A Lonely Place

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3:32 AM: Sunday

I sat in the dark, face lit only by the gentle hues of an unrefreshed Friendsy page. Raindrops tap-tapped their syncopated lullaby on the windowpane, but sleep still defied me. How could I sleep, knowing full well my woman could be out with some other man? Call me paranoid. But when you live in a town like this, paranoid might just save your neck.

I’ve been her man for three months now, and from the moment I first saw her I knew that dame was one of a kind. Wispy auburn hair, legs for miles. She was the type to play hard to get just to raise hell, with the kind of eyes that tore men to pieces. I can handle that. But it wasn’t ‘til recently that I’d begun to see the signs.

A touch, a playful whisper, a lingering glance at a male acquaintance. I may have been a fool for her love, but like hell was I getting played for one. The gal chose a dangerous game, trying to string me along. But she should’ve known I was different from other guys. I’m hardboiled. And if I knew one thing, it was that the two-timing broad was getting caught red-handed.

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2:04 PM: Monday

Just as I’d guessed, her door was propped. Elementary. On another day, I would’ve alerted fire safety of the tampering with a means of egress, but today I’d have to stay off the grid. I knew from her ICE schedule that I’d have no more than a few minutes to find what I needed and get out.

As soon as I entered the room, the smell hit me. Axe. Anarchy. Either she was fraternizing with the wrong group of middle schoolers, or she’d been with someone that smelled like Axe Anarchy. A quick glance into her trash confirmed the worst. The roses I’d sent her the week before, passionately purchased at a 10% student discount from the U-Store, lay rotting beneath a pile of my unopened love letters.

That was all I needed. I turned and made my exit.

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2:06 PM: Monday

No sooner than I’d left her hall, I spotted the temptress herself, hand in hand with her new boy toy. I caught her eye, searched them for a glimmer of something. Was it disgust? Pity? Or perhaps thinly-veiled, sensuous longing. She whispers something to the guy. He approaches me, mouthing off some drivel about being creepy and staying away from his girlfriend.

But I wasn’t listening to his mind games. Already my lips began to move as I formulated the Tiger Admirers post that would surely win her back. But then, as I walk away, I hear her mutter something:

“…and I can’t believe he’s seriously wearing that fedora.”

I wasn’t really into that tramp anyway.

– EYY ’17. Illustrated by EAB ’17.

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