Nick didn’t believe that I’d never seen Fight Club.
I hadn’t seen him since two nights after graduation, the night before Dee moved to Florida. The four of us—Dee and Josh and Nick and me—shot off bottle rockets in the field across from Dee’s old house and talked like one of us wasn’t leaving in the morning. I didn’t tell him that Josh and I stood in Dee’s driveway and cried as the moving van pulled away.
I didn’t know why he’d shaved his head, making him look younger, like his third grade school picture that I still carried in my wallet. I didn’t see him when he biked past the book store once, twice. I didn’t look up from organizing copies of The Da Vinci Code in the window when he came in, smelling like sweat and grape bubble gum. I pretended I didn’t notice him stand too close behind me until he said, “Hey Bets, nice apron.” I didn’t ask if he’d talked to Dee; she told me he hadn’t.
I didn’t think I could come over until after work, maybe not ‘til ten. It didn’t matter; his parents were away and his brother would be out.
I didn’t take him up on the can of Mountain Dew or the hit from the bong he’d made from a water bottle and a bendy straw. I didn’t know if I should sit next to him on the couch, so I sat at the end and fussed with the dog. I didn’t know what to say when Ed Norton went to that support group, and Nick said that his dad was sick. The chemo wasn’t working.
I didn’t ask if he was okay. I didn’t ask if he’d told Josh about his dad. I didn’t resist when he pulled me onto his lap and kissed the back of my neck. I didn’t ask if this meant we were back together. I didn’t mind that my arm fell asleep from being jammed next to him on the couch. I didn’t wake him up in the morning when I left.
I didn’t see how Fight Club ends.
Meghan Phillips lives in Lancaster, PA, where she works at a public library and reads fiction submissions for Third Point Press. Her flash fiction has appeared in Maudlin House, Corium Magazine, and the Rocky Mountain Revival podcast. You can find her on Twitter @mcarphil.