You got a job digging a tunnel for the city, so you spend all your days underground feeling rats and Native American spirits scurry over your shoes. When the tunnel’s path cuts through one of the already existing tunnels down there, lots of mole people end up getting displaced. That’s when you’ll bump into your old buddy Danny.
“So this is where you been hiding,” you’ll say, once you recognize Danny’s eyes peeking out from the mask of black soot.
“Yeah,” Danny says. “I could tell you the whole story, but like everything else in life, it takes a whole lot of boring little steps before you finally find yourself living in an old abandoned subway shaft. Anyway, how you been?”
You’ll shrug. “Been better. Been worse.”
You’ll kick at some garbage on the ground. Danny will move his eyes about the ceiling. Both of you not wanting to bring her up.
“Heard from any of the old Northwestern gang?” Danny will ask.
You’ll nod. “All of em,” you’ll say. “There’s this web thing called Facebook. It put everyone back in touch.”
Danny will say, “Pretty cool.”
It’s stupid to pretend you can ignore it.
“We got married Danny,” tell him.
Danny won’t look at you. He’ll keep his eyes on a hamburger wrapper in the corner, wrapper’s turned pale, probably fifteen years old.
“We have a daughter now too,” say. “And I love her Danny. But the fucking truth of it is she doesn’t love me. She never stopped loving you Danny.”
He’s not letting you see those white eyes of his. He’s not letting on that he’s hearing a word.
“I’d like to crack open your head and drag you up to the surface just so she can see once and for all that you’re gone,” you’ll say to him. “Pretty neat trick. Disappear without a word of goodbye or why, and make sure someone out there keeps on loving you no matter how deep a hole you end up dying in.”
“I didn’t tell nobody what to feel for me,” Danny will say.
Step around and get your eyes in front of his. “That’s the thing about feelings Danny,” say. “People just go ahead and have em whether you want em to or not.”
Danny will bend his knees and crouch to the ground. It looks like he might feel sick.
“I gotta go get back to work,” say to him. “I gotta make money to keep a roof over the head of the love of your life. I’d tell her I saw you but my daughter don’t need her mommy running away to live underground with a son of a bitch.”
Danny’s on all fours by now. Tell him he has ten days before demolition comes in and blows the ceiling to the floor, then turn around and leave him there on his hands and knees.
Happy In The Tunnels Day!