Survivor's Guilt

Anna closed her eyes and again imagined her step father standing above her 24 years ago, thin lips and thinner hair, asking her about her day.

Anna’s 1868th day on earth had been unremarkable to that point, and might have remained so had her mother not come home minutes later, smelling of rum and sticky with pineapple juice. But for a few moments longer, the man spoke to her in his doting way, Anna fiddling with his Sears cassette recorder buttons and thinking “He’s my hero-daddy.”

“Anna! Put that thing to rest, would ya?” her roommate Kyle shouts from across the living room, breaking her reverie. “For Chrissakes…they’re dead already! You hated your mom, and he wasn’t even your real dad. Come on, Survivor is on in 2 minutes!”

Anna touches the eject button with reverence, and the well-worn cassette pops out. She carefully places it into its hinged plastic case, and the case into her pocket.

She realizes that Kyle is snickering, holding his 6’ pet boa up to his face like a young mother holds up a newborn.

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