Next Steps / by Jeffrey Lo



This shouldn’t be so difficult, right?

I’m making this harder for myself that it needs to be, right?

I do this to myself all the time.

Typical Fenton.

I’ve been doing this to myself ever since the divorce.

Ok, fine, even before the divorce.

My whole life, yes, thank you.

I’ve been making things harder for myself my entire life. Thank you for pointing that out.

But it got worst after the divorce. That, is a fact.

Oh, why am I listening to you for? You’re – what? Twelve years old?

And you’re not even talking.

You’re just staring at me eating that sandwich.

Is it good?

Oh, you can nod your head, good.

Thank you for your response.


I should ask her out.

I know I should.

It’s clear I should.

She’s so kind.

And not just to me. To everyone.

She is kind to everyone.

And she’s makes me laugh…

            (He thinks about her making a joke and laughs.)

She’s so funny…

Look at me, I’m laughing right now.

Oh what do you know.

You twelve-year-olds find Pixar movies funny.

(He thinks about Pixar movies.)

Actually, Coco was pretty good.


What am I doing?

I’m just stalling at this point.

I’m in love with a girl.

A woman.

Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve been in love?

Last time, I was in love, you weren’t even born.

I got divorced ten years ago.

You’re twelve.

You do the math.


She makes me feel things I haven’t felt in a long time…

Things I… shouldn’t tell a kid like you.

But… You’ll get it someday.

When you find those parts of the internet.


You know what’s scary, though?

What if I don’t do the same for her?

What if she actually hates me and is just nice to me – not because she likes me but because she’s a nice, wonderful angel that doesn’t want to hurt me.

What then?

What will I do then?

I don’t think I could take it.


But if I do nothing…

I don’t think I could take that either.


What’s wrong with me?

I just turned 50 for crying out loud!

I’m stalling.

I’m avoiding.

What should I do?

            (Stares at the kid. Silence.)

You’re right.

            (Gets up to go.)


Good talk kid. Thanks.