Day After Day. Flash Fiction.

Mark took a sip of his coffee, it tasted like shit but it got the job done. He looked back at his computer screen, eyes flicking to the clock. Still three hours left before he could go. Sighing, he started typing. This wasn’t what he wanted to do with his life, but he had allowed himself to become stuck. The job was taken as a quick way to raise some money, but that had been three years before, when he still had dreams and hopes. He started to zone out as he typed, it wasn’t like the job required any real focus. He let his mind wander, imaging himself exploring the world, travelling anywhere he wanted. This was just supposed to be a quick pit stop in the journey that was his life. He hadn’t intended to set up camp here. He shook his head, don’t think about it. He took another sip of coffee. Not thinking about things was his way of dealing with them. There were plenty of things he had wanted to have done by now, hell he had thought he’d be married at this point, maybe with a kid on the way. Of course that was before Angela cheated on him, some random dude she’d picked up in a bar, he might have been able to forgive her eventually, but random dude wasn’t the first, nor was he the last. She seemed to take pleasure in getting caught, that little grin when he walked in the door that vanished a second later, replaced by faux concern and sadness. He was ashamed to admit how long he had tried to keep things going with her before she sat him down and broke up with him. That was the worst of it all, that she was the one to dump him.

Mark left the office with a stream of others, he had no plans for the night, he never had plans. Friends had stopped inviting him out after he turned down their invitations one too many times. Sometimes he’d look at his phone and go to text them, but something always stopped him. He didn’t want to sit in his apartment and stare at the TV, which was only ever on so he wasn’t just sitting alone in the dark like some weirdo. He paused outside Smiths, the bar he used to go to, then kept walking. He couldn’t go in alone, only alcoholics drank alone. He walked a few more steps before he stopped. Was this his life? Get up in the morning, go to a job he hated, then go home to an apartment filled with resentment and memories only to do it all again the next day? He could change it. Do something. Anything. But what?

Mark shrugged off his backpack and dumped it onto the ground, he kicked off his shoes and moved deeper into his apartment. The air inside felt thick, stale. He opened a window, but it didn’t seem to help, the entire place felt like it was too hot, almost suffocating. He loosened his tie and stripped out of his suit, throwing on a pair of jeans and an old t-shirt. He had money saved up, what was stopping him from just going somewhere? He paused again. Could he do it alone? Explore the world? He laughed, it sounded bitter, even to him. He couldn’t even get out of this damn apartment, how was he going to get out into the world? He could feel the couch trying to draw him closer, sucking him in. He knew if he sat down he wouldn’t move for the rest of the evening, except maybe to grab something from the fridge or answer the door for take away.

Mark flopped back onto the couch, he could feel the usual shame beginning to rise up, he pushed it back down, he wouldn’t think about it. If he did he’d just feel worse and worse. Today, like every other day he told himself to get up and do something, just one thing, but he could already feel the energy draining away. It was too much effort to get up, to tidy around, to plan, to think. It was easier to just sit here, with the TV on, the noise of it drowning out his thoughts.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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