At the top of the stairs Jeff unbuttons the top button of his shirt and looks into the mirror on the hallway wall. He is sweating a little. He looks at himself. He tightens his jaw and he turns his face from side to side and tightens it a little more with each switch. He looks like shit. He really does. He is lucky to even have a wife while looking like such shit. He feels like shit too. He has dark rings building up on the skin below his eyes. He needs a Bud Light. He hasn’t shaved for days and his face itches. His hair is turning grey along the sides above his ears and it makes him look ten years older than he truly is.
He stares at his reflection and raises his eyebrows in an attempt to produce a more “invested” looking look. He smiles and nods and pretends that he is agreeing with Joanne while listening to her talk to Fortune downstairs. The nodding and smiling have to look good if he is going to convince her that what she is saying is important to him when it really isn’t at all. Jeff stands at the top of the stairs and practices making more faces in the mirror. He is trying everyday to get better at looking believable when lying to the faces of the people he loves.
His mind slowly drifts from the thought of her pain, to the sound of her voice, to the cat hair on the carpet, to the bath towel in the hallway, to the beer can he threw in the yard a few days ago, to that guy he saw in Radio Shack, to the blank white wall right in front of him and his mind continues to drift until he can feel himself standing there thinking about absolutely nothing at all.