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Conflict (Man vs. Mud)

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What do you think about when you look at the sky like this?
she asked.
It was black and you could only see one star, and it screamed like a bullet-hole in the dark.
The question must have been rhetorical because she said, I think about how insignificant we all are; which would really be an unforgivably trite answer under any other circumstance but by this time we had achieved the sort of intimacy which gave us the freedom to be as boring as we liked with each other.
I get all upset over the stupid s*** that everyone does and I realize it doesn't matter, and I wonder why I hate so easily.
she said.
I swallowed and made a humming noise with my throat. I remember being terribly afraid of the wet grass I was lying on. I was wearing a white dress made of very thin cotton, so thin you could see my undergarments so I had had to borrow white shorts from another girl who lived down the hall. I was worried that the grass would soak through and ruin not only my dress but the shorts as well, and I really did not want to have to deal with the hassle of scrubbing out my dress and apologizing and buying new shorts for the girl.
Sometimes I think it's actually comforting to be insignificant, I said. It means we can do anything.
She nodded.

What do you think about when you look at the sky like this?
she asked.
I opened my eyes and couldn't for the life of me think of anything to say. What did I think about when I looked at the sky like this? It was dark. The sky was black everywhere except for a little pinhole of bright light bleeding out through the dark. Trees framed the night from all around, trees punctuated by buildings made of brick and concrete. Our island of grass floated in a sea of sharp pebbly sidewalk that had been hell to walk on, especially barefoot since I had taken off my shoes earlier walking back from the dance.
I think about how insignificant we all are, she said. I looked over and her face was oddly stony. She reminded me of those Easter Island statues, with the shadowy eyes and the heavy brows and pursed lips. I get all upset over the stupid s*** that everyone does and I realize it doesn't matter, she said, and I wonder why I hate so easily.
I started to think of the last time I'd hated anybody, but then I began to sense the silence turning heavy and oppressive, like inertia, and felt it was time for me to say something.
Sometimes I think it's actually comforting to be insignificant. It means we can do anything, I said.

What do you think about when you look at the sky like this?
My feet hurt, was honestly the first thing I thought, although that was before I looked up at the sky and saw the one star glaring out through miles and miles of black. I had kept my shoes on throughout the entire dance, even after I had stepped on Christina Floristean's bare toes with the back heel, causing her to shriek in indignant surprise several decibels above the commonly administered volume for dance music. I think about how insignificant we all are. I get all upset over the stupid s*** that everyone does and I realize it doesn't matter, and I wonder why I hate so easily.
Sometimes I think it's actually comforting to be insignificant. It means we can do anything.
She nodded.
I looked over at her and I felt the slow and hazy realization that even though tomorrow people would come and walk over this very spot and see nothing, I could come back in 50 years and still see my friend lying stony on the grass, and my wet dress that might or might not have been stained at the back and the sharp pebbly concrete and the one star burning a bottomless hole through the night sky.
She kept nodding, as if in agreement, although that was probably just my imagination. She kept nodding as she reached for her purse and drew out a small handgun. I wondered how she had managed to get a gun past the bag inspectors at the dance as she lifted the gun and methodically fired a bullet through her left temple.





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