The light from my phone cast a faint blue glow that reached all the way up to the ceiling twenty-five feet above. I checked my email and my feed reader before shutting it off, which plunged the living room of the cabin into complete darkness. The air outside was cold and it felt good to be curled up on the large leather couch. Most of the leaves outside had already fallen, but there were enough to paint the north Georgia mountains with streaks of red and gold. The whole day had been spent lounging about, playing board games, and measuring how much water seven people displaced in a hot tub.
I went into the weekend in a horrible mood. Work and freelance projects had left me stressed and frustrated. I had spent most evenings of the previous week alone in my apartment, typing away on my laptop. The relative lack of non-professional human contact had left me cranky and overly-sensitive. I was the only single person on the trip and I was waiting to be offended. Not only waiting, I was looking for ways to be offended. One stray remark, one idle comment and BAM! my tongue would be unleashed in a firestorm of “righteous” indignation. Oh, they would understand, these people with their significant others and, in one case, their (incredibly adorable) offspring! They would know the injustice of my existence, the pain of my being!
The only kink in the plan was the fact that I had awesome friends.
As a slap in the face to my self-indulgent bitterness, I never felt left out or isolated. Instead, I was drawn into a game of Scrabble by the fireplace, I helped wash the dishes, I was asked to hold the kid, and I staked claim on my own corner of the hot tub.
Contrary to what I had feared, when my current wave of friends started to marry each other, the only thing that really changed was the living arrangements. Instead of marrying and moving on, they had married and dragged me along with them. I didn’t realize what had happened until, at an extended gathering, another friend leaned over to me and said, “Dude, what happened? When did we become ‘the single guys’?” Now, most of my close friends were married and, while I was sure the dynamics would evolve over time, it seemed as though they were more than willing to keep me as a recurring cast member in their lives.
Rain started to fall on the metal roof high above my head. I wasn’t going to be awake for much longer and, before my mind started to slip into incoherent dreams where I was inserted into action scenes from movies I had watched months before, I prayed silently thanking the Lord for the people in my life that made it worth living. I prayed that my tendency towards self-martyrdom never made me lose sight of the fact that I was surrounded by people who loved me and people who I loved.
My vision blurred and I found myself in the Nevada desert surrounded by zombies that had been unleashed on the world by a corrupt corporation. I raised my machine gun in preparation for the undead onslaught.
This time, it was personal.