Free short stories about Generation End

Archive for the ‘The Receptionist’ Category

THERE IS NO TIME FOR GRIEF

Old photo of Ariel on bed - there is no time for griefI hadn’t slept in two days. I got to work at ten in the morning, drove home at about three in the afternoon. I drove to Vail’s home, parked on her driveway. I watched her house for a while before giving her a call. No one answered her phone, so I called the receptionist.

“Hello?”

“Hi.”

“Dean?”

“Who else would it be?”

The receptionist went quiet for a second. “I deleted your number.”

“I need to see you.”

“I don’t think it’s appropriate.”

“I’m driving over now.”

The receptionist and her new husband rented a small house in Underwood. She let me in, poured me some Coke. We looked at each other for a while.

She smiled slightly. “If my husband comes home early, he’s going to literally chop your cock off.”

“You know I thought you would’ve gained a lot of weight, but you look okay.”

“Why are you here?”

“Someone died.”

“Who?”

“A friend.”

She tucked some hair behind her ear. We spoke about a few things that weren’t that important until I finally walked over to the baby she held in her arms. I touched his hand, smiled. The baby was a tiny fucker. He had a lot of hair and his eyes – I envied his eyes: they were relaxed, they were happy, they were calm. Still smiling, I picked up the baby so that he was safely positioned above my head. He chuckled.

“You better not piss on my face.”

I lowered the baby, and it grabbed my finger with both of its fat hands. I couldn’t stop smiling at him. How could something like this just get created out of thin air? He’s going to grow up and become a boy, and then a man, and then he’s going to win at a few things and fuck up a few times and one day he’s going to be much more relevant than I am and one day he’s going to drive; one day he’s going to fly and one day he’ll start making other human beings and one day, well, he’s going to die.

How do I deal with grief? I make fun of other people. I take sleeping pills. I watch downloaded TV shows. I hide my grief in a corner somewhere, and once in a while it comes out in my writing. But the truth is there’s no time for grief. There’s time to fuck up, but there’s no time for grief. Time is free, but it’s not everywhere anymore – it’s rapidly running out. I placed my hand on the baby’s face.

I gave the baby back to the receptionist; she cuddled him and tapped his nose. The baby made a little noise. The receptionist looked up at me and told me a funny story about him; I don’t remember what the story was, but I remember laughing.

The receptionist and I just looked at each other for a while, not saying anything. Eventually, she opened her mouth to say something, but nothing came out. I headed back to my car and drove home, had some red wine, looked at a few photos on my phone, scrolled up and down my Facebook newsfeed, stared at the ceiling.

LETTER FROM THE RECEPTIONIST TO SAY GOODBYE

Letter from the receptionist to say goodbye

I know I’ve never written to you before. You know I’m not a writer. I could be a lot of things (and you would’ve realised that firsthand, hehe) but I’m definitely not a writer.

How are you? How have you been? I know I asked you this the last time I saw you but no one ever says how they truly are. Actually, if you think about it, does anyone really know how they are? They may say certain things and they may feel certain things, but I think our minds and our hearts are in denial all the time, and whatever words come out of our mouths are merely strange afterthoughts of the truth. But anyway, I guess if someone were to ask me, “How are you?” my response would always be different depending on the day. Sometimes I’ll say I’m miserable, sometimes I’ll say I’m happy. Or maybe I’ll say I’m stupid. Or I’ll be lazy and just say I’m fine, thanks!

Remember when I used to always want a baby? I made sure that every time we’d be together and every time we’d talk on the phone, I’d talk about how much I wanted a kid and how beautiful they are in hope that eventually you’d tell me, “Fuck it, let’s get married and screw and screw and have ten billion kids.” Hahaha. I think it was partly to do with my friend’s daughter. She was the cutest thing in the world and I was jealous. I pictured us in a family together. You’d be doing something crazy to make money and I’d just be nodding and taking care of the ten billion babies.

I’ve changed a lot since our breakup. I no longer talk about kids. Maybe, one day, in the deep future, I’d consider it. But right now I have other things to think about, things that I desperately wish I could tell you, but I know with our situation we both simply have to let go. I can’t keep relying on you to tell me to be strong.

I have to tell you something, Dean. I’m not just in a relationship. I’m engaged now. I know it’s been fast. But it’s something that had to happen. And I know after we met that day I told you I missed you and that I wanted to see you again, and after telling you all of that I ignored all your calls and messages. I can’t do it. I’m sorry I’ve treated you this way but I can’t see you anymore, and my fiancé wouldn’t want us to call or speak to each other anymore either. I’d appreciate it if you respect this decision. Thanks, Dean.

It know it’s cruel and I’m sorry. I still remember the first time I met you at work: Kim and I looked at your ass as you walked away. For some reason I thought you were married. Remember when you cried to me over the phone? Or how about our first conversation, remember that? Remember how I told u I believe in spirits and ghosts? I still do and I always will. When I’m at my desk at work I’d sometimes feel a breath behind me, and since I do night shift now sometimes I’d hear strange things, like papers being shoved around and someone knocking on the toilet door. When I look at a mirror, I know something is behind me, looking over my shoulder and looking straight into my eyes. And I smile. Spirits can’t just not exist. We deny them, but I know they’re around and they’re either watching us or ignoring us. I believe spirits had something to do with our love. They moulded us together but realised it was bullshit, or they became bored, or they had a quarrel about our fate or they fell into some trouble and hid in the deep dark parts of the world. Part of you is still inside my heart, but it’s a love that no longer has anything to do with romance. The spirits took that part away and left something less significant… but much more important. Do you know what I mean? You don’t, do you?

I don’t know if I’ll bump into you again, Dean, but I know you’ll make things work out for the better.

PS. I sent you a drawing.