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Short stories by David Satterlee
|Life Will Get You in the End:|
Short Stories by David Satterlee
The work of being depressed is a fierce and demanding labor. Life, if you can be generous enough to call it that, is lived in the grip of helplessness and impotence, peering without defense at the raving terrors assaulting the small window that promises a meager ration of outside light.
Every act of every person threatens harm. My futon in my private room is my best place. I could almost like being there except for the dreadful lethargy of that place. I tell people that I often lack the will to turn over in bed. If it weren't happening to me, I wouldn’t believe it either. Nothing calls to me to tempt me to give up my nothingness. Nothing makes more sense than laying still.
I am driving home. Traffic is insane. Every vehicle is hell-bent on its own destruction or mine. Watch everywhere, check the mirrors again. Is he going to pass? Is she going to pull out? The rims on his front wheels are still turning, She might stop or she might pull into me. Take your foot off the gas and keep it poised over the brake. Slow down anyway. If it happens I’ll be going slow enough that only the car will be hurt. Moving past now. Already scanning ahead.
I used to drive all the time. I was good at it. It was freedom to move and I was the man and responsible for my precious cargo. Now, driving is hell. The moan came from me but I didn’t think it. It arose from deep within my chest by its own insistent power. My left knee strikes the door panel, hard. It helped a little. Let it go again. Bam, bam. I’m only twenty minutes from home. Just keep going. Just keep going.
My family wants to help me get out of the house and I agree to go. My wife drives and the boys sit in the back. I’m pressed back into the passenger seat and leaning slightly to the right. I can’t get any further into a corner.
Maybe they just wanted to eat out and conscience wouldn’t let them leave me behind. Maybe they feel sorry for me or just some urge to comfort the cowering beast. I’ll go. Food is the one thing that I’m not so indifferent to. No, not indifferent, this is what I’m supposed to do and the family is going and so will I.
The parking lot at last. Everybody sees it at the same time I do. There are two people standing outside the front door smoking. I can’t stand smoking. I can’t be close to smoking. Smokers are hateful, unreasonable, and an offense to society. The family just wants to get inside and they urge me to just get past it. I’m going to try. My God, I’m going to try.
Every step closer is harder than the last. I stare at them. It is important that they know how much they offend me. I growl, catch their attention and hiss while I hold my breath and quickly scout around them, keeping at least twelve feet of distance. The family walks ahead; they pretend not to know me.
It would be unfinished, wouldn't it? Depression never ends... or it seems like it anyway. And, if you're depressed who has the energy or interest to see the effort through to the end and tied with a bow?