I took the last drag of my cigarette and slowly exhaled the cancerous, delicious tar. The poisonous mist danced gracefully away and disappeared into the hot summer air. My eyes gazed up towards the streetlights and stars wistfully. I wanted to light another one to prolong the peace of the summer night and the beautiful sky. I knew deep down that I had to go back inside.
That I had to go back inside to her.
I creaked the door and entered my house slowly, with the caution of an experienced burglar. I slunk over to fridge to grab a Miller High Life and plopped down on the couch to crack it open, pulling the tab ever-so-delicately as to make as little noise as possible. A pop and a small hiss escaped the cylinder. After the break in the failed to alert any attention, I turned on the hockey game and watched mindlessly. It’s all I wanted to do after my 10-hour shift. I needed this. Maybe tonight I could finally get some normality. That’s when I heard bare feet pattering towards me on the hardwood floor.
“Honey, we need to talk.”
“Okay, what is it?” I asked.
I didn’t need to ask, I knew exactly what was coming. I knew I had to choose my words carefully. I knew that my life will never know peace.
“I’ve had a rough day today, and my anxiety is really bad. I’m going to revert tonight. Once it happens I’ll need a diapy change.”
The word “diapy” pierced the core of my soul.
“Alright, well, look, this is a playoff game. The Jets haven’t been this close to the Cup in a long time and there’s only 10 minutes left in the third period. Just let me watch it and-”
“No!” She shrieked. “Baby need diapy change and stowy-time now!”
I sighed deeply, but not loud enough for her to hear, and turned off the TV. I held her hand and walked her to our bedroom. I sleep in a bedroom with over 200 stuffed animals.
As I placed a pacifier into an adult woman’s mouth I thought back to when Melissa and I had first met at a La Dispute show in 2015. We hung out that night after the show and partied until dawn. She even told me she was into some weird roleplaying stuff when we had breakfast together the following morning. I just assumed that she meant she liked to pretend she was a school teacher, or a cop or something during sex. I never imagined it would be anything like this. She was cute, fun, and seemingly cool when I met her. I was a young, desperate fool who just had to have a girlfriend. I was too desperate and too impatient. Now here I am, reading “Green Eggs and Ham” to a 22-year-old with a septum piercing, a pacifier, and sparrow tattoos.
My life is a cruel joke. I drive to work and back every day in complete silence. No radio, no podcasts. Nothing. I do it because it’s the only solitude I get in a day and I cherish it dearly. My friends belittle me mercilessly, family does not take me seriously. I must adhere to all of her rules and follow Melissa’s vegan diet, I haven’t had friends over for a BBQ or even grilled a steak in years, I’m not even sure I can anymore. I’m not sure I can do any of this anymore.
I snapped out of my cruel past and back into my cruel present. I had to get Melissa ready for her “beddy-time”. I carefully played my part in her routine of singing “Mary Had A Little Lamb” to her, putting on her jammies, and tucking her into her crib. The crib that I had spent my Christmas bonus on last year.
“I wuv you, daddy.” She said in her faux sleepy voice as she nestled her nose into my chest. It’s a good thing I had died inside long ago, or else that would have sent me into the brink of insanity.
“I- I wuv you too.”
I sat back down on the sofa after Melissa’s “beddy-time” was over. I downed my Miller in one thirsty swallow and immediately cracked another. In total tranquillity and darkness, I stayed, staring into the void. The late-night infomercial salesmen were far more comforting than they could ever know. I had thought that I could finally be free for the night. Melissa’s piercing cry molested the moment over the baby monitor. I thought about setting myself free forever. But instead, I finished my beer in one efficient, numb-seeking slurp. It’s time to be “Daddy” again.
My mother always wanted me to have a baby, and now I do. Do not live like me, for I am dead.