Taking a deep breath, Mitch suppressed the temptation to look back at Calvin. He undid the key from his keyring and set it down on the counter, fingers curling tightly around it before releasing it from his grasp. Once he stepped out into the hall and shut the door behind him, the surrealness left him lightheaded.
Finished at last and unceremonious at best. A whimper, not the bang that he imagined all this time, and that he wanted. Wanted the last 5 years, or the last 2 weeks, or at least the last 3 hours, to be worth either fighting for or against. Didn’t matter the result, he wanted a fight, a chance to unleash all of the righteous fury and unfathomable sorrow; show the world that he had tried, even if he had failed in the end.
Were he not carrying the guitar case, he would have slid down the adjacent wall and started sobbing right there in the hall. Instead he wiped his eyes with his forearm then held it there, until small white grains of light flickered behind his eyelids. When he lowered it and his vision cleared, he saw Avi standing at the elevators with the totes on the floor.
“Hey,” Avi said and gave a small wave, but stayed put as though he was waiting to be approached. No sudden moves. Mitch liked that.
“Hey,” Mitch didn’t even have the energy to return a tired smile.
“Give me that,” he urged. Mitch allowed him to take the guitar case without any protest, and watched as he slung the strap across his own broad shoulders. After pressing down button on the panel, Avi picked up the remaining totes while they waited. “I’m not gonna ask how you’re doing, because that’d be rude.” Avi spoke slowly, his words curated with intent; it reminded Mitch of the way that he wrestled, without a single move wasted. “But if you ever wanted to talk, I’ve been told that I’m a great listener.”
“Thank you,” Mitch mumbled, genuinely appreciative of the gesture and hoping the sentiment came across as such. The elevator chimed, and the doors opened up.
“After you.” Avi’s head tipped in the direction of the elevator’s interior, and Mitch put up no argument. Avi followed behind, and the doors closed.
“So,” Mitch leaned up against the back wall, too lethargic to readjust as the handrail dug into his lower back. “He cheated on me with a hot yoga guy.”
Avi’s head whipped towards Mitch, bewilderment all over his face, and exclaimed, “Doesn’t that only happen in the movies?!”
“That’s exactly what I said.”
“Pardon my language, but fuck that guy, huh?”
“Yeah,” Mitch’s voice cracked. It was as though the pressure increased with every floor that passed on the descent to the garage. He wondered if it was enough to harden him into a diamond. “Fuck that guy.”