Tired

“I’m tired.”

“You’re always tired.” Michelle didn’t even look at me past her newspaper. I sighed, signalling that I had heard her and I could only resign myself to agree. I was always tired. Like most of the 20-somethings with dead-end jobs and a crummy apartment on the poor side of town. I was tired of working all day only to get back home and feel like I hadn’t done anything. I was tired of coming back to an apartment that was falling apart. I was tired of looking in the mirror each morning and seeing so much misery.  Most importantly, I was tired of the sad back-and-forth Michelle and I shared. It’s not that we didn’t still like each other, but we’d already grown old in each other’s presence.

“Perhaps we should go to the park tomorrow?” I asked, maybe I would feel better if I got some fresh air.

“Nah, I have to go into work early tomorrow. Shanon’s sister is getting married so I’m covering for her.” Michelle cast her newspaper into our recycling bin. “Besides, it’s allergy season.”

I turned my attention to my eggs, which were apparently burning up in the frying pan, “Well, would you like to do anything fun at all this week?”

Michelle growled, “Don’t do this. You know I want to spend time with you, it’s not like I’m dying to work extra shifts. Though we’ll need to money if you keep ruining all of our food with your terrible cooking.” She stormed from the room, presumably to go get ready for another one of her busy days without me. I stared down at my burnt breakfast, I was weirdly empathising with the egg.

“Perhaps I’ll go to the park by myself, then.” I slid the egg onto a plate, I might as well eat it.

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Pros and Cons

Clara pushed the door open just enough to allow herself into the room. The floor creaked as she sauntered into the kitchen and put the grocery bags on the kitchen table.

“Thomas!” she yelled, peaking through the open doorway to the living room.

“What?” Thomas asked, moving into the doorway.

“Are you ready to work on dinner?” Clara asked as she began emptying the grocery bags onto the table.

“Clara, I told you I needed a little while to process this.”

“You’re not going to get more used to the idea if we don’t talk to each other.” Clara said as she threw a can of beans at him.

“I need space to think about it. This is new territory for me and I’m not really clear on what I’m doing.”

“Well, you could always ask for advice. There are plenty of people that have gone before you.”

“Clara, this isn’t something you can just brush off! I told you I needed space.”

“Thomas,” She said, turning to face him, “you don’t need space. You need to make a decision.”

“Well, I’m not ready to make this decision.”

“Well, what do you need to do to get ready? Because I’m waiting for your decision.”

“I was going to make a pros and cons list and think about all the–”

“Oh my God, Thomas! A pros and cons list? Is this so difficult for you?”

He sighed, she had never been good at empathizing with him. That was one of the cons. “Look, Clara, I’m just not much of a relationship person. I like my space.”

Clara sat down at the table, her expression had changed to one of exhaustion. “Let’s make a pros and cons list, then.”

“Clara, I’m really not feeling like doing this tonight.”

Her eyes were pleading, “Please. Can we please just do this.”

“Fine, Clara. Pro: I’ll finally be in a relationship like a normal human being.”

“Con: You’ll have to actually pay attention to the other normal human being.”

“Pro: I’ll finally have someone to take with me to all the formal events I attend.”

“Con: You’ll always have to invite me.”

“Pro: I’ll have someone to bring me soup when I don’t feel good.”

“Con: You’ll have to take someone soup when they don’t feel good.”

“Pro: You’ll be happy.”

“Con: Your friends will get even less of your time.”

“Pro: I won’t be alone.”

“Con: You won’t be alone.”

“Clara, I’m really too tired for this. Can I just call you tomorrow?”

Clara stood up from the table, “I don’t think you need to Thomas. When you’re ready call me. I won’t push you anymore.”

She strode toward the door, feeling his eyes on her back. “You can keep the food.” She said as she pulled the door behind her.

He listened as her car started up and she was gone. He sat down at the table and placed his head in his hands. He didn’t know if she understood the kind of turmoil he was going through. He had been alone for so long now he didn’t know if he could figure out how to not be alone.