Please read “About this project and the Author” for more information on my project. In this excerpt, Daryl explains to his producer Susan why he is telling his story…
“I say that last sentence looking at Susan in her booth and I can see her face go from a mildly sad look to a look of complete horror.
“Time for the news folks, when we come back, another song and, of course, the rest of our story for the night.” Susan switches to the news and brings me a bottle of water.
“There is a buzz about what you’re doing. The phone lines are flashing like a christmas tree and the emails are pouring in.”
“Good!” I say. “Maybe the suits will stop bothering me with their moronic ideas to improve our numbers”.
“Daryl, I don’t know what you’re going to say next but if it’s too much, you don’t have to go through with..”
“I’m doing this Susan” I interrupt her. I lift my head to look at Susan straight in the eyes. “Annie left me. She left me because I wouldn’t talk to her about this stuff”.
Susan is the only one from the station who knows about Annie and I. We’ve been working together long enough to share some of our secrets; at one point it becomes inevitable. Our relationship has been enhanced by the fact that we are on the night shift which means it’s pretty much just the two of us and the janitorial staff, one of whom I have affectionately nicknamed “Hey”. As in “Hey, you!” or “Hey, look who’s here”. That’s how close I normally like to get to people.
When Susan went through a very tough divorce a few years ago, I was the one buying her groceries and delivering them to her house, which at the time she only left to come to work, looking like a real mess. She had stopped eating all together and although I’m not one to meddle in other people’s affairs, I was genuinely worried for her. She pulled through and in the process she has become the closest thing to a friend I am willing to have. In fact she is the perfect friend for someone like me; we work together, we help see each other through rough times and leave each other the hell alone in good ones.
Susan once again puts a hand on my shoulder and says “I’m sorry to hear about Annie. You know how much I think you guys make a cute couple, but are you doing this just to win her back?”
I stare in front of me to think for a few seconds. Of course I want Annie back but I could have just told her my story in private, something I know she would have preferred. This isn’t a grand gesture so she will run back to me, then it’s fade out and run the credits. No, this also has to be for me. This has to be about adding sound to the images of my past that have been playing in my head like one very long silent movie. A silence that has become so deafening after I woke up without Annie on Sunday, I can’t even hear myself think anymore.
Finally, I just turn to Susan and say “There’s more to it than getting Annie back. Sometimes…sometimes you’ve got to do what’s right for you. And this, here and now, this is what’s right for me. I have to say the words, Susan.”
Susan rushes back to her booth and signals the news are finished. She then plays the song titled “Can’t keep it in”. I push the button to speak to her in her booth and say “Impressive! I didn’t know you spoke irony so well!” She winks and smiles at me.
While the song is playing, I’m debating wether to send a text message to Annie to warn her of what is coming. What she is about to hear won’t be easy for her and I want to tell her that it will be ok, that the violence and sadness I am about to put into words will end at some point. That after this chapter, it gets better because it is only my soul that takes a beating. I’m still debating what to do when I realize the song is almost over. My timing is definitely off tonight and a with signal from Susan, we are back on the air. I’m counting on my experience and my reflexes to take me through the next few moments. Still, another deep breath is in order. I have a feeling I will need more of these before this night is over.
“Welcome back to our show…”
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This project is entirely written on an iPad…