Don’t Worry

By Travis Bye

I wanted to leave. She wanted my hands.

She didn’t want them in some allegorical way, she just wanted them. She said they made her feel safe, alive. She called me the best companion she ever had.

I wasn’t familiar with the word companion, so I looked it up. I realized later that I had been reading the definition for the word compactor, but at this moment I was confused. I struggled to remember any instance in which I had squeezed anything into a small bundle. I spent the next few days trying to crush things.

Smaller stuff was easy: grapes, paper, aluminum. At some point, I squeezed a small glass jar, ruining my once desirable hands. When I returned to her, she greeted me with a smile first, then horror.

What did you do to my hands?
They’re my hands.
Whatever. What happened?
I thought you called me a compactor.
I called you my companion. The best.
Yes, I understand that now. What do you think?
About what?
Me. Am I still your companion?
What about the hands?
What about them? They’re sore.
Will they heal?

I didn’t answer. She rolled her eyes and walked away. She often rolled her eyes, and I often chased after her. Today was somehow different, better. My hands were still bleeding . It may have been the loss of blood, but I had a sudden feeling of power, an epiphany. I will always enjoy crushing things more than I will ever need companionship.

Travis Bye is an aspiring town drunk from Ypsilanti, MI currently living outside Detroit.
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