I'm Fine

"How are you?"

  I meet the eyes of the questioner, deciding whether or how to answer. I wonder briefly if they really want to know, or if it's that generic question, a hollow formality. I myself never ask it unless I want an honest answer, though honesty is rarely forthcoming, trained as we are in the empty pleasantries of busy lives.
  I wish for a moment that the asker really did care. Then I could say I'm depressed and worried. I could tell them I was lonely and missing certain people in my life. We could talk about the past and how we wished we might have done some things differently. I mean, everybody has wishes like that right? I might cry a little and feel like the person there was my friend and might cheer me up and I might return the favor one day. It would be nice to tell someone how unnerving and awkward it is to be unemployed and unsure of the future. For a moment, I consider these things.
  I smile and say, "I'm fine."
  When I get home I find the .38. It's my husband's. He showed me how to shoot a long time ago. I'll be fine in a second.
smt 2001


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