“Bullshit!” Mandy exclaimed.
It’s 5pm and Mandy has just finished her second shift of work for the day. She unbuttoned her shirt, threw her knickers to the bin, and just settled on the couch. Tired bags have lined her usually twinkling eyes.
It has been another tiring day at work.
Vince was glad Mandy got home okay. He knew how stressed Mandy was at work. She’s been sulking around lately and he naturally just assumed… No, hoped, she was all right.
Today, however, he had the gut feeling Mandy was stressing over something else other than work… something more emotional.
“I was at the Convention,” Vince started thinking as he took a sip of his coffee. “She wanted me there. She kept asking me to go, and saying I had to do that speech. But it was too public… too open. There were too many people.”
Vince rubbed his neck and scratched the stubble of his beard, reminding himself that he probably needed to shave soon in order to look like a proper human being.
“I knew I should be with more public people,” Vince thought. “But I just want normal. Perhaps cut the extroverted crap and just hide away in my hole…”
Then he looked at Mandy sitting on the couch, “Oh wait, I’m in a relationship. No way am I ever getting any of this holing up in the wall alone.”
He sighed and looked at Mandy.
She looked at him and wasn’t at all pleased herself.
Vince has always known her to be one of the most optimistic people he’s known. He has joked, rather lamely, that he thought she was as bright as the sun. He held no doubt that she was.
She was always smiling and beaming. She always looked happy – sometimes a little too happy. It doesn’t seem like anything could bother her at all.
But now, perhaps there is something that bothers her.
Through the course of their relationship, Mandy has never been the one to get through emotional roller coasters.
Mandy was always hanging out with tons of friends. She’s the one who’s always away and doing something. For one week she’d go off teaching and in another she would travel and participate in volunteering events. She has that zest for life – traveling, writing, starting up a business – that he couldn’t quite grasp.
Mandy has this intense, uncontrollable energy that keeps her moving on to a great idea. It seemed like the more the world challenges her, the more she embraces the challenge… and she always manages to do so with a smile. How she does it, he doesn’t know. But that’s part of what makes her so charming.
The bitter, miserable Mandy in front of him isn’t the Mandy he knows.
He immediately pondered over the possibility that he could be the problem.
Mandy has always been a ray of sunshine while Vince has been the cold, lingering storm.
He tries to keep up with her energy, but, most times, he’s just exhausted, frustrated and worn.
He knows that Mandy is too good for him. Often, he’d wonder if Mandy knew that. She’s too smart, friendly, outgoing, and funny – pretty much everything he isn’t.
He knows he’s definitely lucked out to have her as his girl. Sometimes, he’d wondered if Mandy ever felt the same.
There are moments, though, when he’d miss being alone.
Dating Mandy isn’t so bad. She’s always so much fun to be around. Yet, he’d miss his solitary cave every now and then. These days, though, he’s come to miss the tranquil comfort of solitary confinement much more often. He’d try to shrug it off, wondering all the while how he could possibly be so happy in a relationship and still want to be alone.
Mandy curses blasphemic frustrations in the air.
This isn’t the Mandy Vince knows.
Mandy was sweet and kind and loving. The Mandy in front of him looked bitter, sad, and alone. How that could happen just seems difficult to understand.
Vince sits beside her and asks, “Babe, what’s wrong?”
Mandy looks intently into Vince’s eyes, her gaze deep and stormy. She looks angry, frustrated and sad.
Tears start streaming down her eyes to her cheeks.
Mandy touches Vince’s face as if she’s afraid he’ll disappear. For a moment, Vince felt the same. Then Mandy leaned in close, and whispered in his ear…
“I wish I was real.”