Avatar Author: Kevin Lawver This time, it's mostly Jason's fault. He's the one who convinced me that we couldn't just leave well enough alone. He got the designers to donate their time, and wrote all the HTML, CSS and 95% of the javascript. I did... Read Bio

I used to have my parents. My mother would sit with me at the bus stop. She would meet me when the bus dropped me off. She slept in my room. I think that’s why dad left. She never said it was my fault, but I knew. When she died, I was lost. I’d spend all day at the grocery store or the mall. At night, I’d cry myself to sleep.

Now, I spend my days in coffee shops doing menial tasks from online job boards to get by. At night, I’ll buy a drink and nurse it at the local bar until closing time.

Then, I discovered midnight basketball, Denny’s and all-night churches. I don’t think the priests like me much. I never had much use for religion, but at least now I’m not alone. When I can’t keep my eyes open, I take two Tylenol PM and crash.

I’ve never lost my fear. I still can’t be alone for more than a few minutes at a time. I cope. I get through the days. Some days, I think I’m getting better and I’ll go home and sit alone in the quiet until my hands start shaking. It’s not getting better, but I’m coping.

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Comments (13 so far!)

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  1. Avatar Stovohobo

    Sad little vignette into the life of this guy. I think there might not be enough sentence-length variation, but it could be intended.

    Very nice description of this character, anyway.

  2. Avatar Oy

    It begs the question, Why can’t he sleep normally?

  3. Avatar Kevin Lawver

    He’s afraid of being alone, and since his mother died, he has no one to sleep with. I didn’t know what I was going to write – I just picked a phobia and started scribbling.

  4. Avatar Melia

    I love the stories that come out when people do the ‘just start scribbling’ thing. This was sad. And relatable. It had a Fight Club vibe to it esp. when he started going to all night churches :)

    What would really suck is being agoraphobic AND monophobic. shudder great stuff Kevin :)

  5. Avatar Elice

    lovely little story, very sad

  6. Avatar A Dabble of Thelonious

    I dig this, man. Hmm. Would the last line hit harder if it was “I’m not getting better” instead of “it’s”. I can’t decide.

    Anywho. Nicely done.

  7. Avatar Kevin Lawver

    @thelonius, you’re probably right. “I’m” would have been stronger.

  8. Avatar Skull Man

    Pretty good. The first line threw me a little bit because I assumed it was a typo (I figured it was “hate”) but when I started over I realized what a haunting and evocative description of loss that is. I used to have a 4Runner. I used to have a cat. I used to have my parents.

    Well done.

  9. Avatar Mighty-Joe Young (A.K.A Strong Coffee)(LoA)

    forget the tylenol what you need is good healthy sleep. seriously try tuanol

  10. Avatar Textual Phoenix

    Very nicely done, Kevin. I agree with Skull Man: The first line is an awesome way to display his loss. Of course, the story is a bit of a mystery to me, in that I usually prefer to be alone. And I guess that’s why I like it so much! On to the sequel.

  11. Avatar Kevin Lawver

    Thanks, everyone. I don’t mind being alone – and I wouldn’t have written a sequel, but I reread this last night. Then, while I was trying to get to sleep, I kept thinking of ways he could be around people all the time and still function.

  12. Avatar Coccinella

    Oooh! Came to this via its sequel. I like the balance of craziness and self-awareness… being ill and knowing you’re ill and still being gripped by your illness – it’s a weird, compelling cycle. Makes me think of Brett Easton Ellis’s American Psycho and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night (can’t remember author offhand)… you could chase this guy into a full-length novella, methinks.

  13. Avatar Mighty-Joe Young (A.K.A Strong Coffee)(LoA)

    random story button

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