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A Voicemail From Dearly Beloved

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⠀⠀Heather had left a week ago, and that was fine. Will told himself it was, so it was. It didn’t matter if he was ignoring the obvious, he always was. Like how he constantly tells himself it’s /fine/ that he drinks this much, and that he feels this miserable. Like how he constantly tells himself Johnny will come back, when he hadn’t heard from him in months.
⠀⠀Lying to himself, even when it was obvious, was the only way he knew how to handle most the things thrown at him. So when Heather left, he started the process again. Told himself he was /fine/ alone and he wouldn’t need anyone anyway; he knew how wrong that was and how much he always needed someone and continued to say it. This was fine.
⠀⠀He has skipped work, just for today. Told himself it wouldn’t become a habit and that he just needed a day alone. Every day was a day alone, but he needed a day alone.
⠀⠀He hated being alone. He hated how he chased everyone away, or how they just finally realized he wasn’t all that good and left. He hated how he couldn’t find a place to start in being better, so perhaps people wouldn’t leave.
⠀⠀He hated a lot of things, but as he sat on the back of the couch and began pulling the dingy brown blanket over his wrist so many times, he hated himself the most. He unclenched the blanket after a moment, letting it fall off his hands and onto the equally dingy couch.
⠀⠀He leaned over to the side table and pressed a button on the answering machine, he heard the call come in an hour ago, and had spent the last fifty eight minutes getting the motivation to hit the button to hear whatever message Heather left. He knew it was her, no one else cared to call. He was surprised she still did.
⠀⠀He could hear their child crying in the background, a soft “sh, mommy’s got you,” and the crying stopped seconds later. He listened, picking up the blanket again and beginning to tug again.
⠀⠀”Hey, I know you’re home,” how would she, she knows his work schedule, but he supposed that she also knows how he isolates himself. “I just wanted to remind you of a few things,”
⠀⠀He wished he had the motivation to stop the voicemail, every thing she said stung, harsh reminders followed by how /well/ she’s been this past week. But when it clicked finished, he couldn’t stop himself from shoving the whole thing off the table angrily. He watched it fall, break a bit of plastic off.
⠀⠀The final words echoed in his head as he slammed his whole body back on the couch, “nobody likes you, everyone left you, they’re all out without you having fun.” It was true, and that’s why it hurt. If it hadn’t been so true it wouldn’t matter. But he knew it was, he knew that’s why he sat there alone with a dingy blanket, a blaring television, and a broken answering machine.
⠀⠀The echoing continued, and he wondered how long it had been true, how long people pretended to put up with him before getting tired of it and leaving. Leaving him.