THEY BOTH SAT ON STELLA'S COUCH half facing other, half facing the TV as the stars shone in with a soapy light from the 13th story apartment balcony window behind them. Casey pet her friend's hair as tears ran down Stella's cheeks.
"I haven't even had a boyfriend in two years!' Stella sobbed. 'I haven't even had sex in two and a half!"
"I thought you didn't want a boyfriend right now. You said you were too busy," her friend tried to reassure her. Stella worked for Shuster and Prinsum at the world class publishing firm's urbane downtown Canadian head office.
"I am! But that still doesn't change the fact that I haven't had one in two years...even if I wanted one!"
Casey continued to pet her friend's hair...watching her sulk.
"I don't understand," Stella continued, "I'm hep. I'm modern. I buy the right clothes. I drink the right soft drinks. I make a lot of money. I have a cellular phone. So how come I'm not happy?"
"You're the communications expert," Casey said, "You tell me. Besides, we've had this conversation before, you know there is no specific formula to happiness..."
"I know!" she wailed and hugged Casey, "That's what makes things even worse."
They sat as Stella wept.
"You know, I've never seen you cry before," Casey remarked. "I've never seen you feel so sorry for yourself."
"I know! I never cry," but the realization of that just made her feel worse and she started crying harder, sobbing heavily, "I don't know what's wrong with me. I started crying Friday night. Then it stopped for a while." She dabbed her eyes with some tissue paper Casey had given her, "Then it started again. It kept stopping and starting, getting longer and more frequent all Saturday. I fell asleep crying Saturday night and I haven't stopped crying yet! The worse part is I don't know why I'm crying. It's just happening. I'm a mess."
"Geeze," Casey replied.
"I feel sooooo bad." She wailed, wiping her eyes and smiling. "My cheeks are getting wrinkly from the tears."
Casey thought a bit. "You know, sports help. If I do some physical activity I usually feel better."
"Yeah. You've got the week off. Why don't you use it to try and get yourself back into emotional shape?"
"Yeah. If it makes me feel better..."
"I think it's a good idea."
Stella nodded but she was sobbing lightly now and didn't speak. Casey rubbed her friend's back. "You'll be all right," she said and, after a while, turned to stare out the window. It was really nice out...dark, moonlit. Casey, from Stella's apartment, had a beautiful view of the downtown and the harbour. The dull sound of the inlet water was speckled lightly with the faded sounds of cars and people on the street far below and on the other side of the building...almost as if a soundtrack to the small little specks of light coming from the high-rises and offices across the inlet. These lights reflected in the water were quietly dancing to this soft downtown Sunday night soundtrack.
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Common Sense Drinks Alone:
by Chuck Scott
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