Prose, poetry, fiction, and rambles from people with a bit too much time on their hands.

what we’ve come to expect

“And to think I had just about kicked that self-deprecation habit of mine,” Simon bemoans.

“What?” Mia asks, her eyes peering over her now well-used glasses. She demurely moves a lock of hair from her forehead to behind her ear. It is a sleepy summer darkness, that intermediary time between night and morning. The pair is sitting in a bright, twenty-four hour establishment, their conversation interjecting the buzz of neon lights signaling the weary that there was, indeed, some form of respite in the form of food during these hours. Simon and Mia are currently the only patrons, his crumpled jeans and unironed shirt characteristic of his apparel, her blue plaid overshirt and various other thrown-on clothes characteristic of someone who had received a spontaneous invitation for a coffee. “Do tell of your latest psychological breakdown, because you know that I’m the one that would actually come and meet you right now.”

“You know I would do the same for you, even though you rarely break down. That’s why you’re such a great friend!” Mia seems flattered at Simon’s response, supressing the voice in her mind telling her to move on from friendship. There is a plate doused in powdered sugar in front of Simon, and a lukewarm to the touch mug filled with hours-old coffee. Mia’s side of the well-used table merely contained a similar mug, and a cellular telephone that served more as a clock than a means of communication.

“Tim and Robin went off on some adventure, as they always do, right?” Mia nods. “They tell me about it beforehand, rarely considering the possibility of my inclusion. So look at me, instead of being halfway across somewhere I’m sitting here eating fried bread and drinking poorly brewed coffee while there are people out there off doing the most grand and exciting and awesome things in the world! I’m sitting here as people who I’d consider friends one by one go off for extended periods of time to things that are way more mind-blowing and fundamentally changing and will return to regale me with stories of things that I could have done and jokes and anecdotes I could understand, too. But what do I do? Smile and nod, drink my coffee, smile and nod again…” Simon chokes on the last word, a half-sob, as if his constant dwelling on the matter was cause for great grief.

“At least I’m here, right?” Mia replies, to comfort him, supressing the tinier voice in her mind that insisted that Simon was being a child.

Simon takes a long sip of glorified sugar water. The taste of coffee was light and artificial, an afterthought. He recollects his thoughts, knowing that although neuroses would try and convince otherwise, Mia was one person that he could at least confide with. “Well, yeah. But allow me to be self-centered for a bit more. See, here’s the thing about me, one of what I’d consider many flaws.”

“Oh, do tell.” Mia takes a drink from the mug. It tastes slightly better than Simon’s. “And on a side note, I’ve gotten used to your self-centered rambles, but do continue.”

“I’m a very lonely person, see?” Simon starts, half-pensively. “So I try to surround myself with people who I’d hope can provide some degree of companionship, some degree of, you know, conversation and support, as well as, well, shit to do! Shit to bond over! Shit to look back on in the future, to talk about and laugh about…” He trails off, again, searching for the right word.

“Memories?” She suggests.

“Yes! Memories! That’s all I really want, to create some memories with people I’d call friends but instead they’re off to their own devices and I’m here, almost alone, doing the same thing, submitting to the monotony because I lack the initiative and the means to really do something about it.” Simon pauses, taking a second to straighten himself on the vinyl booth. “Above all, see, I fear abandonment. And it’s all I feel right now. Abandoned. And then I start to think, of why. Most of the time, it’s because of perfectly logical reasons but I’m too selfish to accept that. I’ll always insist it’s because of something I did, something I always do, or something that’s inherently wrong with me. So I’ll start to think about that. And realize that it’s probably a better thing that I feel lonely all the time because at least then, I won’t be a dick to people because I’d actually appreciate someone considering me to go for a coffee or for an adventure or some other shit like that. It’s as if I never got over my teenage angst, you know?”

“One can argue that noone ever really does! I’m sure at many points in life we all feel like sitting around blasting sad-sounding songs because we just start feeling sad for a little bit.” Mia pauses, to mull over her previous statement. “On second thought, that might just be us. But it’s not too bad, right? You’re at least with someone right now.” She ends, a hopefully sucessful attempt at giving counsel to one who sincerely needed it.

“And I really do appreciate that.” Simon says, with a smile.


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