Elizabeth, this post is for you.
Eric Laundromat slouches in his brown easy chair. Over the years the pleather upholstery has been worn paper thin, and patches of stuffing poke through in places where the cats have opted to sharpen their claws. Six feet in front of Eric sits a small TV set which is glowing, intermittently flashing brightly, droning on at an unnecessary volume. It provides the only light in the room, and Eric’s eyes are glued to it, though his brain is disconnected. He isn’t watching–his thoughts are elsewhere. He thinks of her.
Overcome by regret, Eric lifts the can of Orange Crush to his lips and swallows it down in a single breath. It is all he has. It is a bittersweet poison. With a soul curdling cry Eric crushes the empty can between his palms and hurls it against the television screen, where a man with a black moustache is reading the news. A native Midwestern women has just been awarded a Nieman Fellowship. It’s her. He’s seen her face in the newspapers all over town, and now her face is on the screen, smiling at the world, a smile that one time could have belonged to him.
Eric Laundromat reaches for another can of soda. “I have a crush on you too,” he says mournfully, and some of his drink spills on his shirt when he opens it. And this, all of his own volition.