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    "I'm not scared, you know me better than that, I hope. I just don't really want to be alone, okay? I want there to be at least one person in this entire fucked-up world who can say, 'That Chris, he might have been the biggest asshole in the world sometimes, but he could drum and he went out smiling.' Maybe it's asking too much. I guess what I'm trying to say is I'd be happy if you'd come by and see me. I know I screwed uphard to screw up much more than this, really. Ditch that fuckhead Brad. Five minutes, Karen, okay? You were my best friend, I thoughtI used to think that out of all the people I know, you might be the one I could trust, the only one I could really relate to, talk to. And I could use some hemlock right now." She heard him smile, and heard that it was forced. "Remember that?" It went quiet for a while.
    "Maybe I messed up with you, too. I don't know. I never really figured out what happened to you. Maybe I should've tried harder to figure it out, but dammit—you fucking abandoned me, too, you know. Just buckled down and left, didn't even try to understand any more."
    Quiet again. "I don't know why the fuck I'm doing this," he said at last. "I know you won't, right? Hell, maybe you won't even listen to this. And in that case I want something else, I want you to forget I even existed because I don't want to be remembered by somebody like that, okay? I thought you were a lot better than that, but it was a while ago. People change, I guess. I gotta go. I'll leave you my CDs."
    Karen's breath was coming much too fast, her eyes for some reason fixed on the cross on the wall, palms dutifully crossed behind it from the last painfully self-conscious visit to her parents, and her mother had to lend her clothes for church because she'd forgotten to bring any that would suit. I promised to say prayers, she thought wildly, thought anything but what she knew she should be thinking.
    Ave maria...
    Hail Mary, full of grace, blessed are you among women...
    She couldn't get any farther than that, her stomach writhed and she realized suddenly that she'd drunk a half bottle of rum on an empty stomach and bolted desperately for the bathroom. It didn't make her feel any more sober. Karen returned to the living room, hesitated, then stabbed the rewind button fiercely and went into the bedroom.
    Damn you anyway. I can't do it. I don't want to be haunted, I don't want anything to remember. I want to forget. I can't I can't I can't I've got a good job a damn good job and a boyfriend who says he loves me and friends who don't make me feel like this. It's too damn late, it's been too long. I changed myself once for you, and then again, and I can't do it any more. I can't. Too little, too late, too late.
    Tomorrow. Tomorrow is Friday and this week will be over. This horrible, horrible week. I'll call him tomorrow.
    Friday... Friday she would go out with Brenda. Call him after work, then, leave a little earlier and do it before going out. Leave a little early and lose what she'd gained so far, an extra half hour would get that final piece of paper off her desk. No, I'll do it, she promised herself. Tomorrow. Tomorrow is Friday. I will wear the suit Brad got me, the grey one, the one that makes me look thin, and I won't eat any breakfast or it won't fit right. Yes, the grey suit. Tomorrow.

The End

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Except where otherwise noted, all material on this site is © 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson