More ficcie from me... <tired smile>

Follows "Hopelessly Addicted"

~~~
Rationalizing

I had thought I understood hell. I was wrong. Hell was watching you leave, and not being able to do anything about it.

By the time my body unfroze and I could stumble forward, you were gone. Out the door and halfway or more up the street. Out of my reach.

That was the beginning of my sojourn through hell. It hasn't been pretty. I couldn't sleep in my bed. The sheets smell like you. But I can't make myself change them.

I've forced myself to work, a little. But anyone at the office can tell you I'm barely worth the coffee that keeps me going.

And right now I would give anything to go back and fix what I did wrong. I had a chance to talk to you, and I didn't take it... Is there such a thing as a second chance? I wish there was.

I sit here, and I'm tearing myself into shreds over this.

You left the platter you brought the cookies in over here. I realized that this morning, when I made myself start cleaning up the kitchen. A tray half-empty, covered in crumbs and stale chocolate chip cookies. A pathetic sight.

It'd be a shame for you to lose the tray. Both of us grew up with notions of thrift.

Rationalizing something in your own mind is a tricky thing.

I ought to return the tray. Definitely. It doesn't belong to me.

But when it comes to you, I find that I have all sorts of skills I didn't realize I had.

Returning it empty would be rude, when it arrived here covered with cookies.

I don't have any chocolate chips in the house, so they have to be sugar cookies. Sugar cookies are good too, though. I hope you won't mind.

There is something soothing in the process of measuring flour and sugar, butter, eggs, milk, the baking powder, the vanilla extract. A precise recipe with consistent results. Was that my mistake with you, to expect that I could deal with you according to a plan?

I think that was part of it.

My hands shake while I pile cookies into concentric rings on the tray. If they're arranged just right, it'll all be okay. I can't afford to make any more mistakes.

They shake even more as I dial your number.

The phone rings. And rings. And rings one more time, and I'm about to hang up and... do something. I don't know what.

You finally answer, and your voice doesn't sound too good. Mine probably doesn't either.

~Do you want your tray back?

So maybe it isn't the best way to start a conversation. I'll be damned if it isn't the only thing I can think of right now.

~Your tray. You left it over here the other day. Do you want it back?

Please say yes, please say yes, please say yes.

~All right. I'll bring it by soon.

Hang up the phone. Take a deep breath. And smile for the first time in the past three days.

Maybe there are second chances.

~Owari~

And that signals the end of the writing phase for this morning and the beginning of the going to work phase.

Feedback? Please?