Mayhem Literary Journal is proudly sponsored by Te Whare Wananga o Waikato, The University of Waikato
issue 5

october 2017

issue 5 - october 2017

from Triangle - N R Pelham

HE’S IN BED 
          He’s in bed and he won’t get up. 
Tim is Kylie’s best friend, and an askhole.  That’s a person who always asks for the same advice but never takes it, so always has the same problems. 
          He’s in bed and he won’t get up.  He said he wants to die.
Jo is Tim’s flat-wife.  That’s when your marriage has flat-lined so you’re separated but live together ‘for the sake of the kids’. The modern term for this is “co-parenting”.  
Jo resents parenting.  In the evenings, she relaxes in her armchair and watches her programs on the tv. Jo enjoys watching Neighbours and Shortland Street. She likes to binge-watch programs on DVD. She has a large collection. Game of Thrones and Desperate Housewives are her favourites and she watches them often. 
Tim spends his evenings helping the kids with their homework. He also prepares dinner and does the dishes. He tidies up, folds the laundry and tucks the kids into bed. Jo doesn’t help, but she does say goodnight to the kids. Tim supposes that’s something.  
          He’s in bed and he won’t get up.  He said he wants to die. I don’t know what to do.  
Jo crushes Tim under her thumb. She enjoys the power of manipulation. She has told him that if he ever leaves, she will keep the kids from him.  They co-exist in a state of anxious sorrow.  
Tim has been known to cheat on Jo.  She thinks he cheats on her with Kylie.   
Maybe he does. 
          He’s in bed and he won’t get up.  He said he wants to die. I don’t know what to do.  He won’t stop crying.
Tim complains to Kylie frequently. She listens, offers sympathy and advice.  Sympathy is taken, advice ignored, until Kylie tires of Tim being an askhole. She tells him this, then says goodbye. He lets her go. It’s a friendly farewell, and probably for the best.  
          He’s in bed and he won’t get up.  He said he wants to die. I don’t know what to do.  He won’t stop crying. He won’t even talk to me.
Kylie grieves the loss of Tim, they’ve been friends for years. Despite being an askhole he’s a decent guy.  He listened with empathy when Kylie had problems of her own, and they often talked together for hours. 
Kylie becomes busy with life so the void left by Tim won’t engulf her. She begins a new exercise regime which involves power walking, Zumba and weight training. She enrols in an Italian cooking course at night school and auditions for a stage show. Kylie enjoyed theatre as a teenager, and Legally Blonde: The Musical looks like fun.
          He’s in bed and he won’t get up.  He said he wants to die. I don’t know what to do.  He won’t stop crying. He won’t even talk to me. I don’t know what to do.
Tim wrestles with being abandoned by Kylie, and endures a rapid downhill slide into depression.  His doctor starts him on Prozac. Take one for three days, then two for three days, and the full dose of three after that.  
Tim starts straight on three for three days, and the next day can’t get out of bed.    
Jo stands at the end of his bed and watches him cry. Jo cries too. She needs his income. She admits to herself that Tim adults for her. He drives her to work, buys the groceries and takes care of the kids and the household. 
          He’s in bed and he won’t get up.  He said he wants to die. I don’t know what to do.  He won’t stop crying. He won’t even talk to me. I don’t know what to do. I can’t manage on my own. 
Tim despises the bleakness of his life and can envision only one way out. 
Then he thinks of Kylie. She gets him, understands what makes him tick.  She’d hug him and tell him to stop being so stupid. Then she’d smile her gorgeous smile like the sun blinking through his gloom.
          Dammit … he’d listen to Kylie.
Jo thinks Tim cheats on her with Kylie.   
Maybe he should.

Contributor's Note

Naomi is a single mum of two teenage girls, finally catching up with her lifelong dream to be a writer and currently studying towards a Bachelor of Arts (in English) at the University of Waikato.

 

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