creative nonfiction by Mitchell G. Roshannon
I puffed lightly from the butt of an old cigarillo I had found beaten and whimpering in the ashtray, a picture of myself as an introspective writer that breathes out long puffs of smoke as he thinks of Paris still stuck in the back of my skull. I was unaware, believe it or not, of just how bad smoking was for my heart, and completely complacent in the damage that it would cause a few years later. A sidekick, a woman who I cared for and at one time loved, laid fast asleep in the passenger seat beside me. After 11 hours, there really was nothing left. If it wasn’t for the heat and stickiness of the little four door sedan, I would have joined her in the land of slumber.
I realized I never clocked out and mourned the fifteen minutes after normal clock out I’d lose in response, since they would auto-clock me at ten instead of ten-fifteen. Our work shirts turned blue, then red, then yellow in the glow of the Ferris wheel, still clearly visible from the parking lot. Security would turn out the lights later. My pay stubs sat dirty on the floor, money already gone. The bills were paid, though, which was an unusual but happy accident. Mothers and fathers with kids in tow were still leaving, smiling, ready to return to their happy homes, unaware entirely of my existence. I remembered my own mother. She used to bring me here when she wasn’t working or sick. I wondered how many years it had been since she died. It felt like a while. I was then half the age of my mother at her death, her age always a measurement of how long I have. That leaves me, I suppose, at my midlife crisis. I knew the concept was silly but that didn’t make it feel any less real. Trying to logic through it never helped, in fact, these days logic might damn well confirm what I had always thought was true.
In that moment, in the darkness of a blue Hyundai Accent that may soon be my home, interrupted occasionally by headlights, I contemplated giving the woman snoring next to me a ring. It wasn’t that she ever loved me and happiness wouldn’t exist, but I would have had security, a future in hand to plan for, someone down on their luck to take care of, more down on their luck than me to spend my last half of life with. Someone for which a car and company and a decent life insurance plan would be enough. The cigarillo burnt my hand. The red hot tip had eaten its way through the last few centimeters of tobacco while I wasn’t looking. I dropped it on the matt, stomped it out with my foot, turned on the engine, and drove away. I drove to the local Walmart and with my final six dollars bought flowers.
Mitchell G. Roshannon
Mitchell G Roshannon is a senior at Susquehanna University finishing up his Creative Writing and English double major. His future plans are a little fuzzy and unknown though he knows for sure that he is going to pursue the creation of his own small press as a passion project with which to continue his love and engagement with writing communities.