A warning: I’ve been working on my unseemly habit of under sharing. And by that, I mean I’ve been trying my hand at oversharing. Consider yourself warned.
You went to sleep hurting last night. Ill and aching. You wake up the same. You hurt in ways you didn’t know you could. You’ve never been punched in the throat before, but this must be what it feels like–bruised all the way through.
You wake up somewhere around seven AM. You can’t help it. Today is your last day of work, and you’ve done maybe the most despicable thing you could have–you texted in sick. To be fair, you are, and you sent the message the night before, a heads-up. But, to be fair, it’s your last day. There are some things not to be done.
You stare at the ceiling for a while. You consider calling in to confirm your sins with your boss, because she never responded to the text. What if they go a day without laundry? You know the kind of chaos that this can spell for a hotel. But you don’t. You worry she’ll be some unholy kind of furious, and you appear to be a grade A chicken.
At seven thirty, you get up and apply for a job. Your roommate will roll over and be really confused about your life choices, so you’ll head downstairs, where you sit on a upturned couch, because carpet cleaners are coming in a half hour.
You try to ignore all the ways your body hurts, and the new way your stomach is trying to gnaw through itself. Morally, you haven’t felt this bad since the time you played laser tag on a Sunday. Who even calls in sick on the last day of work? You google it. Apparently, a lot of people do. Even though they’re not sick! How did that not make it onto the 10 Big No-No’s God gave to Moses? “Thou shalt not sluff thy last day of work. Unless you’re under the weather. In which case, lie low and drink lots of liquids.” Because now it looks like the rest of us are faking it.
You shouldn’t have googled it, because now you’re sitting in an empty living room, ready to burst into tears. That said, you should really just stop consulting Google for all your life problems.
You decide to vacuum the floor instead, never mind it’s not eight yet and you have neighbors sleeping beneath you. You very loudly, very ineffectively vacuum, and then return to your spot on the overturned couch. You continue to successfully not cry.
Your shoddy vacuum job has woken your roommate for good. She comes over, and sits down in front of you, says, “So, I can practically see the stress radiating off of you right now.” She says it in the way that means you’re going to have to figure out ways to talk about this.
So you say, “I’m just. Really stressed about finding a job?” Which is about a 16th of the truth. You’re still trying to identity the rest of your emotions, but you know that whatever they are, they’re directly related to your tear ducts, so you stop there.
Your roommate “Hmms.” because she’s smart, and probably knows you’re on the brink of some emotional upheaval.
It’s right about then that you get a phone call. You answer, and it’s your boss. No, not the one you texted, but the other one. You blunder through your explanation, apologizing profusely.
“So. You’re not coming in.” You can hear all the judgement. You’re speaking to the boss who once had a panic attack at work and didn’t leave, and vomited on and off through an entire day’s migraine at work and didn’t leave. You’re speaking to a spindly woman made of steel and cigarettes and zero excuses.
“Yeah,” you say lamely. “I have a really bad cold.”
She hangs up, and you try really hard to not cry. But you do. Just a little. Two tears, and a hiccup. But it hurts to hiccup, so you stop.
All your other roommates are suddenly awake and moving and cooking and there, and you just really, really want to talk to your mom. So you slip outside, and call her, and only just manage to get in the passenger seat of your car before you start crying profusely.
Your mother sounds fairly confused. You try to explain, through all the crying. “–and I’m sick, and I have a fever, and so I called off, but I texted the wrong boss, and I know they’re actually going to think I’m a despicable human being, and I sort of feel like one, too. And now–”
You go on for several minutes. Crying and explaining and crying. Your Mom says she’s sorry you’re sick. She actually validates very few of your fears, but you hang up feeling significantly better.
You sit in your car for another fifteen minutes, crying periodically, just to be safe. You acknowledge the fact that there are people whose days you may have ruined, and that might be angry at you for a little bit. You also acknowledge the fact that there’s nothing to be done at this point. You also recognize the fact that you might have been a little selfish in your choice not to go in.
Then you pull up Netflix and watch half an episode of some new mystery sci-fy. And then you go inside and sleep off your dehydration hangover that’s combined forces with whatever illness you were already harboring.
Later, you’ll eat an entire bowl of guacamole and three bananas, because they’re the only things you can swallow that don’t feel like gargled glass. You inevitably move onto pistachio ice cream, because it feels like one of those days.
It’s not until you’re lying in bed, late in the night, when your roommate’s already asleep, that you finally figure out what’s really bothering you. You’re not good with endings. You’re not good at finishing things. This is something you’ve been horribly conscious of for a while now–you don’t like finishing books or series or movies or TV shows. You worry about it in school, and in jobs and with friends. You often manage three-quarters of things, but not four-quarters of things.
It’s a trait you also associate with your absentee father. And you have not ended this summer job well. You really don’t want to be like your father. You are fully capable of seeing all the ways that these two things are not logically related, but emotionally you can see all the ways these two things are definitely related.
But as it is, it’s past twelve o’clock at night, and you figure you’ve done enough emotional decoding for a day, and so you drift off to sleep. You can hash through more subconscious hiccups tomorrow. You’ve got plenty of leftovers.