Winner of WANTED #21

Birthday Brunch

 

You can’t break up with Sam at brunch, because you’re so happy to be alive. Happy, even though you and Sam are at the hospital cafeteria, you poking at some gelatinous egg concoction, him staring at a styrofoam cup of light roast that’s been burning since 6 am. You still can’t stop smiling, not at Sam, but because you’re just so happy that your left wrist still has a pulse that you don’t mind the thick gauze taped to the inside of it.
 
You take a bite of the eggs, which take a lot more molar grinding than you expect. “Mine are perfect, how’s your coffee?” He switches his stare from his cup to your wrist.
 
You’re happy you had that swig of bourbon to try and steady your hands when all it did was weaken them. You’re so happy that you fucked up unscrewing the razor from the pencil sharpener and you couldn’t find the damn vein to make it all click, “see you on the other side,” etcetera, etcetera.
 
When he left you all alone for a week, missed your birthday, ignored you, you stopped caring about yourself. Stopped leaving the house, started drinking. But each time he came back with chocolates, bracelets, all smiles, as if the little trinkets would make it alright time after time. You needed to make it all stop. But now, you’re just so happy you realized it in time: you could escape the bunker without blowing it up.
 
Sam attempts to open a smile from the left corner of his mouth, and pushes a card across the metal table. “Happy birthday.” He forces a laugh, and puts his disgusting styrofoam cup to his lips.
 
You laugh, too, but you don’t open the envelope. Your teeth click together uncontrollably. You’ll tell him tomorrow.

 


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