Prose

Talk Again Soon- Brooke Safferman

While pots and pans were clattering in the sink by the pressure of the water that was spewing out forcefully, Ralph smirked. For a 46-year-old who was just left by his wife last week, he was carrying on with his life just fine without her.
​“That bitch,” he muttered, tugging on the sprinkle of hairs around his cherry of a belly button. Hmm, I should probably take it a little easier on the beer, though.
​With one hand, he set down his Ronzoni tri-colored penne that was honestly a little too al dente for anyone’s taste – Ralph shrugged when he tried it – and pan-fried chicken on his beloved coffee table that he purchased twenty years ago at Bob’s Discount Furniture, while his other hand was occupied with far more pressing matters. There were no tissues in sight, so he selected Option 2 by jamming his finger up his nose. Plopping his rotund self onto the couch, he saw ESPN was already on the television, waiting for him.
​“Hey, thanks,” Ralph said running one of his meaty paws, including that same unfortunately just-occupied finger, through his shockingly red tuft of a receding hairline.
​“Don’t mention it.”
​“How’ve you been? We haven’t talked in a while…”
Silence.
“C’mon, answer me! I miss having you to talk to. You understand me. Not many people do, you know.”
​“I know. But you and I also know that us talking is wrong, Ralph. We both know this. Doctor Schroeder told us we gotta quit talking like this.”
​“I don’t see anything wrong with it,” Ralph pouted. “You and I have a great connection.”
He looked up at the television, which was getting a bit staticky. Bad connection. He sighed heavily as he rose off the couch the way a helicopter does from a helipad – rather grotesquely but all the while with an element of grace.
“Prepare for lift-off!”
“Hey, we promised Doctor Schroeder you’d talk nicer to me.”
“Or did we promise we’d stop talking in general?”
“Stop that!”
“Stop that!”
“Don’t mock me, I mean it.”
“How are the pills, Ralph? I wasn’t aware you didn’t want me around anymore.”
“I haven’t taken them in a week! C’mon, you know that. That’s how you’re here right now!”
“Are you lonely, Ralph? Why do you only talk to me when you feel lonely?”
“Don’t do this to me. You just kept saying how we ought to stop, and now you’re acting so needy… Wait! WAIT! I’m so sorry, wait, stop! Don’t go!”
Ralph rubbed his temples. He was alone now. From his throne in the living room, he had an unobstructed view of his bedroom. He angrily eyed the bottle of untouched pills that stood stoically upon his nightstand. He’d be damned if he ever took those again. Quite quickly, his original sense of sadness disappeared as a small smile manifested itself on his sweaty face. He knew they’d talk again soon.

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