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Not Delivered by David Burga

David Burga takes Lawrence Hill's second writing challenge with a story of relationships gone wrong.

"Damn it!”

“How many times are you going to try that?”

I stared at the red ‘Not Delivered’ message on my phone. “Until my text goes out.”

“Good luck with that. It’s hard enough getting a decent signal when you’re sitting by an office window. Gotta be somewhere tonight?”

“I got plans with my boyfriend.” I thought tonight we were going to have ‘the talk.’ Things had been getting steadily worse between us. I didn’t want to cry in the elevator. “Why aren’t you freaking out? Don’t you have somewhere to be?”

“Yeah, it’s my turn to take the kids to soccer. I’ve probably got a dozen messages from the ex.”

Joe slipped his Blackberry out of his breast pocket, looked at the screen and put it away. The elevator smelled of the cheap cologne his kids bought him for Father’s day. He’s been in Superdad mode ever since his divorce - wearing the goofy ties, cutting his overtime hours, bringing his kids to the company family events.

“You’ve been with your boyfriend for a while, haven’t you?”

“Nah, that didn’t work out. I’ve been seeing a new guy for about two months now.”

“Oh yeah? How’s that going so far?”

“Okay. We have our ups and downs.” I stared at my phone, at the undelivered messages. “He writes me the weirdest things when he’s drunk.” I scrolled up through the past messages. I stared at one and felt my eyes start to water. I held out my phone towards Joe.

“‘I’m embarrassed to introduce you to my friends.’ Whoah. That’s not weird, that’s just plain mean.”

“He was just kidding. You should’ve seen him groveling the next day.”

“Has he introduced you to his friends?”

I didn’t say anything.

“He hasn’t, has he?”

I don’t know why I showed Joe the message.

“I would never treat you like that.”

Ew. Like the whole office didn’t hear Joe’s marriage fall apart. I think he was the only one who thought the glass walls of his office offered any privacy. My cubicle walls shook when he slammed his door. I felt bad for his wife, who he always yelled at. I found it strange that he treated his employees more civilly than someone he once loved. “Thanks, Joe.” I felt a tear run down the side of my nose.

“Hey, hey. Don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll be outta here soon.”

“I hope so.”

“And I’m sure everything will work out with your boyfriend.”

“I hope so too.”
 
I stared down at my phone as another red ‘Not Delivered’ message popped up. 

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