EDITOR'S NOTE: I came across this old document while poking around the hard drive of my computer. I wrote this in late 2004, as an exercise for an intro to creative writing course in which I was enrolled. At this time in my life, I was still adjusting to life outside of the architecture program and attempting to digest some of those frustrations. One could describe this flash fiction as 'angsty.'
They sat across from each other at the campus coffee shop.
“So, how’ve you been?” she asked, just hoping to break the akward silence that pervaded their dreary walk to the place.
“Fine,” he said. He gripped the coffee a bit tighter, hoping its mysterious charge would take hold of him and propel him into some type of conversational mode. At least provide anything but more fodder for rest, collapse; anything to wash away the sour taste of defeat and exhaustion.
“I haven’t seen you in, like, two weeks, something has to be new or interesting or anything.”
He shrugged. If only he could tell her all the things: the long studio hours, the fact that his weeks of work were all for naught, the fact that his thoughts were diluted by rapidly fading visions of her, that his life was in a vise that was presently gaining torque from at least a dozen different sources, he and she included. No, nothing new. It’s all the same old shit, it’s just deeper now than before. That doesn’t constitute novelty, does it? At least not the kind of novelty worth discussing with one’s girlfriend.
But that’s upon a completely different mode of thought, now isn’t it?
She presented her all-too-familiar annoyed/indifferent look and proceeded to glance out the window at the drizzly November atmosphere.
What time is it, he pondered intently. The sky is too gray to make a firm estimate, it could be dusk or one in the afternoon. It really doesn’t matter anymore, does it? His watch had slowed to a stop a few days ago, perpetuating a universe where time has no meaning. Only cold, cold logic exists in this place, he considered, allowing a grin and a snicker by accident.
“What’s so funny?” Nothing ever did seem to get by her.
He took another drag of the bitter brew, amazed at how numb even strong coffee now made him. It had taken on a retroactive effect, slowing him down to almost no movement at all. How close can one actually get to absolute zero without actually freezing atomic movement? His mind was now working in a strange new dimension, a bi product of the dimensia brought on by emotional imbalance brought on by lack of sleep brought on by inner turmoil brought on by emotional imbalance. The thing was all a hideous freight train galloping headlong down a valley of calamity, shit.
How deep is the valley?
How close is absolute zero?
He set down his cup of coffee, finally reaching some concept of validity. “I think I’m getting an ulcer. Appropriate, huh?”
“That’s what you were laughing about? Are you serious?” No smiles, her indifference shifting toward annoyance and eventually, disgust.
“Probably not, but it would just be another foreseen dilemma in my life at this point.” It was a poor conversation point and he knew it, definitely not one to be addressed at this juncture in the interface. He really wasn’t that callous, just too belligerently tired to afford not to be.