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by Phil Temples

Gladys had just poured herself a nice glass of Merlot and slipped under the covers when the text arrived on her phone. She reached out to the night stand to grab her phone, careful to avoid knocking over the wine along with several bottles of unopened sleeping pills she had purchased earlier in the evening.

Who could that be?

She didn’t recognize the number. The text read, “I KNOW U PROBLY DON’T WANT 2 HEAR FRM ME. BUT CAN I PICK UP GROCERIES 4 U?”

Was it Stephen? After all these months was he reaching out to apologize for his despicable behavior? For making her feel like less than human? For making her hate herself? Perhaps her months of living in despair and self-loathing would soon come to an end. Of course, she would forgive him! She would give him another chance. They could pick up where they had left off. Life would once again have meaning.

She began replying to the text, “U R very kind to—”

Just then, another text arrived on the screen. It interrupted her response, covered up her words, utterly torpedoing her brief feelings of happiness and hope.


Gladys stared blankly at the screen for a moment. Then, she put the smartphone back on the stand, reached to the first bottle, and unscrewed the lid.