The lights were still on when I returned home, past ten. I wished Polly and Alfred a peaceful night together, and opened the door. Sitting in the living room, I saw Jack sitting on the chair, curled up, her arms around her legs, face buried between her knees. She appeared to be sleeping, and the pose almost made me wonder if she’d been waiting up for me. I considered, for a moment, picking her up and carrying her down to the bed. I decided to think better of it, less out of fear of her stabbing me in surprise, and more because I thought it would just weird her out. Instead, I lifted a blanket from the couch and draped it over her, and turned off the light, walking towards the kitchen to see if there was any pizza left in the fridge.
Morning came. The upside of it was that the sunlight was lessened down in the basement. I rubbed at the side of my head, feeling the incipient headache. I reached out before remembering I hadn’t poured out a bottle of water for myself the night before. I despaired momentarily until my eyes focused enough to find that there was, indeed, a large jug by the bed. I grabbed it gratefully, drank, guzzled the better part of a gallon. I let out a sigh of deep and abiding relief, and leaned back in the downstairs bed.
Case File: Michael Gray
I’m celebrating by going to sleep early, story continues on Saturday
I returned to consciousness, although only reluctantly.
Sad things are sadder when contrasted with happy things. This is probably a self-evident statement, but it hits me hard, from time to time. I remembered- of all things- a political comic about an exiled African prince, who was forced to stay at a McDonald’s while dealing with the loss of his family’s kingdom. The comic, of a well-dressed young man holding a burger, with an expression of soft despair on his face, stuck with me. The fast food restaurant seemed to add to the deep poignancy. The absurdity of the contrast heightened the tragedy.
“Well, Atina. How’s the writing coming along?”