Cheer the Lonely

Janis sat on the bench beside the street and stared into the great void of her life.

There was nothing she could point to of value. Nothing she could say, “I did well here,” or “I feel good about this.” No one she could say she was close to, or even really acquainted with. She had a few coworkers, a few people she occasionally had a drink with after work, but she couldn’t really call them friends.

“Hey,” somebody said from over her shoulder.

Janis turned to see a tall man with sunglasses and a well-pressed suit. He didn’t smile, and not seeing his eyes made Janis mistrust him. “Yes?” she said.

“Cheer up.” The man walked away, joining his friend beside him. Janis frowned, and heard him saying as he left, “There, one lonely person cheered up.” He clapped his friend on the back.

Janis looked down at her hands, uncertain how to respond. Annoyance rushed through her, followed by anger. Then it all melted. He’s probably right, she thought, I should just cheer up. Stop being such a downer. That’s probably my problem, why I have so few friends. Just be better.

She looked at the grey asphalt, it’s tiny pebbles locked together like dinosaurs in a tar pit, unable to escape, too dead to care. She stared, knowing she was stuck with the life and the people she was stuck with, and she should just be happy about it.

Pushing herself off the bench, Janis pressed her loneliness down, and crossed the street back to work. She would be better. Today, she would be better.

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