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Let’s Be Sorry For Everything

Sandy and Derek were sitting in their bedroom on the bed, legs crossed, a bottle of vodka on the table behind Derek and each with a shot glass in their hands. Sandy had her hair pulled back in a ponytail, while Derek was pouring a little bit of vodka in their respective glasses.

“So, the idea of this is to forgive ourselves, eachother or someone else for something with each shot,” Derek said, “That way we can stop being so damn angry about every little thing in our lives.”

“Okay,” Sandy said, holding her glass to eye level, looking through the clear liquid, “And if someone starts to veer things into a direction the other doesn’t want to go, then they can just veto that.”

“Sure, that sounds fair,” Derek said. Sandy threw her head back and took her shot, then wiped her mouth on her arm and exhaled, shaking her head a little. She finally looked at Derek and grimaced.

“Ugh, I forgot how sick Vodka makes me,” she said softly, “I’m really sorry that I made things hard when we were first getting together. I’m sorry if I made you so uncertain about me, yourself or anything else. You don’t deserve that.”

Derek smiled and took his shot, then gave a gross look on his face, nearly gagging, “Oh jesus, you weren’t kidding, that shit is tough. Ugh. Alright, well, I’m sorry if I ever get on you for complaining. You have every right to be upset, because shit sucks for us. I’m sorry if I ever made you feel like you can’t speak your mind.”

Sandy nearly blushed, feeling so lucky to have him, as he poured them another set of shots. Sandy pushed her bangs from her eyes and stretched her legs out, resting her feet in his lap, looking around their bedroom.

“I think I wanna redecorate,” Sandy said, “This place is lacking any sort of personality lately. I think we need to do something about it.”

“I’m good with that idea,” Derek said, as he finished pouring and started massaging Sandy’s feet while she took her next shot. She hissed through her teeth and shook her head a little.

“Well,” she began, “I guess I’m sorry for Reggie. When I was in college, I took this class about feminine representation in literature, specifically when written by straight guys, and how they’re rarely heroines and when they are heroines they’re overly sexualized because that’s the only way they can see us. Anyway, there was this girl named Regina, or Reggie, who sat in the class a few seats down from me. We started talking, we became friends and went to parties and stuff together since we didn’t wanna go alone, even though once there we usually just made fun of the people there. I guess she wanted to get to know me cause she was gay and one night she suggested we make out, just for something to do.”

“And?” Derek asked.

“…well, we did. We did…more…than just make out. Point is, the next day she completely blacked me out, like it’d never happened. So, for someone to make the claim that only men can see women as objects is an unfair subjection, because let me tell you, some women are just as predatory. Made me feel sick with myself, and so I just went and hooked up with multiple girls that year, so I guess I apologize to myself too for putting myself through that,” Sandy said, sighing and looking at her empty glass, “…I’m glad you never do that to me.”

“Of course not,” Derek said, “Bottoms up.”

He threw his head back and took his drink, exhaling afterwards, and then squinting. He finally opened his eyes, looked at Sandy and felt tears swell up in his eyes.

“I’m sorry for…” Derek started, but he couldn’t figure out the words he wanted to use. After a few moments of pause and reflect, he finally managed to say, “I’m just sorry. I’m sorry to everyone who’s ever had to put up with me. My parents, any friends…you, most of all.”

“Ditto,” Sandy said, “We’ve been kind of bad for eachother, but at least we recognize that, and we know it’s wrong, yet inevitably a part of being in a relationship, and we try to fix it, unlike other people our age who simply say if someone treats you bad once or disagrees with anything you say then you should dump them immediately. Ridiculous. That isn’t a relationship. That’s narcissism. There’s a difference between straight up abuse and disagreement.”

“Right, right,” Derek said, chewing on his bottom lip, “I’m going to get another bottle from the corner store, this one barely had any left in it. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

As he got off the bed, he leaned down and stroked her cheek with his fingers, then grabbed his jacket, pulled on his shoes and headed out the door. Sandy laid on the bed, looking up at the ceiling. Eventually, she got off the bed, got her laptop out and started doing some research. She eventually wound up with a phone number, which she plopped into her cell and dialed.

One ring. Two rings. Three rings. Four-

“Hello?” a voice asked, “Carter residence.”

“…Reggie Carter?” Sandy asked, wondering if this was a bad idea.

“Yes? Who wants to know?” Reggie asked.

“I, uh, I’m…Sandy Price, we…we went to college together and-”

“Sandy?” Reggie asked, her voice staying the same deadpan it had been since she’d answered, “Good lordy, what’re you doing calling me this late, or, at all?”

“My…boyfriend, guyfriend, whatever, we’re sitting around and just talking about things we’re sorry for and…and I thought about you. I thought about, like, the time we spent in school together and shit and how like, I don’t know, how we hung out and hooked up and I felt-”

“I am really sorry if I made you feel bad,” Reggie said, interrupting her, “I…I don’t like stopping people from speaking but I need you to know that, I feel really bad about it. You have to understand, my family was really close minded and conservative and I could never discuss anything about how I felt to anyone, so to find someone who…who I guess was kind of like me, it felt freeing in a way, you know? But I know I essentially came off as predatory and like I used you to figure myself out and I apologize if that’s messed with you over the years because that was not my overall intention one bit. I was just really focused on figuring me out after all those closed off years living at home.”

“I understand,” Sandy said, “I really do, like, god, living with my mother…she still doesn’t even understand who I am and why I’m not just like her, ya know. It’s so goddamned frustrating.”

Reggie giggled and sighed, “Sandy, I’ve thought about calling you, I really have. I just figured you didn’t want anyone drudging up shit from that point in time, like maybe you were just trying to black it all out or whatever, but I’m really glad that that isn’t the case.”

“What’re you doing up so late anyway?”

“Well it’s not like it’s a school night or anything,” Reggie replied, laughing, “No, my wife works nights so I sleep alone most of the time. I was just reading when you called.”

“Anything interesting?”

“Not really, symptoms of illnesses.”

“Are you a doctor?” Sandy asked.

“I’m sick,” Reggie said, stopping Sandy in her tracks, “I…uh…I guess about a year ago I had headaches and my hair started to come out a little, and I felt really nauseous, and I found out I have leukemia. It’s not life threatening just yet, so don’t worry, but it is…it’s scary, but we’re dealing with it.”

“I…I’m so sorry,” Sandy whispered, “I had no idea, obviously. I hope you’ll be okay.”

“Listen, why don’t we meet for lunch or something next week, and we can catch up more? I’m really tired these days, as you can imagine. I will call you tomorrow and we can set up a date or something,” Reggie said, and Sandy told her that would be fine. As they said their goodbyes and hung up both ends, Derek came back into the room with a bag. He dumped it on the bed, and out spilled another vodka bottle, a baby ruth and a horse racing magazine. Sandy held the phone to her chest, pacing back and forth at the end of the bed.

“…if I ever get sick, leave me, ok?” Sandy asked, “Don’t…don’t try and be all noble or whatever, just go. I don’t want to put you through that and have yet something else I’d need to apologize for in hell.”

“I like that you recognize you’re likely not going to heaven,” Derek said, smiling as he opened the bottle, “That’s nice, modesty is important in a friend.”

“There’s too damn much to apologize for,” Sandy said, sitting at the end of the bed, “I…we can have an entire drinking game dedicated to saying ‘I’m sorry’ but in the end, I’m going to just keep adding onto that list, having more things to be sorry for, and there’s no way in hell I’m ever going to get through them all by the time I die, that’s for sure. So, don’t become one of those people. If something happens to me, just leave and go about your life, because the last thing I need in addition to dying is also to hurt you.”

“That sounds fair enough,” Derek said, “…and you’re right, there’s too much to apologize for. That’s the problem with mistakes, it’s not something you do once or twice in your life. It’s something you continue to do forever. You will always make mistakes. They might not even be big mistakes, like hurting someone you shouldn’t have or whatever, but just little things, like parking in a handicapped spot and then someone else comes along who needs it. Mistakes make up the majority of our time here on earth. Memories are often just the things we’ve deemed good because they’re the things we didn’t make mistakes in. That’s why we remember them. We filter out the bad stuff so we can have nice things to look back on. But…when it gets down to it, the thing we do most in life is fuck up, and I guess that’s okay, because at least we know we’re not the only ones doing it. Everyone does it. That’s some level of solidarity, I suppose.”

Sandy reached for the bottle and took a long drink from it before handing it back to him. Derek unwrapped his candy bar and broke it in half, handing one half to her and then eating the other himself. Sandy filled her shot glass again and drank it.

“I’m sorry we decided to play this,” she said.

“Yeah, me too.”

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I Have Nothing Left To Say

I have nothing left to say, and this devastates me.

I have no more original thoughts of anything creative to say. I can’t create. I can’t dream. What does a “creative” person do when they can no longer create? They stop being, honestly, which is what’s happened to me. I just sort of….am, now. I sit and listen to music, I eat, I take care of the house. I just do things to fill the time in my day that used to go to creating art, and this is just….it’s soul crushing. I have nothing left inside of me that scratches to get out. That doesn’t let itself go until I vomit it up into some form of artistic expression. I don’t know how to exist like this, and I don’t want to exist like this.

But creativity isn’t something you can force, either, so a lot of it’s just sitting around and waiting for something to inspire me. For something to come to me, and for me to go, “Yeah, that’s okay, I’ll make that!”. I’m lost. I’m completely empty and cold and don’t know what to do anymore. I think sometimes some people are meant to give up on what they thought they were “meant” to do, a sort of realization that destiny isn’t a real thing and that no, you just sort of lied to yourself for a few good years and now the magic is gone and it’s time to grow up and realize you need to join the ‘real world’. What does one do when that happens? I think often they go mad, or become so depressed that they often kill themselves.

While I’m not in the market to die anytime soon, which is a step in the right direction, I suppose, it’s still not where I want to be. I don’t enjoy anything. I don’t enjoy creation and I don’t enjoy existing without creating. Where does that leave me? It often leaves me laying in my bed or on the couch and just staring at the ceiling or the wall. It leaves me empty. I have no desire to participate with other human beings, and I barely had any energy or willingness to even type this entry, let alone come up with something to type about. And how cliche is this? “Oh, waaah, I can’t create, I’m too depressed to create, guess I’ll talk about my depression!”

Now I’m nothing but a trope.

I started this blog with the intent on figuring out things about myself, but what happens when it turns out you have nothing inside of you worth learning about? When you’re just not that interesting? I don’t know, and I’m afraid to find out. Perhaps there’s nothing inside of me worthy of getting out, of being seen, of being heard. Art. Writing. These are the only things I know how to do. It’s how I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, for the last 15 years to make a living, and now even I’m realizing I have nothing worth listening to or looking at. At least people who read these blog posts are disappointed in short bursts once or twice a month, I’m disappointed in long stretches of time every single day because I’m stuck with me, and stuck with my failure.

Whatever. Who cares. Nobody cares when I have something to say, so why would anyone care when I have nothing to say. Sorry.

I’m really sorry.

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He’s Got Your Best Interests At Heart

There’s a little black shadowesque man who lives in the back of my head. I’m not sure when he moved in, but he’s been there for quite a long time now, I know that, because he’s been guiding me for a while, at least since childhood. He’s faceless, his limbs elongated, and he doesn’t speak. He communicates solely via telepathy. He’s filled with doubt, anxiety, sadness, fear and frustration. He’s constantly getting me to doubt everything I think or do. Anytime I think I might be about to accomplish something, he speaks up, stating, “This isn’t the right way to do this” or “It’ll never work, you know that, don’t you?”

At first I thought he was looking out for me. Keeping me from making mistakes, but no, he’s keeping me from making progress, and yet, since he’s been with me for so long now, I cannot function without him. Sometimes he takes time off, exiting through the small trap door he installed in the back door of my head, and I get left to my own devices. Upon his return, he sighs, rubbing his forehead with his lengthy fingers and says, “Look at this mess I have to clean up now.” He’s been there more than any mother or father, and is just as judgemental as they, but it’s not the same. His disappointment isn’t said with a bitterness, a venomous cynicism, whereupon he’s not actually putting me down but upset that, much like a small child, I cannot be without supervision. He’s upset. He wants me to be okay, but he himself isn’t even sure how to give me that peace of mind.

When in doubt, I often turn to him for advice. If I don’t think I’m making the right decision, I will ask his opinion, and if he even so much as hesitates in his response, I know not to continue with it. He argues with me that others are out to get me, that my family hates me, that I can’t have friends. He doesn’t believe any of that, but he himself doesn’t know how to fix it either. He’s just as clueless as I am. That’s what keeps us glued at the hip, like paper chain children. That’s why he stays. Because he knows I have nobody else, and I need someone to watch over me. Yet I know that there’s the possibility that I will lose him. That one day, I will wake up and feel ok, and he may never come back. That the space he’d occupied in the back of my head for so long will be gone, cleared of his few possessions and he will never return. I will go on to lead a good life, filled to the brim with possibilities, overflowing with happiness. Friends, a good job, a clean safe living space.

And despite this new social life, I’ll always feel alone, because nobody can fill the void that a piece of yourself once filled.

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This Is My Jam

When I was a little girl, every year in elementary school at the end of the year, they piled us into the auditorium like cattle, made us sit on the floor and watch a video presentation of photos and video clips and such taken over the course of the year of the kids, and along with the video was the song “Forever Young”. Every single year they did this, every single year we heard “Forever Young”.

Do you really want to live forever?

That’s an actual lyric from this song they played to kids in elementary schools. To be honest, I doubt a lot of kids wouldn’t take any note of that, but being who I am, I did, and it fucked with me. I had family members die when I was still in elementary school, it’s true, but I don’t think it was until having that hammered home in my head every fucking year that I truly became self aware of mortality. Ever since then, I’ve had a problem accepting that I will die, and once I had that realization, the realization that we all die anyway no matter what, I hit an even bigger realization: Why bother living at all. Hello suicidal tendencies, thanks Alphaville.

And with there being so many songs out there about mortality, about life and death and sadness and existence, why the fuck was it the quintessential 80s prom slow dance anthem that made me question life as I knew it? The real issue is that once you hit that peak, there’s no going back either. That’s one oopsie you can’t unwhoopsie. As if a kid doesn’t have enough problems leading into adolescence, I hardly doubt nihilism is something they also should have to deal with. I had a lot on my plate as it was; being autistic, keeping my sexuality a secret and being somewhat ashamed of it, and great now I have to wonder about the meaning of life itself on top of it. Great. Book reports? Fuck book reports. Existentialism is where it was at.

But…there’s shockingly an upside to being that self aware, especially that young. It really puts everything into perspective, makes you realize you need to make the most of the time that you have, if you want it to mean a damn thing once you are gone. For me, that meant writing as much as I could and creating as much art as I could. Something to leave behind. Something that meant something to someone. Something that meant anything to anyone. The way I saw it, the only things that lasted were the things we created to last, so we needed to leave behind as much as we could for others to remember. Or, you know, remember at least until the sun explodes and literally everything dies, but still.

Existence, it’s…a weird thing, honestly.

People literally tell you that life is a gift. That it’s precious. They often tell you this while they’re eating an animal. Life is only precious if it fits their idea of what life is and who deserves it. Not that I’m any sort of animal activist, but still. They tell you that you’re so lucky to be here at this point in time in history. Really? A planet plagued with overpopulation, with war and famine and injustice and hatred and greed? I’m lucky, huh? I guess we are, because it allows us to create art mocking these things. It allows us to write songs that speak out against these things. Songs that enlighten us and change our frame of mind. Songs about being young forever. Yeah, I would like to be forever young, actually. When you’re young everything is fresh and new and exciting, not stale and cold like when you’re older. Maybe that’s the point of the song. To recognize how jaded you can become. To push the truth that to survive, you need to stay forever young, even if only at heart, because otherwise you risk becoming cynical and spiteful and cruel. Being forever young allows you to deal with things with a childlike innocence, a view of the world where everyone isn’t just painted black and white but with every color in the crayon box. People say kids are inherently evil. People say that hatred is taught. I think I’ve stated before that I think love is the one that’s taught, because you have to teach kids not to hit and to share, but that doesn’t mean kids are entirely evil in general.

Kids should get more credit than they’re given for seeing the world a lot more clearly than any adult really does. A national tragedy happens and all the adults look for meaning, search for reasoning, ask “why did this happen” and mourn for years. A tragedy happens and a kid says, “Well…that sucks. Nothing I can do about it. Oh well.” Is it because they simply don’t understand the enormous ramifications? Possibly. But they say ignorance is bliss, so maybe there’s something to that.

People say Bob Dylan is a spokesperson for the world. People say John Lennon was a lover for the world. We’re all allowed to have our opinions, but honestly, Alphaville are the true heroes.

Do I want to be forever young?

Yes. And I will flourish because of it.

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Money Can’t Buy Happiness

Happiness, stability, normality; these will all one day become expensive commodities that only the rich can purchase and have access too. The rest of us will stand outside the store window, gazing in longingly at the new happiness that we can’t afford. At the shiny new stability that we will never attain. The rich, they will purchase these without much thought, only because it’s the new model that their friends have, and just as quickly toss those out for the new upgrades. We might be able to buy some at half price or lower in second hand stores, but it won’t be the same. They’ll be used. We’ll know the difference.

We’ll watch the ads. Those fast paced ads with the new hit pop single and the dozen of smiling faces of people our age trying to sell us something we can’t afford, trying to force us deeper into emotional debt. Some of us may be lucky enough to know someone who could afford the new happiness, and maybe they’ll let us play around with it for a day or so, but that’ll be it. It won’t be a long lasting experience. We’ll be jealous, and start talking down about happiness, about stability, about how the knockoffs we have are the better alternative. About how the people who own happiness and stability and normality are self entitled, narcissistic, pretentious elitists who’re ruining the economy, who’re pushing more and more people into poverty and depression and that they don’t deserve what they have.

They say money can’t buy happiness.

Not yet it can’t.

But it won’t be long.

 

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Now Is Not The Best Time

Sandy Price was laying in the bed, hands folded on her chest, breathing slowly, eyes glued to the stucco ceiling overhead. She could remember it clearly. She could remember everything clearly. She rolled over and looked at Derek, asleep, and grimaced. She got out of bed and walked softly to the kitchen, where she took a glass out from the cupboard, walked to the sink, looked at it for a moment and then instead reached under the sink for the gin. She poured herself a glass and walked to the large window at the end of the living room of their studio apartment, glancing out at the city. Sandy had always liked the city at night. She’d always liked night, in general, but especially the city. How it lit up, looked so vibrant and welcoming and warm. She now knew it wasn’t, but as a little girl, it comforted her to think that there was this place that was so safe and cozy.

She sipped her gin and heard a groan behind her. She turned to see Derek standing in the door frame between the living room and the bedroom. She sighed as he rubbed his eyes and approached her.

“Are you ok? Why’re you up?” he asked, and she shrugged.

“Why not,” she replied, “What’s the point of sleeping. Doesn’t make me feel any better. All my dreams are terrible. Might as well be awake at a time when I actually enjoy looking at the shithole we live in,” she said, motioning her hand with the drink in it towards the cityscape.

“Is this about Rufus?” Derek asked, hushed, like he was afraid of what would come next. As if saying this name would spawn forth from the depths of hell a million demons hellbent on the destruction of the earth, and often when regarding Sandy’s anger, that wasn’t a far off analogy. Sandy slowly turned back to the window and swirled the gin in her glass.

“Rufus has nothing to do with any of this,” she said coldly, “Besides, how could he be involved in anything when he’s a thousand miles away…when did I get so cold? When did we get so cold, and not just you and but the proverbial ‘we’. Nobody asks how another persons day was anymore, and nobody seems to provide simple acts of human kindness like holding doors open for old people. This isn’t a rant about the death of humanity, god knows that’s been overdone to death by bleeding heart liberals writing for websites with cutesy names like ‘Boodles’ or something. I’m a liberal too, but I’m not the kind who thinks simple technological advances like smart phones are going to cause the death of conversation.”

Derek sat down on the arm of a chair and rubbed his shoulder, sighing.

“What is this about then? Just how distant you feel about everything?” he asked, and she rolled her eyes and snorted.

“Yeah, distant, let’s go with that. Everyone wants personal space in a city that thrives on community. There’s nothing wrong with privacy, everyone is entitled to it, it’s their right to want to have their own time and their own space, but engagement, even on a level as simple as saying ‘nice day, isn’t it?’ is so crucial to simply keeping the lines of communication between our own fucking species going. We cannot allow ourselves to become this cut off from another. Those girls I teach…”

Sandy sat down on the window sill and looked at her nails, exhaling loudly.

“…they don’t judge one another,” she continued, “They help one another figure out their moves if they’re having trouble, and they rally around one another as a team to support eachother and the team as a whole. People say evil is taught. That’s debatable. But what I can tell you is actually taught is cynicism. Bitterness. Coldness. It happens when you’ve been hurt one too many times, when you want to withdraw because you feel you can no longer trust anyone; including yourself, because you keep making the poor decision to open up to just one more person, always knowing the end result is the same.”

“Sandy,” Derek said, “…did I hurt you? I know we’ve had our problems, but we’ve always worked it out one way or another. I know Rufus hurt you. I’m sorry. But how can you stand there and honestly claim that the end result is the same when you live with someone who cares about you tremendously and only has your best interests at heart?”

“…you’ll leave too,” Sandy said softly, letting her hair cover her face so she could hide, “You will. Someone can only put up with negativity for so long before ‘love’ turns to ‘tolerate’. I try so hard to be who you think I am, who you would love for me to be, but it’s not me. I’m an angry, upset young lady. Is that really who you love? Or do you just love the idea you have of me?”

Derek stood up and walked over to the window sill, sitting in it with her, looking out the window at the city lights.

“Remember a few years ago when we went with my folks to that ski resort? We spent a lot of the time inside, just sitting by that giant fire pit, sipping cocoa and reading and just…enjoying something for once without worrying about the financial ramifications? You looked really pretty with that fire light flickering on your eyes, curled up in that chair, just sucked into your literature.”

“What’s with the nostalgia kick?” Sandy asked, swirling her index fingertip inside her empty glass, “You think this is how we fix our problems?”

“I’m just trying to get you to remember something nice, that’s all. If we could go on vacations like that as often as our parents could at our age, I would love it. You want to dance, you want to teach girls to dance, but then you go to work and you seem so miserable and you only seem happy when you’re alone. When you have no responsibilities.”

“So you’re saying my argument is hypocritical?” Sandy asked, sniffling.

“Well, who isn’t hypocritical?” Derek asked, grinning, “But no, what I’m saying is that a lot of people can’t do both. You can. You do. A lot of people are so…dead inside or something that they just shut off their humanity and do what they must to survive, even if it means only caring about themselves or their family and nobody else. But you can do both, and, hell that’s admirable. You’re mad because you don’t know why everyone else can’t do what you do. That’s what I’m saying. You want to grab them and shake them and scream ‘Why is this so goddamn difficult for you?!’ but that’s the thing, it just is goddamn difficult for them. I agree with you, it’s sad, but…it’s for them to deal with. You keep doing the good that you’re doing, and you’ll feel better I think.”

Sandy pushed her hair out of her face and smiled slightly at Derek, her eyes remarkably pale blue, her skin so pale in the moonlight. She looked out the window again and shook her head.

“Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and I want to just climb out this window and throw myself to the sidewalk. Just let it all end,” Sandy said, “But then I realize that suicide, at least for me, only seems like a viable option because I am surviving. The others who generally seem to kill themselves really do feel like it’s their only option, or it is their only option, as they’re perpetually unemployed or sick or homeless or something. But I have a place, here, and I have you and I have a job and I…I’m surviving. That’s why it’s an option, and not a necessity.”

“I’m glad you see it that way, because-“

“I miss my mom,” Sandy said, choking up, tears starting to roll down her cheeks, “I called her to talk about my first recital with the girls you saw and…and she wasn’t even in the least bit interested. She called it a ‘hobby’ the entire time. I want to please her so bad and yet I hate her so much. You have your family. Do you know what it’s like to not have family? To be that alone? I have your parents, and you, and the girls at the dance hall but…to not have family. A place you came from, a home…it’s exhausting trying to figure out where you’re supposed to be or even if you’re supposed to be. To not have a place of origin, a backstory, a prologue…is your story even worth reading?”

“You’re worth reading,” Derek said, “You’re the one who pays the majority of the rent on this place, that car is yours, you’re the one with meaningful employment. You’re worth reading. Each chapter it gets better and better, and we can make sure there’s a happy ending.”

“I don’t want to be distant.”

“I don’t want you to be.”

Some dogs barked in the distance, and a few cars drove by underneath them.

“Hey,” Sandy said.

“Yeah?” Derek replied.

“Promise me that if I do ever kill myself, you’ll write my sequel.”