“I’m exhausted by possibilities,” Sandy said, slumped on the couch and sipping some water from a bottle, “There’s too many options now. There’s too many ways for things to go wrong. The amount of possibilities and the amount of ways said possibilities could fail are simply overwhelming.”
“I agree with you, but here’s the thing,” Derek replied, sitting in the armchair across from her, “We have more possibility than anyone ever has had in the world. We should be lucky. That’s what people tell us, right? ‘You have so much today, you should be grateful! We didn’t have this many choices when we were kids!’. As if that’s my fault in particular, or something. They say that we should be thankful and that we’re lucky but they only say that because they don’t recognize the amount of problems we’re faced with now. The amount of….just…sheer overwhelming terror at the thought that at any second, anything we’re doing could backfire and we could easily have it start a chain reaction that’ll ruin our entire lives.”
“I hate online banking,” Sandy said, taking up the cue to speak, “I hate having to make pithy little comments on social media, and uploading fucking photos of myself so people can think I’m ok. I’m not ok. If I were ok, I wouldn’t have to show everyone how perfectly happy I am because I’d be so thrilled that things are going right for me in this day and age that I wouldn’t have the time to tell everyone how right things are going. I hate having to reply to messages instantly or it’ll be assumed that I’m mad at someone when really I’m probably either working or reading or having an orgasm and the timing is just inopportune. What’s worse though is that I’m tired of being the exact sort of cliche that’s said to exist of people my age. I’m cynical about being told that we’re cynical. It’s a vicious cycle.”
Derek stood up and lit a cigarette, then start pacing the room, running his free hand through his shaggy blonde hair. He looked out the window at the street below and sighed.
“I would kill myself,” he said, “But the offchance that reincarnation exists and that I would have to go through the first 23 years again makes it not really worth it.”
“I know what you mean,” Sandy said, laying down on her back on the couch now, tossing the empty water bottle to the floor and letting her dark almond hair splay out over the cushions, “Even if it meant I could have a better life, a more successful life, the fact that I’d have to go through school again and puberty and everything else simply makes me reject even the notion of the idea. I guess it’s a good anti suicide measure, though. I’m not even mad at myself for not succeeding. I’m mad at myself for letting myself be mad at my parents for being disappointed at me for not succeeding. I could care less one way or the other about success. I just hate that they’re hung up on it.”
“Success is good,” Derek said, “But in the end, what’s it get you? You still end up in a hole.”
“Yeah but maybe it’s a nicer hole. A hole with like…a slot machine or something to pass the time of eternity.”
“There’s no nicer holes. There’s holes. That’s what we all amount to.”
“Who’re you, Charles Bukowski? What’s with the sudden infatuation of death and final resting places? Like, dude, I know that’s where I end up no matter what I do or what kind of person I am or what successes I have, but I don’t need to be constantly reminded of it every five goddamn seconds. My life is filled with enough annoyances, enough things to worry about…I don’t need to add consistent mortality notifications to that. I know I’m gonna die. It’s an unavoidable fact. You know what else is an unavoidable fact? Weight gain. Doesn’t mean I’m going to live my entire life knowing that at any second whatever I’m eating could give me a few pounds and that I should just never eat again. I eat and I gain weight. I’m alive and I will die. That’s just how shit goes.”
“I guess that’s a healthier way to go through life, sure…”
“I mean, I’m not saying I’m not afraid of dying or that I completely ignore the fact that I will die, but I don’t dwell on it. I don’t spend all my time thinking ‘if only I could die and come back’. In the context of this conversation I agreed with you, but it’s something you seem to bring up on a day to day basis.”
“Because I’m miserable!” Derek shouted, “Because I’m fucking miserable! I’m here, in this goddamn shitty apartment discussing the same fucking shit that every fucking millenial discusses! We’re such a cliche that even the cliche examples of us know they’re cliches! I’m so upset that…that this is what I am, and what I inhabit.”
“I know,” Sandy said, sitting upright now and pulling her hair back into a ponytail, “That’s why we’re having this conversation, that’s why we have this same conversation once a week, it seems. I’m tired of it too, but man, this is it. This is reality. Good and bad. Right and wrong. Moral and immoral. You have to do what you have to do to make it. I want to be a dancer. I want to go to school and become a dancer, but my parents think it’s a dying art and a waste of time and money and they won’t foot the bill. I’m not going to get myself into debt, so that’s that. I’m annoyed at that fact but it’s the fact of my reality. I’m a failure. Time to move on.”
Derek came around the table and sat down next to her, leaning his head on her shoulder. She smiled briefly, and patted his leg.
“Don’t worry,” she said, “Uplifting speeches withstanding, shimmers of hope or not, I’m still depressed. I’ll always be depressed. But that doesn’t mean I have to be a cliche of that as well.”
And Derek smiled.