its ok to not

A narrative, play(ish), experimental (not really) kind of dialogue scene for you (but mostly me).


“She’s resting.” Stan walks into the living room. I nod. “I’ll give you a list of things to say when she gets like that. She just needs someone to tell her everything is clean, or, well, it’s fine that it’s not. Some other stuff too. Lots of breathing.”

“I’m sorry I had to call y-”

“No,” He sits down in the chair across from me. “I’m glad you did.”

I nod, looking down at the carpet. It’s extremely beige. I don’t think I’ve seen a more plain shade of beige before in my entire

“You alright?” He asks. I look up. Staring at me. I force a smile.

“I worked a double shift yesterday.”


“I can, um…”

I lose the word.

“I’m tired, I should go.”

“You don’t have to.” He says it genuinely. It takes me a moment to realize it. And then he thinks. Maybe he’s just bored. “Am said you weren’t feeling well recently, right?”

“Yeah, but, I’m fine.” I try to convince him. He raises his eyebrows. “Really.”

“It’s okay to be not okay.”

“I, I know, I just want to be there for her. I want to be able to help.”

“Are you helping yourself?”

“Yeah- listen, I think you’re a nice guy,” I try to mask my annoyance with reasoning. “But you don’t know me.”

“I’m not saying I do,” He shakes his head, trying to stay democratic. “I just- I know it can be hard. Are you seeing someone?”



“I’m handling it. I’m getting better. Look-”

“Do you remember crying in my bathroom? Because I remember that and it didn’t seem like the thing to come from a man who is getting bette-”

“You know what-” I go to stand up.

“I’m not trying to attack you,” He says.

“Well it really seems-”

“I just want you to be alright.” Pause. “Okay?”

I sigh, sitting fully in my seat again. He looks almost defeated.

“Listen I…” He touches his face. He’s uncomfortable. “After my wife passed I was so- I was, I was terribly depressed. I couldn’t do anything, my brother and his wife had to take care of Amaranth. I just- I understand, is all. I don’t want you to have to, I don’t know… But go talk to someone.”


I fill my rotting lungs slowly, thinking of what to say.

“I’m sorry about your wife.”

I guess that works.

“It,” He looks down. “It’s alright.”

Silence. Soft humming in the distance.

“No one should feel this way.”

“I know.”

I should say something.

Make it genuine.

“I feel like I’m filled with tar.”

He nods.

“I feel like every time I breathe I infect those around me. So I try not to breathe around her… It’s- I don’t know if i-it’s-”

“She’s strong, you know. She can handle it. She can’t handle dirt, but she can handle what you throw at her. I promise.”

“I like you,” I say. “And I really, really like Am. But I don’t know if… this was-”

“I trust my daughter,” He starts. “And if she thinks this is all a good idea, then I’m going with it. You have mine, her support. You’ve got your family, and friends. Don’t go around thinking this tar is going to take you over.”

He smiles, and it’s nice.

But the thing is,

it already has.



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