the burn

The sun had been falling out of the sky all Sunday afternoon, before I realized I had a burn on my forearms that looked like I’d been reaching down into a bathtub filled with acid for a bar of soap. I couldn’t hide it at work without wearing long sleeves so I just let it show and waited for the comments. Nancy the Self Esteem Annihilator as I like to call her approached me eating her hand. “Get out much?” she said. “It depends on what you mean by much,” I said. “How’s that fingernail treating you?” “I’m just nervous,” she said. “Frazzled,” I said. She grabbed me by the forearms and started to twist. She made one of them bleed and pus a little. I grabbed a chair at the lunch room table and hit her over the back with it. She broke into pieces. I swept her up and tossed her in the garbage. “That’s what you get,” I said. “That’s what you get,” she said. Clearly, Nancy was having a bad day and I was beginning to think it was probably worse than mine and that more than anything she needed a friend now to listen to her and validate her emotions. I rolled the trash over and looked down into it at Nancy, who I hoped would become a much better friend, perhaps something more.

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