IT’S NOT HARD By: John Esquivel
Story by: dastardlydeed, Coyotesqrl, Sarkastickunt, Nikiwithissues, Moreorles, Strangeninja, and Claviusrabinsky.
Janet played with the beer label in her hand. She had peeled it from her bottle and after picking at her nails with it, discarded it with the previous three on the table. She felt her phone vibrate in her pocket and it made her jump. She turned it off immediately after glancing at the message from her best friend Robin: “Did you tell him yet?”
Micah came back from the restroom, whistling while adjusting his backwards ball cap, and high fiving some guy shooting pool that Janet didn’t know. He sat down with a broad grin.
“Man, baby! You should of seen it! Judging by the way my rear feels, I just melted a hole in the earth while sitting on the can!”
Janet wrinkled her nose, smoothing the bottom of her blouse with her palms and looking around, as if to get the comment out of her clothing. “That’s disgusting!”
“No, seriously… it was like a strongman carrying Gary Coleman.”
“What… what does that even mean?”
“I dunno. Ha! I have no idea! I’m no good with stuff off the top of my head, right?” he grabbed a handful of community pretzels sitting in a bowl, Janet trying hard to not imagine him strolling past the sink in the bathroom on the way out.
She slouched a bit, taking a big sigh and then a large gulp of her beer.
“Listen, Micah… We have to… I need to tell you something.”
“Brang it, girl!”
She paused and took a deep breath, steeling herself up with the fact that Micah was clueless to the obvious, watching SPORTSCENTER on a silent t.v. over her shoulder.
“Look, I think it’s time…”
“Well, what do you know? They let faggots in here!” a voice bellowed just behind her right ear.
Micah rose, hooting as he man hugged a stocky, bearded man in a Nickelback Tour shirt. He wore a similar backwards ballcap.
Janet let them carry on for a moment before excusing herself to no one listening as she went to the bathroom. She fumbled with her phone and was about to dial Robin, when she caught sight of herself in the mirror. She studied herself for a moment, hearing herself cheer it on that she could do this. It wasn’t hard. Of all the things in the world, this wasn’t hard.
She remembered her grandfather, 18 years old in the military, being stranded on Wake Island, left for dead after the attack by Japanese bombers decimated his unit. He was trapped under rubble and gristle and gore of his friend’s remains.
He made it through that nightmare, and if he was still alive today, he would tell her, right here, right now… “This shit ain’t hard.”
She smirked at herself, stomped out of the restroom and went straight to bar. Micah didn’t seem to notice.
“I’m leaving you.” she said, loud enough to be heard over the Limp Bizkit song blaring over the jukebox, but discreet enough to where no one else could hear.
Micah turned to her. A pretzel damp-stuck to his lower lip.
“I’ve been with you for over four years, and college was fun, but you’re… GOD! You’re still a frat boy! I wanted to take you to meet my parents… and you never… NO! I am NOT crying over this. I feel good about this. You… you need to grow up! Take responsibility! I can’t be your mother I just… It’s over!”
Micah said nothing and watched her wheel around on her heel, stomping away to the front door. Before she got there, she stopped, turned back and made her way back to the table to the dumbfounded Micah.
“Oh, and that joke of yours? The ‘Moo point?’ It’s from FRIENDS. It’s not YOUR joke. You didn’t even change it up! I never told you I knew because I wanted to spare your feelings, something you couldn’t possibly do for me ever, could you? COULD YOU?”
She left him then. Gone. six seconds to the front door. twelve more to get in the car. eight more minutes and she was home. Not the apartment she shared, but home. She was crying in her father’s shoulder soon, and he sleepily caressed her hair, stifling yawns in his bathrobe. A darkened living room.
“You know, he has to know.”
“Not now. Not yet. I can’t do this WITH him. It’s the opposite of how I should feel, I know… but considering I couldn’t stop craving watermelon for eight days straight his DUMB ass should of figured it out…”
“Pumpkin. You need to TELL him.”
She sniffled a bit and looked up at his warm, wrinkled face.
“I know. But not yet, o.k.? Oh, God, PLEASE don’t tell mom!” She started sobbing again. He held her tighter.
A few hours later and miles away, at the apartment he once shared, Micah was crouched on the bathroom floor vomiting drunkenly into the toilet. If he had glanced to his left during his evacuation process, he would of noticed the empty Pregnancy Test box and probably wouldn’t of fainted a week later when Janet finally returned his voicemails.
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