of her purse, she dropped it on the ground and it slid over and bumped into Edgar’s foot.
This is it. The moment had finally presented itself. As the girl reached down to pick up her wallet, she muttered a quiet “sorry”.
“It’s alright,” was the only response Edgar could muster. Slowly, doubt and fear crept over him and the familiar darkness returned. The girl picked up her wallet and paid. She then went back to where she had been sitting before.
Edgar got the strong urge that he wanted to leave. He turned around and walked out the front door back to his car. He drove home, but not before he stopped at the gas station to buy a bottle of vodka and a pack of beer.
When he got home, he sat down and turned on the tv. As he was pouring himself a drink, he realized that he didn’t want to drink. He didn’t want to do anything. He curled up into a ball on the couch and began to cry uncontrollably.
He didn’t know why he felt the way he did. He had always felt this way. He wasn’t sure if he could ever feel any other way. As he began to soak the cushions, his phone rang. He had no desire to answer it. He wouldn’t be able to talk to whoever it was anyway.
Edgar felt the world around him as a foreign place. He was not comfortable with it, and he never had been. But the acuteness of the discomfort was never clearer than it was right then. He didn’t belong in this world. He wasn’t sure if he belonged anywhere.
Amy opened her eyes. She was laying on her back, looking straight up at the ceiling. This was the exact position she had gone to sleep in the night before. Those sleeping pills had done the trick she thought as she stared at the ceiling above her.
She had tried many nights to count the number of white dots before, thinking that it would help her go to sleep. She had finished counting them all in three hours. Then she tried to see what patterns she could find among the sea of three hundred thousand, seven hundred and sixty-four dots.
In the beginning, she had seen simple patterns; a smiley face here, a dog there. Then entire scenes from movies would unfold on the ceiling before her. It was b better than watching tv, she thought. She could lay in bed all day and just stare at that ceiling, like taking a glimpse into the ever-expanding universe.
The minutes would turn into hours, night into day and then back again to night. As still as Amy stayed, she could not even slow the process down by a second. She would lay there sometimes all weekend, just starring at that lofty ceiling. Trying to unravel its secrets and all of its intrigues.
Laying there a scene began to unravel before her. She could see herself with Jackson, out at the bar with all their friends. Edgar was telling one of his stories and everybody was laughing. As the Amy on the ceiling looked away for a moment, Edgar’s eyes rested on her. It was imperceptible to anyone at the bar, but Amy could see it clearly now from her bed.
As Amy looked back, their eyes met across the table, just for a brief moment. It couldn’t have been more than a second and then time took it away with it’s constant need to keep moving.
Amy’s eyes glazed over and tears welled up within them. She closed them and wiped away the tears, and when she opened them again the scene had changed. It was a memory that Amy wanted to forget, one that she had given to time to take away from her, but that time had refused to accept.
Amy was walking down a hallway in a house that she knew well. She was worried, but what for? Looking up at the scene, Amy knew why, but as she walked down the hall she had no idea. Amy tried to scream, to warn herself about what was coming, but she was a million miles away laying there on her bed. She tried to close her eyes, but the scene continued going in her head. There was no escape.
Suddenly, the scene shifted and Amy felt relief but it would prove to be short-lived. The new scene was one that she knew well also. It was herself again, this time in a hospital waiting room. She was crying inconsolably. Jackson was there, trying to comfort her, but knowing that he couldn’t. He was crying too.
A doctor came out and talked to Jackson, but Amy couldn’t hear what she said. It didn’t matter. She knew anyway. Jackson fell into a chair, eyes wide with schock, and then gripping his chest as he began to sob violently.
Just when Amy thought she couldn’t handle anymore, the scene shifted again. She was staring at a river, its water moving swiftly and without mercy. In the middle of the river, Amy could see a branch stuck, and clinging to the branch was a young deer. The deer had panic in her eye. She looked all around hoping to fine something to grab on too. But there was nothing. The deer cried out for help, but it’s cries were swallowed up by the river. The deer knew she was going to die. Still, she struggled and fought the river, all in vain.
Suddenly the river ripped the branch loose, and the deer cried out one last time in agony, and then she too was swallowed up by the water.
Amy came too on her bed. She was breathing heavily, and she was covered in a nervous sweat. She looked around and was confronted by darkness. Slowly she was able to calm herself down. It was night. She looked over at the clock next to her bed. 2:38. She had been laying there all day. She got up and walked to the bathroom.
She turned on the light and opened the cupboard to get one of her sleeping pills. She put the pill on her tongue and took a drink of water. As she closed the cupboard, she saw her reflection in the mirror. Her eyes were bloodshot, her hair was mangled. She had big bags under her eyes, looking as if she hadn’t slept in days, even though she knew that she had just slept all day.
“Is this what your life has become?”
She stared at her reflection and it back at her. Finally, she turned off the light and went back to bed. She laid down on her back and looked up at the ceiling to see what it had hidden for her. But there was nothing to be seen tonight. She began to feel sleep coming over her. Amy rolled over to her side, and closed her eyes. Sleep took hold of her.
Jackson spent as much time as he could with Brianna. He was falling hard, and she was too he thought. She was everything Amy had not been. When something upset her, she would tell him and they would figure it out together. They didn’t spend much time with the rest of their friends. They hung out by themselves and got lost together. They would talk for hours about anything and everything. No matter how much time they spent together, it never seemed like too much.
They had carved out their own oasis together. Time stood still when he was with her.
The two of them were taking a trip together for Thanksgiving.
“Alright what letter are we on now?”
“I think we are up to w.”
“Ok something with a w, something with a w.”
“I’m getting bored of this.”
Jackson chuckled. “I was thinking the exact same thing.”
“Why did we decide to do this again?” Brianna asked rhetorically.
“Come on we are having fun.”
“Speak for yourself.”
“Alright what would you rather be doing?”
“ I can think of a few things.”
“Oh I bet you could. Let’s play another round.”
“I don’t want to play that fucking game anymore.”
“Alright, damn,” Jackson said, not realizing that Brianna had switched from being playful to angry.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to snap at you. Let’s just talk, is that ok?”
“Ok what do you want to talk about?”
“Where do you see our relationship going?”
“Oh damn, getting right down to it. Ok, I guess I don’t know. I like things the way they are. Not in the sense that its just a fling, that’s not what I mean.”
“No, I get it. I like the way things are too. I guess I mean that how are we going to tell everyone? I mean you just broke up with Amy four weeks ago. We haven’t really talked about that.”
“I think I have been avoiding even thinking about that. I have no idea how we are going to tell everyone. Do we need too?”
“Well I mean I guess we don’t need too. I just don’t want to feel like we are hiding something.”
“Are we hiding something? Our friend group has kinda dissolved. The only person I still talk to is you. Occasionally I’ll shoot Pabs a text, but that’s about it.”
“Did you know he’s Dominican?”
“No, I guess I didn’t. I assumed he was Puerto Rican or something. I knew he wasn’t from Mexico or South America. Is that bad of me to say?”
Brianna chuckled and rolled her eyes. “Yea I think you are super racist for saying that.”
“Was it the blond hair? Or the blue eyes that gave me away?”
“I think it was the white hood I found in your closet.”
“Shit, I thought I had hid that better.”
“You’re a dumbass,” Brianna laughed as she punched Jackson’s arm playfully. “But seriously, do you think we need to tell Amy?”
“Fuck, I don’t know. I haven’t talked to her in weeks. Even when we did talk, she was just telling what I wanted to hear so I would leave her alone.”
“Did that bother you?”
“It did at first. But I had to stop letting it get to me. There was nothing I could do anymore. I had to forget and move on.”
“I haven’t heard from her either. I tried to text her a couple of times but I never heard back.”
Jackson sighed. “That’s how it goes with her. At some point I just told myself I wouldn’t do it anymore. If she wants to be alone that much, I had to let her.”
“I’m sorry, baby. So I guess we don’t have to worr yabout telling her. What about Pads and Henry? Or Stevie?”
I don’t think we need too. I mean just because I can’t see any of them caring that much, could you?”
“No, I guess not. I don’t know, I just get paranoid sometimes that we are being shady.”
“Why would you think that?”
“I don’t know. We did start dating right after you and Amy broke up.”
“Well, I wouldn’t say we started “dating” right after.”
“Well what the fuck would you call it?”
“Woah woad I didn’t mean anything bad. Jesus, I just meant we didn’t start dating right away. I would say we started dating like after a couple weeks.”
“Sorry. I don’t know why I’m getting so upset about it.”
“It’s fine. I’m sorry if it makes you upset, but I don’t think we are doing anything wrong.”
“I know, I know. I’ve just got to get my mind off it.”
“I can tell you with a significant amount of confidence that I don’t think that Amy would give a shit about us even if she did know. I mean I don’t even think she gave a shit about me for the last few months of our relationship.”
“I’m sorry, Jackson. You don’t deserve that. But hey, you are with somebody now who does give a shit. Two shits in fact.”
A smile crept reluctantly over Jackson’s face. He glanced over at Brianna. They both smiled.
The light seemed to get brighter at that moment, and Jackson knew he had made a good choice.
But the light didn’t just seem to be getting brighter, it was getting brighter. The light was flooding in through the front windshield from two headlights that belonged to a truck headed head first into their car. The truck was driven by a man that neither Jackson or Brianna had ever met or would ever meet in their lifetimes, despite the fact that their lives were merged permanently. Before Jackson had turned his head back towards the road, the truck had struck his car, and his head slammed against the dashboard at the same time that Brianna’s did. Both of their skulls fractured, and they died instantly. Moments after, their bodies were crushed by the impact of the truck. The entire time that elapsed between when the truck hit the car, and when both vehicles finally came to a rest was only forty-seven seconds.
Many things can happen in forty-seven seconds. A high school football team can score the winning touchdown, a man can run to the bathroom at a movie, while another man can realize he is in love with a girl, and that girl can pick out a t-shirt at the merchandise tent in the same amount of time.
Nobody found the cars until the next morning when a road construction crew drove by on their way to work.