Wendy Archibald

Archive for August, 2010|Monthly archive page

Fiction Friday: 6 August 2010

In Fiction Friday on August 6, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Strains of Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy” floated into the room.

“I don’t know if I agree with that,” Marsha said, tucking her hair behind her ear.

“What?” I sat across from her at the tiny, plastic table. I looked around the deserted cafe, wondering if there was a sign or something to disagree with.

“The song.”

Apparently, I had turned it off and tuned it out of my brain, like background noise. The “dooo-do-do-do-dodo, do-d0-d0-d0-dododo” was just swelling to its climax. “You disagree.” I shrugged out of my backpack and let it fall to the floor. “With the song.”

She nodded and crinkled her forehead–the better to hear the lyrics, I supposed. For someone so beautiful, Marsha was a little loony. I couldn’t fault my roommate for setting me up with her, but I could fault myself for agreeing.

What was it Todd had said? “You need to get out more.” Yes, I needed to get out more. Just about as much as I needed another hole in my head.

“I mean, just because you don’t worry about something, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be happy,” Marsha said. She sat up straighter and leaned forward, getting excited about her point. “The absence of worry does not equal the presence of happiness.”

Crap, had Todd mentioned she was a philosophy major or something? I so did not need this. My head was starting to ache. I nodded, just to be amenable. “Can I order something for you?” I stood, reaching into my back pocket for my wallet. Let’s eat and get out of here. I could feel every heartbeat at the base of my skull.

Marsha fluttered her hand in kind of a shooing motion. “Just get me whatever you’re having.” She reached into her purse and pulled out a notebook, probably to write down her wisdom and dissect it later. I felt my shoulders tense involuntarily and I rubbed the back of my neck with my hand. The gentle tickle of my buzz cut soothed my nerves, even as they passed over the tender ridge of flesh down the middle.

I walked toward the counter, ordered two fruit smoothies, and cocked my hip against the counter as I looked back at Marsha. Her hair had fallen from behind her ear and obscured her face, but she still scribbled in her notebook. How long would it take for us to finish the smoothies and walk back to Marsha’s apartment? I was mentally counting down to the end of our ‘date’ when a voice spoke up behind me.

“Here you go.” The girl–‘Stacy’, if her name tag was accurate–pushed a tray towards me. “Wow, that’s a pretty nasty-looking scar. What happened?”

I picked up the tray and curled my lips upward slightly. Just as I turned away, I said, “Brain surgery.”

Link to Fiction Friday is here.