The Cause

The message came in sometime overnight.  He woke up early because his bladder told him to, and went to the bathroom.  When he returned to bed, he saw his phone was blinking.  He checked the message.

He was happy for her.  And then suddenly, he felt alone.  He knew it wouldn’t be them.  He expected the day when it finally got through his fantasies and into the reality, but he still wasn’t prepared for it.

When he finally got out of bed later in the morning, he looked at himself in the mirror.

“Am I ugly?  Am I unattractive?  I don’t think I’m fat.  I try to be a good person.  I try not to be the bad guy, or the nice guy.  I don’t understand why she doesn’t feel for me,” he said to himself.

He got dressed and brushed his teeth, and went to buy supplies for his coffee.  He thought about the woman he met the evening before, and how she seemed nice and all, but that there was no real connection there.  He wondered if she was just shy or uninterested.  He wondered why he could connect so strongly with someone he could not have.  He wondered if the two times he felt deeply for someone and those feelings were returned would ever happen again.

He could feel the depression starting to creep in.  He was absolutely determined not to let the darkness get a hold of him.  He drove out of the store parking lot and instead went to his favorite nearby coffee shop.  He thought that he might have the chance to encounter more people there than at the store.  He also didn’t feel like making his own coffee.

He found parking easily, which was a good omen as far as he was concerned.  He walked in the door and ordered his coffee.  He looked around as he waited and the place was nearly empty.  One couple sat together at one of the tables talking over their pastries and drinks, and another woman had her nose buried in a laptop.

“So much for that,” he thought to himself.

When his coffee was up, he took it from the barista and thanked her.  Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a head pop out above a laptop.  A very beautiful woman looked over the laptop at him and smiled.  When he turned his head to smile back, she dropped her face right back into the laptop again.

He laughed inwardly, and felt a little lifted.  He considered going over to talk to her, but the way she ducked so quickly back into her laptop gave him the idea she didn’t want to be talked to.  He did attempt to make eye contact with her again, and even moved his body to the side to see if he could catch her attention behind the screen, but it was no use.  So he took his coffee and walked out of the door.

He was about ready to get in his car, when he heard a shouting from across and down the street.

“Beasely!  Beasley, come back!” he heard woman call.

“Beasely, I knew a girl with a dog named Beasely once.  Oh fuck, I hope it’s not her!” he thought as he looked down the street toward the shouting.

It wasn’t her.  An older woman was running and coming up toward him but on the other side of the street, and in front of her was a big, fluffy, dog.

He checked for traffic and darted across the street ending up on the sidewalk in front of the dog.  He ducked down, clapped his hands, and said in his best doggy voice, “Beasely!  Beasely!  Come here, boy!”

The dog happily waddled up to him for petting.  He held him by the collar until his owner arrived holding a leash.

“Oh, thank you!  Thank you!” the woman cried.  “I must not have attached the leash all the way.  I don’t know what I would’ve done if something happened to him!”

“No problem,” he said as he watched her attach the leash to the collar to make sure it was secure.  He smiled and told her to have a good day.

He checked traffic again and crossed back to his car.  The woman with the laptop was standing outside the doorway of the coffee shop.

“You’re amazing!” she said to him.

“Well, nice to meet you too,” he joked.

“I saw you get that dog, that was so sweet of you,” she began, “I wanted to say hi to you before in the coffee shop but I have really bad social anxiety.”

“And yet you introduce yourself to people by saying they’re amazing?  I don’t know, seems pretty brave to me,” he laughed, playfully.

“I’m such a dork,” she started, “I just meant what you did.”

“I know,” he told her.

They had about a ten minute conversation there in front of the coffee shop.  Her name was Evangeline.  He remembered how he knew an Evangeline in high school, and thought it was weird to hear two familiar names from his past in this encounter.  The conversation was light and flirty, and she agreed to meet him in three days for coffee.  She gave him her number without asking and walked to her car.  He watched as she got in and drove away.

He smiled as he stepped into the street to get into his car.  He never saw the bus coming.

The witnesses said he just stepped right out in front of it.

When the investigators went through his things, they found the paintings he made for her, the drawing of her.  They found the picture she sent him and the one he took of her on his phone.  They found the love letters he was just waiting for a sign that he should send them.  And they found her message to him overnight.

The cause of death was ruled a suicide.

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Author: Josh Wrenn

Cancer survivor, wanna-be artist, musician, author, and all around good guy.

22 thoughts on “The Cause”

    1. Well, I wrote it with the somber twist in mind. The rest of the story was kind of a way to get there. Sometimes I write backwards Might be a fun challenge to come up with an alternate though. Good idea, I’ll see if I can come up with anything.

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  1. I just read Big Little Lies which starts out with the idea that someone dies and throughout the entire book I was worrying about who the victim would be. One of the characters finally found a love interest and I was so devastated because I “just knew” she’d die. (Not saying if I was right) This story reminded me of that book. I think romantic thoughts really are deadly!

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