Top O’ The Mornin’ To Ya (a short story)

“Yellow is my opposite color,” she said through the bit of sleep still entangling her. I laughed for a moment and asked her what she meant, but consciousness wasn’t around her enough for her to hear me.

“And what about blue?” I asked through smiling teeth.

Her eyes opened and looked at me before she said, “What about blue?”

We looked into each other’s eyes for a few moments and then I said, “Blue is your color.” She smiled and kissed me on the nose and then she rolled over, still in the grips of her dreams, I suppose.

I got up and went to the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee and in that moment I remembered Mason and how much he used to hate the sound of the coffee grinder.

“Can you bring me a tissue,” she called from the bedroom. I stopped what I was doing and went to the bathroom to fetch one, and I handed it to her with a grin. “Morning congestion,” she said and then blew her nose with a cute little trumpet sound.

I went back into the kitchen to finish putting the coffee on, and I set to boiling water for her tea. She appeared behind me and grabbed me by the waist and I turned around and we kissed. “I lerf you,” she said and went into the bathroom. I could hear her blowing her nose again and I smiled.

***

“What’s next?” I wondered as I sipped my coffee through teeth a bit yellowed with time and nicotine. She had already left for work and I was alone again. I decided I was going to go to the park and watch the birds, as soon as I was done with my coffee and my third cigarette of the young morning.

“I’m tired,” I said out loud to myself.

“Tired?” I heard a voice reply. “What have you been doing to make you so tired?” It said.

Casually I retorted, “Living. Hard living.” And I went outside to smoke another cigarette. I had been smoking inside all morning and the air in there was starting to get thick with smoke.

“It’s all I can do to get by day by day,” I said to the voice, and it replied, “You aren’t much are you?” And I said “No, not much at all,” and I lit my cigarette and inhaled longer than I usually did. I coughed a bit through my exhale and said, “There’s always a voice inside me. The more I answer to it, the more ill I seem.”

“You aren’t ill,” said the voice. “At least no more ill than most.”

“Try me,” I said and inhaled again, longer this time but without coughing.

I got up from my sitting position and descended the stairs by twos. I started walking down the driveway and the voice said, “Where are you going? You’ve got nowhere to go. You’ve got no one to see. Go back inside and smoke. You’re boring. You’re nothing.”

“Shutup about it,” I said through a closed jaw. “You’re nothing to me but a faulty wiring. Your demands are little to my waking mind.”

“You know me. You know I’m right. You’re a passionless void. You’re a damned soul with tobacco stains on your heart. You’re as much to be driven away from anything you truly desire. You’re a pig. You’re a loser. You’re a faggot. You’re a fucking disgrace.”

“You’re a voice in my head.”

***

It was noon by then. I hadn’t eaten yet and wasn’t about to do so now. Fasting is what the poor call going hungry. I didn’t mind. I didn’t feel like eating.

“You about to starve yourself because of me?” said the voice. “You’re lower than I thought you were.”

“Shutup,” I said. “Stop talking to me,” I said.

“I’m the only friend you’ve got aren’t I?”

“You’re no friend of mine. You’re a part of me. Part of me that these pills should be getting rid of.”

“No pill can cure you, you scoundrel. You’re as sick today as you were six months ago. And you know it.”

“I’m not sick anymore. I’m just tired.”

“What’s the difference when it comes to you?”

“I’m not raving mad. I’m just depressed. You’re just the symptom. You’re not the cause.”

“I’m the only friend you’ve got.”

“Shutup.”

***

“What did you do today?” she asked me.

“A lot of nothing,” I said. “How was work?”

“Work was. And that’s about as much as I can say about it.”

***

It was nighttime and she was already asleep and I was sitting outside smoking a cigarette when the voice returned.

“You’re a failure. Look at you. How many cigarettes did you have today? You’re a loser. You’re a fake artist. Nothing you do matters. Nothing you do makes a difference. Your music sucks. You suck.”

“Shutup,” I said out loud.

“Who are you talking to?” she asked from behind me. I hadn’t seen her walk out.

“Nobody,” I said.

“I heard you talking.”

“Just nothing. Nevermind. It doesn’t matter,” I said.

She knelt down in front of me and looked me in the eyes before she said, “It’s back isn’t it?”

“With a vengeance,” I replied.

“What should we do?”

“Nothing. It doesn’t matter.”

“It matters darling. It matters. You matter.”

“I don’t.”

“Yes you do. You matter.”

“I don’t.”

***

It was morning again and she woke up before me. I know because she told me later on. She told me I was talking in my sleep.

“You were calling yourself names,” she said. “Horrible names. Words I’ve never heard you speak before.”

“Was I?” I replied. “I don’t remember.”

“Were you dreaming?”

“I don’t remember.”

I got up and walked to the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee, and I remembered how Mason hated the sound of the grinder.

“You’re nothing,” said the voice.

“Shutup,” I said.

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