Photo: Genessa Gutzait · The Sentry

Photo: Genessa Gutzait · The Sentry
Sadness + Brownies

This was not the first time that the sadness had taken over Marcus.

He called it sadness because he wasn’t sure what else to name it. It wasn’t depression, or at least he hoped it wasn’t. In his experience, depression was something much more severe and permanent and gross. Marcus knew people with depression; most of his friends had it. Marcus was not one of those people, though sometimes he questioned it.

It was not anything like depression even. He could still eat, drink, sleep, and work without much of an interruption. Whatever this feeling was, it wasn’t with him always and it left him functional enough.

He walked to the window and looked down at the parking lot. Snow covered the asphalt like confectioners’ sugar on the brownies he used to eat every time they went to Delfino’s.

He thought of home. He thought of the smaller streets, smaller shopping malls, smaller movie theaters.

If he hadn’t chosen to come here, would anything be different?  It was never his decision; he had never wanted this. But sometimes he did. Sometimes when he was walking home at night and passed through the sidewalks of 16th, which were still crowded at 10 p.m., he smiled to himself. He liked the strangers, the musicians, the stench that can only be found in a city. He even liked taking the bus and train, for whatever amount of happiness that was worth staying for.

The sadness, or whatever it was, maneuvered its way back to the front lines of his thoughts. Marcus thought about crying at the same time he considered calling home, just to hear their voices. In the end, he moved away from the window and did neither.

He took his book bag from the foot of his bed, went into the living room and sat on the couch. He produced the scrap of pulp from his binder and held it for a long while, thinking lightly about the proposition.

He couldn’t decide if an appointment was weakness or not, nor could he decipher if he should risk it being weak.

For the second time in five minutes, he resolved to do nothing.

At some point, he fell asleep on the couch, having dropped the piece of paper on the linoleum. He decided, in his final moments of full consciousness, that he should go to the store and buy brownie mix.

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