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Emotions are Normal... and Needed Vignette

A fictional short related to a Post.

From beneath a pile of twisted throw blankets and abnormally bright cheese dust a muffled voice muttered, “I just want to be happy.”

Meg blinked at the darkness of the room from the doorway. “Yeah? What if we start smaller.”

A very messy head slowly slunk out from under the edge of a blanket. Chloe frowned at her. “What do you mean?”

“Well, where are you right now?” Meg threw open one of the curtains. Chloe hissed. Meg rolled her eyes.

“The pit of despair.”

“What if, hypothetically, we just try not to be sad first? Happy is somewhere after that.”

“I don’t know. That’s like telling me to calm down when I’m freaking out.”

“I don’t mean just turn off an emotion. It doesn’t work like that. More like, let’s get out of this pit first? I’m no albino henchman. I’m not nursing you back to health just so you can torture yourself again.” Meg scooped up several old take out boxes and the science experiment happening in an old bowl. It smelled rank.

“I don’t want to be tortured.”

“Yeah? Then why are you living in a dungeon? Look at this mess. It’s dark and depressing in here. You say you don’t want to be sad, but so far I’m not seeing the evidence.”

Chloe sat up. Meg paused with a horrified look on her face. Chloe looked down at herself. She had become immune to noticing the various stains. She could only barely smell herself now. “What?”

“Go shower.”

“But… I don’t have the energy.”

“You probably feel that way because you haven’t been taking care of yourself. We’re in a snake eating its own tail situation here. We need to add something new to the loop to break the cycle. Like soap. Stop eating your own tail, get in the shower, and I’ll look for provisions. Also, don’t even think about putting those pj’s back on. Get dressed. New, clean clothes.”

Chloe groaned dramatically. “This sucks.”

“Yeah, it does.”

Chloe reentered the room a while later. Meg had put some light music on in the background, the lights were on, and already two trash bags were sitting by the door to go out. Meg was sitting on the couch sipping coffee and gestured to the other waiting cup.

“You look better. Feel better?”

“Maybe a little.”

“Whenever you feel like you’re in a hole the first step is to get to level ground. We can’t go from the bottom of a hole to the top of the mountain in one go. There are bits in between.”

“Is that like a quote or something?”

“Something my therapist says.”

“You go to therapy?”

“Used to.”

“Oh. I thought you had your life together.”

Meg chuckled. “Therapy isn’t just for when you fall completely apart. That’s like waiting for your broken leg to get infected before going to the doctor about the break.”

“I never thought of it like that.” They sat in the stillness of the apartment for a while.

Meg nudged Chloe’s shoulder with her head. “Feel a little different?”

“I guess.”

“Awesome. You just got a little bit closer to where you want to be.” Chloe let out a little smile as Meg clinked their mugs together.


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