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An Obsession

(You can listen to this piece on S3E8 of the podcast)

Katie rolled her eyes and suppressed the urge to flash a rude gesture across the breakfast table at her teenage brother, Benji. Though she was an adult now—22-years-old—the little snail and rattail of a brother still knew how to get under her skin.

“Be serious you two,” her mother said, seated in front of a breakfast of yogurt and fresh fruit.

“I’m serious, Mom and Dad,” Katie continued, ignoring her brother this time altogether. “Jalen and I are getting married in Vegas. And I want you all to be there.”

Her dad had been listening to NPR on low volume before Katie’s surprise Saturday morning drop in and before her big announcement. He now stared at his steepled hands in front of an empty bowl of Raisin Bran, clearly in deep thought.

“Jalen proposed?” her mother asked. “Even after that whole thing last year?”

Katie shrugged. “That was just a misunderstanding.”

“Since when is a restraining order a misunderstanding?” her father asked calmly.

“Sweetie, did he propose to you?” her mother asked again, eyes wide.

“What does it matter? We’re getting married.”

“So, you proposed to him?” Benji asked.

“We’ve decided together to get married,” Katie said, crossing her hands in front of her chest like a petulant child.

“Katie, the last I’d heard, Jalen had a steady girlfriend,” her mother said quietly. “And he’s—”

“He’s confused!” Katie shouted. “He really wants to be with me. He said one day we’d get married, and have kids, and—”

“He broke up with you six months ago. Just get over it,” her brother said, throwing a pitiful headshake in Katie’s direction.

“We’re soulmates,” Katie protested. “He loves me.”

“Have you been taking your meds?” her father asked.

“Probably not,” Benji said as he scrolled through his phone. His devoured plate of eggs and toast lying in front of him.

“Shut up Benji!” Katie screamed.

“Maybe we should set her up with Dr. Mendez again,” her mother was now saying to her father.

“No, I’m fine, I promise,” Katie whined.

“Or delusional!” Benji calls out, looking excited as he scanned his phone. “Jalen just announced he eloped!”

“Eloped?” Katie and her parents said at once.

“Yup, in Los Vegas,” her brother said, reading the news from his phone.

"To that girl he was dating?” Katie asked. She reached across the table to snatch the phone out of his hand except Benji’s reflexes were too quick.

“Yup,” her brother said, holding the phone just out of her grasp. Katie slunk back into her seat, head jerked back as she stared at the ceiling.

A moment of silence passed as they all looked at each other and then at Katie who looked as if she were working out a difficult math problem in her head.

“Time for Plan B,” Katie said at last sitting back up straight in her chair.

“What’s Plan B?” her mother asked nervously.

“Make him jealous,” Katie said, hopping up from the table cheerily.

“Or you can just move on,” Benji said, narrowing his eyes at her.

“Oh, I am,” Katie agreed. “Didn’t you say your friend’s older brother just bought a Tesla?” she asked her brother. “Why don’t you introduce me?”

“I’m calling Dr. Mendez,” their mother announced, leaving the table abruptly.

“And we’re getting you back on your meds,” their father declared, also leaving the table. Katie and Benji stared at one another for a few seconds before Katie let out a dramatic sigh.

“So are you going to introduce me or what?”

“Depends,” Benji said with a smirk. “Are you going to become obsessed with this guy, too?”

“Shut up, jerk!” Katie said. “Clearly you know nothing about true love.”


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