A/N: So I haven't posted since March, and I've been working on different stories. However, this story I wrote in about an hour. This is actually the fastest I've ever written a full short story. I hope you like it.
"The Catharsis Hypothesis"
I ran my shaking hands through my hair for the hundredth time in the last hour. I knocked on the door and when the sound reverberated in my ear, I cringed. It sounded like an emotional knock, and I needed to control my emotions, that what I was at the construction site for. The constant buzzing of a power tool stopped, and two seconds later a man that was at least a foot taller than me opened the door. He was wearing a typical hard hat and he looked confused. (He was also pretty attractive but I was not there to find a guy. I was there for something else entirely. I even had gloves on.) It made sense, we had never met before, and I was definitely not a construction worker.
"This property belongs to Carol White, yeah?" I asked breathily. He nodded slowly, and I nodded quickly.
"I'm her daughter Paula's best friend, Zoe Jackson. They said that I could come here, is that okay?" Again with the slow nodding, which I didn't have time for. I walked in and dropped my bag in a corner. I turned around to face him.
"This is weird, I know, but you guys are starting to do a big renovation, and I have seventy-five dollars on me right now. If you'll let me help you demolish that wall-" I pointed, "I'll give you the money. I know it's not a lot, but I don't have a lot to give," I explained. The whole room paused, all three of the workers including Tall Guy were staring at me like I was a wild animal. I felt like one.
"Why do you want to demolish a wall?" another guy asked. He looked like he was bald under the hard hat, and I got the feeling that he was empathetic.
"If you give me that hammer I'll tell you," I bargained. They looked around at each other and shrugged. The third guy picked up a large mallet and handed it to me. I held it, got used to its weight, and smiled. Yes, it would do perfectly. I walked over to the unlucky dirty wall and started to knock for the studs. I found a safe spot and took a swing. I made a pretty decent dent.
"Because four months I was dating this asshole, and I told him that I was saving up for grad school. A month ago he suggested going on vacation, but I reminded him: no babe, I have to save for grad school, I can't afford a vacation, but apparently I wasn't being honest. I felt like I was, but maybe I don't know what I'm talking about." I took a few hard swings at the same spot and effectively produced a decent-sized hole. I started to aim lower.
"A fucking month goes by, and I get a text from him as I was leaving the diner to go back to my apartment. It's from him, of course it is. The text was asking why I was spending such a long time at the diner. I didn't tell him I was going to the diner after my shift. We don't exactly have mutual friends, so there was no way I could think of that would explain how he knew where I was and how long I spent there. So I asked him: how did you know where I was?" After four hits in two seconds a big piece of wall crumbled to the floor, but I didn't pay any mind. I kept going at it.
"He responds by saying let's talk when you get home. And of course that sent my mind reeling and I immediately started freaking out. I work in the ER, it's natural for me to be on high alert after I get off a shift. I practically ran to my car, started the engine, and off I go." I stepped forward to punch a few thin pieces of plaster down so the damage was complete in that specific area. I stepped back and started to expand on it.
"I get to my apartment, which thankfully I didn't share with him. Our relationship was new, and I hadn't gotten to that level of trust, and we hadn't gotten to that level of intimacy, thank God. I open the door, he's on the couch and eating food. He practically jumped when he saw me, like he wasn't even fucking expecting me to show up at my own place. That pissed me off a little, and I asked him what was going on, how did he know where the hell I was. Do you know what the bastard said?"
"That he was tracking you?" Tall Guy guessed.
"That he was fucking tracking me!" I yelled. I swung the hammer like it was a baseball bat and the resulting sound and crush of the drywall was so fucking satisfying. "I still don't know how he did it, because I didn't ask how. I asked why. And his answer blew my fucking mind. That piece of shit said that he didn't trust me after I said we couldn't go on vacation. What the fuck!? I didn't say anything to that, I just stared at him. It must have been unsettling because he started to ramble off about he thought I was cheating on him, and he wanted to track me in order to get proof. And as you can imagine, there were several things about that that pissed me off.
"The first thing is that at the beginning of our relationship, I told him to talk to me if he wasn't sure about something. If he was suspecting that I was doing something wrong, to confront me about it. I don't have time for miscommunication. Yet only three months later he decides to pull this shit. I wasn't cheating on him! Between home and work, spending time with him or my friends, I barely had time to sleep! It was a terrible excuse, and I don't think it was entirely honest, now that I think about it.
"That's the second thing, that he literally gave no further thought to it, he just assumed that he was right. How could I have been dating such a neanderthal, and somehow not notice that he was tracking me? So yeah, I'm also pissed off at myself for not noticing. But mainly I'm pissed at him.
"Finally, I'm mad because when I told him that I felt upset, betrayed, hurt that he didn't trust me, he didn't apologize. He tried to make it all my fault. And I don't tolerate bullshit like that. I was a psychology minor, I know what emotional manipulation and abuse looks like, and that's basic level emotional manipulation. Like I said, I don't have time for that. So I told him to get his things, get the fuck out, and stay the hell away from me. We're done… I'm done. Questions?" Three hands went up. I pointed at Bald Empath.
"Why did you come here?"
"Like I said, psychology minor. There's a concept called the catharsis hypothesis, which basically states that if you let out your anger by punching stuff like a pillow, or in my case demolishing a wall, you'll feel better. There have been some criticisms regarding it, but I think if you do it the right way, it's pretty legitimate." Next question was from Third Guy.
"What was this diner that you mentioned?"
"It's called Philip's Bar. The food there is delicious and the prices are great. And you?" I pointed at Tall Guy.
"How long ago did this happen?" I paused. I pulled my phone from the pocket and checked the time. I did some mental math, did it again, and the accepted the answer.
"About two hours ago," I answered simply. They stopped and stared at me again.
"It took you two hours to figure out and plan on coming here to fuck up a wall? How?" he asked. I shrugged, because the answer to that was simple too.
"Well, of course I called my best friend first. Plus, I've been told that I have some pretty great emotional intelligence and I felt like I needed to deal with it sooner rather than later. The faster I'm over him the better. This really helped actually, thanks," I said. I gently put the hammer down on the floor, and slid some plaster into a pile with my foot.
"So you're just over it? Like that?" Third Guy questioned, an astonished expression on his face. I walked over to my bag and picked it up. I took out the money.
"Well, I don't know. I think I certainly worked out the really intense stuff. In my case, the catharsis hypothesis just leaves me feeling calm, and not much else. Hopefully getting over this will be quick because I didn't feel all that much for him in the first place, and I lose all respect for people who pull shit like that. I work in the ER, I've seen people die, I don't care about people I don't need to care about," I explained. He thoughtfully nodded, showing me that he agreed with my reasoning as he thought about it. I stood there for a minute, and then remembered the cash in my hands.
"Oh right! Okay, I don't have it split into the perfect amount for you to equally share, but the seventy-five is all here," I said as I pushed the money into Bald Empath's hands. He didn't seem like he knew what to do with it.
I started to walk towards the door, and as I opened it Tall Guy stepped in my way. He smiled shyly and handed me a business card with something written on it. I looked up, and questioned it.
"If you find that you're completely over him anytime soon, call me?" he murmured. I smiled and looked at his writing. There was the scribbled name of Dane Thomas, and a ten-digit number. I ran my thumb over it.
"I think that I will," I promised. We grinned at each other and he bowed as he gestured to my path outside. I held my chin high as I stepped onto the newly redone porch. I stopped briefly, and then walked away from the site, with a slight smile over my shoulder in case he was still there. He was.
I couldn't help but laugh at the thought that came to mind.
When one door closes, a new wall opens up.
A/N: Personally, I liked the ending. It's probably the best closing line I've ever done. Let me know if you liked it in a review!
And... there's a romance-related poll on my profile. Vote on it, if you don't mind?