Four Years Later

**SHORT STORY EXCERPT – FICTION**

“I don’t know, I guess it’s confusing to suddenly be part of someone’s life. It’s like walking into a movie halfway through, and no one will tell you what the first part was about. You have to feel your way around and try to figure out each little piece of the story and hope you at least kind of have it right.”

Sarah tapped her pen on top of the yellow notepad.

“Do you want to be in the middle of the story? Do you want to figure it out?”

He paused.

“No, not really.”

“Well, what do you want?”

“Shit, Sarah. I don’t know. I just want to feel like I matter. I want to feel like I have a reason for being here. I want to feel like I accomplished something at the end of the day.”

“Do you want to feel like that with Bridget?”

“Not really.”

“Then why are you still there?”

“Because I said I would be.”

“So you’re saying that you’re willing to continue to sacrifice your own well-being because you’re a man of your word. Is that right?”

“I guess so. Yes. That’s what I’m saying.”

The table clock ticked twice in their silence and then buzzed. Sarah reached over and turned it off. She leaned forward with her elbows on the notepad in her lap and hands clasped in front of her.

“Matthew, you either have to decide to be happy with where you are or take steps to change the situation. Otherwise, you’re always going to be right where you are, feeling exactly as you feel right now. I don’t want that for you. But you are the only one who can change how you feel. You’re in total control of that. It isn’t up to Bridget to make you happy. You have to make you happy.”

“I know.”

“I’m not sure that you do, because week after week you come back and sit with me for 45 minutes and we talk in circles. You aren’t willing to change the situation or how you think and feel about the situation, and honestly, I don’t think this is helping.”

“Are you telling me not to come back here?”

“No. But I want to know why you want to come back.”

“You listen.”

“You pay me to listen.”

“True. But I think you would listen anyway.”

“True.”

“So see you next week?”

“Same time, same place. But Matthew, would you please just think about what I said? Let’s go back to making the game plan for getting happy. Let’s do that. We can do this, together, but I need you to participate and not just vent.”

“Okay. Next week.”

“Come prepared. We’re putting a plan in place.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

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