Life sucks. Every morning you wake up tired no matter how much you sleep. You dress for work and work. You do your job and get back home. You sit in traffic every day and get excited for an instant when the commute is five minutes shorter. But your evenings and nights are monotonous, and the joy of coming home seeps away into a void. You sit in a chair and pretend to enjoy TV. You eat a half warmed dinner and you sleep. But you haven’t slept well in months. Now when you’re in bed you ponder your past and wonder if you’ve made the right decisions.
So what do you do? You cook up an innocent prank. You print a small paper with the text: “Life sucks, maybe the next one won’t.” and you stick it in your pocket. You struggle with an old fortune cookie that’s been hanging around your kitchen and you switch the small paper inside with yours. You put the cookie in a ziplock and you place it on Vicky’s desk. She’s the receptionist in the building where you work.
Vicky has never met you. She doesn’t know you fantasize about her every day. She’s seen you come and go, but she couldn’t find you in a picture. So you stay by the building’s entrance and watch her react to it. She’s confused at first. She takes the cookie and breaks it and she reads your little prank. You don’t know her either. You think she’s hot, and nice, and you suppose she has an odd sense of humor, because she’s your fantasy. But Vicky’s not like that.
She reads the note and cries. You get nervous, but say nothing. She leaves the building, and you follow her, because why not? You’ve been waiting for an excuse to talk to her and maybe this chance is the only one you’ll ever get. But you don’t talk to her because you’re a chicken shit. You’re also creepy, but you don’t realize that, and you follow Vicky home.
On the way to her house you think maybe she’s stopped crying. She didn’t feel like working. Your note is innocent. She felt sick. She can’t possibly be affected by your little prank. And when she gets home you see her makeup is a mess. She’s been spilling tears the whole way there. It’s a nice neighborhood, you notice, a nice day too. Vicky walks into her house and you follow her inside, a few steps behind.
You don’t know what you’re doing. You hope if you tell her it’s a joke she’ll laugh, and she’ll recognize you and invite you for coffee. You’ll get to talk. Perhaps you’ll end up dating, who knows? And perhaps you’ll move in together and in a year or two you’ll have the strangest story of how you met, and your friends and her friends will laugh about it.
But you don’t tell her it’s joke because you’re scared. It’s morbid to be in her house, but it feels weird to turn back now. So you observe her from behind. You see her stumble up the stairs into her room and slam the door. You sit outside listening to her sobbing. It’s a nice house, you realize, it’s decorated nicely.
Fifteen minutes pass and she stops sobbing. There is only silence. Perhaps she’s fallen asleep. You are suddenly alone and your eyes well up. It’s okay because Vicky can’t see you. So you cry too, outside her room. You bawl. You soak your face with tears and your shirt too. And then you leave.
You don’t work that day. It seems superfluous, so you go back home and oversleep. You’re down for 15 hours. You’re worn out and spent. You don’t eat breakfast because it’s late. You go to work the next day, but she’s not there. You work again and sleep again and wake up, but she’s not there. Vicky’s never there.