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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Microstory 807: Shower Scum

I was never the kind of person to claim that I was living my best life, or that I didn’t make any mistakes, or that I was happy with how all of my relationships turned out. But I think I ultimately did okay with the cards I was dealt. If I ever thought I could have stood to keep a few friends from the old days, my experience earlier today has relieved me of that sentiment. The first to show up at my house was Bobby. He and I were the best of friends in grade school, but when I realized that I was always interested in what he had to say, and he was never interested in my thoughts, I decided I had to break it off. I hadn’t spoken to him in nearly a decade when he just knocked on my door, and invited himself in, as if we had made brunch plans. I was so stunned, I didn’t even have the mental capacity to ask him what he was doing here, let alone kick him out. As soon as I closed the door, the bell rang again. It was my worst enemy in high school, who used to torture me incessantly, for no reason but his own psychological insecurities. Time had not been kind to the space between us, and I still hate him as much as I now hate Bobby. Again, he walked in and passed me, like he belonged there, and the two of them started chatting it up. I demanded to know who they thought they were, and they just gave me this look like I was the crazy one. The doorbell rang again, and it was my first supervisor when I worked at the grocery store. Now, he probably thought we were on pretty good terms, I’ll give him that. I had to pretend to like him, though, to keep from losing my job. He was actually a completely unaware despicable human being, who used to treat the girls at the store so disgustingly. I had always regretted not standing up to his sexual harassment, but maybe some higher force was giving me that opportunity. Had I won some kind of lottery I didn’t know about, or did I accidentally pray to God one time, and just forgot about it? One my one, two by two, and so on, more and more people came, and all of them terrible people. Eventually, I gave up trying to figure what the deal was, and just decided to be patient.

The trend continued as every single person who came in was someone I despised to some degree, and generally wished I would never have to interact with again. They didn’t act like they felt the same about me, which made sense for some, but was unbelievable for others. Then the last girl walked in without ringing. It was Carly Braddock. I had been in love with her all through since the seventh grade, but never said anything. We slept together once just a few months ago, after we bumped into each other at the library. I was so nervous about finally getting close to her after all this time, that I acted like a jerk, and haven’t felt like I could contact her again. She greeted me warmly, and rubbed her belly with a knowing smile, completely ignoring the fact that I had blown her off. I immediately felt bad for noticing that she appeared to have gained a little weight. As much as I hate myself, I’m not supposed to be that shallow. As I was trying to shake off my untoward thoughts by trying to enjoy what was shaping up to be a party, I realized what was happening. I had just died. Yes, I suddenly remembered everything about the teacup, and the fire, and the bridge. But I hadn’t gone to heaven, or hell. This was limbo. To my right were all the people I hated in my life, and to my left was the girl of my dreams, along with a future baby that I desperately wanted. Now all I needed to do was determine whether I was being given the choice of which afterlife I would have for eternity, or if it had already been made for me, and this was simply a cruel form of torture.

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