Not everything read in the following passages will suffice, and you’ll have to go on living after you finish reading them–even though you may have already stopped reading long before these words here. For this, I would like to apologize. It’s not unlike going to a baseball game, walking up to the entrance gate, and remembering you forgot to renew your season tickets this year as you reach into your pocket. However, there are always scalpers. If you’re from Phoenix, the box office will surely have a few tickets to spare too–perhaps at a discounted cost depending on whether you arrived early or late. But still, there spawns a reasonable amount of rage as an obese family wearing the away team’s merchandise pushes you from behind on their way to the gate. Maybe you should just go home.
You can’t let it go though. Someone has wronged you, and you want justice or to understand why. Why you? Who would want to hurt you. You can read into it. Make a list of possible suspects. But wasn’t it you who forgot to renew the tickets?
They weren’t even good seats: nosebleeds, all the way up at the top overlooking right field. You get vertigo just thinking about it. You might ask yourself why you even bought season tickets to begin with, or why you bought them for those five years prior or why you used to buy two seats instead of one. Who were you taking? Who were you planning to take? Did they say “no”? That’s okay. Unless, you cancelled on them last minute without giving them any real reason.
Stop. You know the truth, or you thought you did.
As you stand outside of the stadium watching the crowd pass through the gates without you, you can hear the excitement of a child seeing their first game, and the beer-and-peanuts man calling out from within. “COLD BEER! PEANUTS!” he announces.
A cold beer sounds nice. Especially after the day you’ve had. Bud Light only costs $12 at the ballpark. That’s more than you make an hour. It’ll be the best beer you’ve had all day, and didn’t you call in sick to catch this matinee game anyways?
You look around and see a ticket scalper standing by the parking garage across from the stadium. He’s wearing the same shirt as you. You approach him as if he were dangerous. Trust builds over time. You chuckle and point from your shirt to his. He stares at you from behind last week’s giveaway gift from the stadium–a pair of plastic sunglasses that have the team’s logo on the sides. He says nothing. He knows why you’re here, right?
Suspicion mounts in the back of your mind as you stand there with him in silence. He reaches into his cargo shorts. Aren’t there laws against scalping this close to the stadium? Something doesn’t seem right. The scalper pulls a ticket out from his pocket. Didn’t you used to buy two tickets? This could be a positive change for you. It’s alright to make the same mistake many times over as long as you realize it was a mistake.
The scalper is frustrated by the amount of time you’re taking to decide.
He’s ripping you off. You just know it. Everyone has. Everyone will.
You don’t really think that way, do you? I hope not. I worry about you. It feels necessary to tell you–despite your issues with emotional attachment and intimacy–that I think I love you. How did that feel? You hated that.
Eventually, you turn your back on the scalper and walk back towards the box office. You notice a sign that reads, “SOLD OUT.” Perfection.
Before you know it, you’ve driven to the bar you haunt. The one you wanted to celebrate your engagement at, or maybe you haunt it looking for someone to celebrate anything with. Anyways, the beer is cheap and “There Stands the Glass” is playing from the jukebox. The bartender smiles and nods as you take a seat at the bar. Her name is Ruth. Ruth puts a bowl of nuts on the bar in front of you and sets a Pabst on a small napkin. You take a sip of beer and give a tiny smile upward at the game playing on the TV above the bar. Without thinking about it, you reach your hand into the bowl of nuts. Beer goes well with nuts. You grab a handful and pop them into your mouth. You didn’t expect them to be unsalted, mixed nuts.
Hayden Corwin is a writer living in New Orleans. He is a recent graduate of Loyola University New Orleans with a BA in English (creative writing). @HaydenCorwin