I called my mother to tell her I wasn’t feeling so well about my life and she told me to join the club, but this didn’t sound right to me because I was already in the club and I asked if she wanted to join my club. No, she wasn’t interested because she was already in the club and I asked how she knew she was already in it and she said she wasn’t going to talk to me about that stuff and I said I didn’t appreciate that and she said tough.
Then I didn’t know what to say. She asked if I was alright and I said no, I’m not alright, I told you that before. I’m not feeling so well about my life. Your life? she asked. Yes, I said and she said what does that mean? I said, I didn’t know what my life meant and maybe that was the problem. But that’s not a problem, she said, nobody knows what their life means. Yes, everyone has the same problem. Exactly, she said, but if everyone has the same problem, it’s not really a problem. You’re wrong, I said. Your mother is not wrong. This time you are, I said. There is no this time, she said. You don’t believe in the present moment? I said. I don’t believe in anything that makes me unhappy. I wish I had your powers, I said. They aren’t powers, she said. And you should be able to access this way of thinking because I created you.
I don’t want to access that way of thinking, I said. I believe in the power of unhappiness.
I believe you aren’t my son, she said.
Greg Gerke's fiction and non-fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Tin House, The Kenyon Review Online, Denver Quarterly, Quarterly West, Mississippi Review, The Review of Contemporary Fiction and others.