“Oh, God,” Chris moaned, invoking a deity he didn’t believe in. He was distraught over his own stupidity. He’d done the thing that all fools do at some point: He hurt someone he loved. Chris didn’t like to think of himself as a fool but found the conclusion inescapable. He hadn’t often been a fool and found the sensation uncomfortable in a way that more experienced fools didn’t. They’d already made the adjustment.
“Oh, Fuck,” Chris said next. He wasn’t sure he believed in that anymore either, but he found invocations of the supreme being and the sex act comforting in times of difficulty. He leaned on the trunk of his car and took off his baseball cap to let a breeze talk some sense into his hot, stupid head.
Here’s what caused his discomfort:
Inside of Chris there lived a small, violent animal. An animal with an insatiable appetite for stupidity. But this animal wasn’t stupid; it fed on Chris’s stupidity. After thwarting the animal for many years, Chris took his eye off the ball and succumbed to temptation. The animal said things to him like “you can make that jump,” and “no, she’s into you,” and “have another drink.” But the suggestion this time, this specific invitation to foolishness, was especially cruel, as it involved a loved one.
There were several factors working against the best interests of Chris’s reasoning. He was hungry. He was never at his best when he was hungry. He could be snappish; cruel, even. Also, his sleep patterns were recently interrupted by what he guessed to be either retroactive guilt or solar flares. But he had two saving graces:
1. Reality. Some people don’t have such a wonderful life to screw up.
2. Honesty. Chris didn’t have a devious bone in his body. He was a sincere idiot.
After making the jump, believing she was into him, and having another drink, Chris decided the only adversary capable of defeating that small, violent animal was his own decency. It had been a gift from his parents, unwrapped when he reached the age of reason. He was simply going to have to trust that he was a good man.