“It feels like it’s all I have left.”

He hmm-ed.

“What. What? What did you just do? What do you mean ‘hmm?’”

He did it again. “Hmm.” and I shot him a glance. “Sorry,” he conceded. “But. It’s worse.”

“What do you mean, ‘worse?’”

“Sam. Sam,” he said, thick with patronization. “You have nothing left, Sam.” He pursed his lips. “You never did.”

I opened my mouth to protest. Nothing came out. I couldn’t. I thought, and I thought. I struggled, I grasped for anything to prove him wrong. But he was right. He was right. He was right. “I don’t. I don’t have anything left.”

He looked at the ground, stuck his hands in his pockets.

“I have,” I said looking back at him, “desperation.” I shrugged.

“Well. That, that is a good place to start.”

“What?” I asked, standing. “Start? Start?” That one word like was napalm, and I went from feeling sorry for myself to seething. This wasn’t any kind of start. This was supposed to be the end. My fists clenched. “How could I be starting? After, all of, all of that,” I waved behind me. “So much gone. I have lost so much. You know that. You know.” My lips pressed against themselves so hard it hurt. My tears burned. My teeth felt like they were ebbing. “I’ve lost so much.” I fought to breathe steady. “I lost,” I couldn’t, just couldn’t, “I lost,” I couldn’t say, but I wanted to prove it, like saying it turned the words into blades angled in his direction, “I lost him.”

I was going to explode. “I have nothing left.”

And then I thought. And I thought about it, from the beginning to end, all the things that I had done and the things that had been done to me. “And you,” I said, standing up, righteous. “You did this. You. You did this?”

And he breathed in, like he was breathing in my observation, and when he breathed it out, it was like he’d turned the air into a confession. “Yeah. Something like that, yeah.”

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