An Unenviable Position

by Thane Thompson

I have a friend named Darrin Wilson, and while I haven't known him very long, maybe three or four years, it doesn't take much to realize that he's just an all around great guy. I don't want to envy him, though – not his six-figure salary, or his amazing family, or his beautiful wife; because you see, Darrin's a pediatric oncologist, and, even though he never talks about work, I'm betting his stories could make your hair fall out. Darrin lets himself get drunk one day a year, on October 22nd, whether he needs to or not; and I finally figured out why it's that day in particular. He asked me to go with him on his yearly bender, and I promised, on the drive home from the bar, to take that little side trip to Holy Angels cemetery. I was just about to ask him what the hell we were doing when he asked me to stop the car; and then he got out, swaying a bit as he did it, lay down on the uneven grass and dry, brittle leaves, and wrapped his arms around the headstone of a six-year-old little girl named Hannah, who'd died on October 22nd, 1993. As he lay there, he slurred out, "She was the first one I ever lost," and I knelt down and put my hand on his shoulder while he cried; and then I thought about my own family, and my measly little job with its meager little paycheck, and I realized that, no, I didn't envy him – not one little bit.

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Thane Thompson, author of Far Too Good for Ordinary People, writes literary prose and poetry, fantasy, and science fiction. His work has appeared at The Writer's Eye Magazine, Pen Pricks Micro Fiction, and is forthcoming at Tiny Lights "Flash in the Pan." He lives in Ohio with his wife, daughter, and two highly opinionated cats. He freely admits to liking cheap wine, expensive movies, and hand-blown glassware.