[Friend from childhood who made poor life choices] and I went to [location in a small American town that connotes economic misfortune but also freedom from authority] to perform [custom that is recreational and unique to the area, and is fraught with meaning for local children, but is somehow obsolete and pathetic when undertaken by adults].
“Do you ever think about [event in our past that ended in tragedy and shaped our lives in separate, ineffable ways]?”
“No,” I said. “I never do.”
But the truth is I think about [event] all the time. Even when I’m sleeping with [lover].
“I think about it sometimes,” [friend] said.
An [animal indigenous to the area] appeared directly in front of us.
“Fuck it,” [friend] said. “Let’s get some [cuisine that is a regional specialty].”
* * *
At the home where I grew up, [relative] was indulging in [habit that is addictive and unhealthy].
“Don’t you stand there and judge me with your [big city / college boy] ways,” said [relative].
“I just want to help you get over [habit].”
[Relative] laughed and went back to indulging in [habit]. “Good luck.”
* * *
[Lover] called me.
“Did you find whatever it is you’re looking for in that shithole of a town?”
“Yes and no,” I said.
“When are you coming back?”
“I need to figure out a few things.”
“It’s hard to explain.” I sighed. “It’s, like, hard.”
[Lover] said, “[I’m pregnant. / I’m gay. / I’m leaving you for my creative writing instructor.]”
* * *
I was doing [act that arises from boredom, but upon further reflection is highly symbolic and full of local flavor] when [animal] crossed my path again. For some reason I thought of [event], and how strange it is that certain things can mean everything in the world to you, and also mean nothing at all. As I gazed at [animal], I knew I would always carry these two worlds inside me, and not belong in either one. I would have to seek out a new kind of happiness in between.
Fucking A, I thought.