I SHOULD HAVE STAYED HOME

She’s been waiting here forever: dried lipgloss on a white mug, bitter coffee gone cold, hair once carefully curled now lank against her back.

All around her people go about their business, no one caring, no one invested in her life, privy to the ways in which the world breaks her heart, dashes her dreams, kills her cat. Only the timeworn wooden chairs and tilted tables know how she feels; they’ve seen her a thousand times before in a thousand incarnations.

Horace McCoy would feed the girl her lines if he were still alive, “I Should Have Stayed Home,” he’d whisper in her ear and she’d look into the camera and repeat, “I Should Have Stayed Home.”