“Why are you sitting like that?”
“Sitting like what?” Stew replied to the person sitting across from him. Stew had been seeing him a lot recently. No matter what he was doing, where he was doing it, or who he was doing it with, this guy would be there, injecting his opinions in every action Stew made. Andy was his name. He was Stew’s negativity, just in the form of an annoying friend who follows you around all day, never taking a hint. He was like a roommate for Stew’s mind, a roommate who leaves the toilet seat up, or never washes the dishes.
“Like that.” Andy replied with a gesture.
“What? I’m just sitting here.”
“Ok man, if it ain’t a problem for you it isn’t one for me.” Andy said, acting like Stew had just accused him of murder. Stew was sitting in a coffee shop, he was waiting to meet up with some old friends from high school later that day and needed something to do; the only issue was that, like always, Andy decided to tag along. Eventually a waitress approached Stew’s table, “Can I get you something Sir?”
“Uh, yeah just a regular coffee will be fine, thanks.” Stew said without a second thought, Andy gave a mocking smile met with a glare by Stew.
“Alright, and that’ll be all?” The waitress replied, her pen primed to keep writing on her notebook.
“Yeah, just the coffee is fine, thank you.”
“Alright, that’ll be out shortly sir.” The waitress walked away, leaving Stew in silence. The silence didn’t last however, not if Andy had anything to say about it.
“Really? A regular coffee? What a stupid order.”
“WHAT is wrong with a regular coffee? Everyone gets regular coffees; it’s like the most common order you can get.”
“Exactly, so basic, mix it up a little sometimes.”
“Or maybe you could just leave me to my coffee and go bother someone else.” Stew replied, taking out his phone. Right as he did, a message popped up from one of the friends he would be meeting later that day. “Hey, we’re gonna be like 20 minutes late to the park, hope that’s fine, see you then!” Stew looked at the message for a few minutes; he began typing a response but decided to delete it and put his phone back into its resting spot.
“They’re gonna ditch you; you know that right?” Andy hissed, now hovering over Stew’s shoulder.
“No they aren’t; they’re just gonna be a few minutes late, that’s all.” Stew said, his tone unsure.
“You don’t actually believe that do you? It’s their cover story, 20 minutes turns into 30, then an hour, the ‘Sorry! Gonna be a little bit longer’ lines start to pile up, then you’re sitting in the park alone.”
“Why would they ditch me huh? We’ve been planning this meet up for weeks now.”
“Oh I don’t know, maybe they hate you, maybe they’re playing a prank on you, maybe every single one of them never wants to speak to you again, and this is their way of telling you without actually telling you.”
“Oh come on, if they hated me they’d say so. Plus I don’t care if they hate me.”
“I think you care more than you say.” Andy said while tapping Stew’s pocket, the same pocket the phone sat inside.
“And how would you know that?” Stew replied in a challenging tone.
“Those girls over there are laughing at you.” Andy whispered like a snake; he was pointing past Stew’s line of sight.
“What? Where?!” Stew worriedly squeaked while turning towards the direction Andy’s finger had been pointing. Stew looked around frantically trying to find the supposed group of girls Andy had mentioned but was met with nothing but empty chairs lining the opposite wall.
“Wha..? Where are they? You pointed over there.” Stew questioned, turning back to his shoulder where Andy had been.
“Made you look.” Andy said with a grin, now back in his seat across from Stew.
“That wasn’t funny.” Stew grumbled..
“It was pretty funny, for me at least.”
The Waitress finally returned with Stew’s coffee. After 10 minutes of light sips and Andy’s consistent ridicule over his every move, Stew left the coffee shop and began making his way to the park.
“Yknow, maybe if you wore normal clothes, you’d have a girlfriend by now.”
“What is so wrong with my clothes huh? I wear normal clothes.” Stew said, gesturing to his hoodie and mundane shirt.
“You dress like you don’t know where you’re going.” Andy snapped back without hesitation.
“Well that was just mean. Anyway what do you know about clothes hm? Not like you’re an expert.”
“You don’t have to be an expert to see how little this look is doing for you.”
“Will you just shut up about my clothing? I didn’t ask for your input, in fact I never have asked, and I never will. I don’t need your voice detailing every flaw I have all the damn time. So just shut up and keep your thoughts to yourself for once.” Stew exclaimed, right before continuing his walk.
“Jeez, that one touched a nerve.” Andy mumbled before rushing after Stew.
Stew carried on walking through the park once he reached it. He was enjoying the scenery, especially since Andy had finally shut up. Pristine fields of green grass, occupied by couples having picnics in the shade of age old oak trees. Dogs played catch with their owners when they weren’t chasing squirrels up trees, Old couples sat at benches just enjoying the fresh air, the blue sky full of fluffy clouds. Stew was listening to his favourite music playlist; he hadn’t heard it in a while thanks to Andy’s critiques, but it seemed like he wasn’t around for the moment. Stew reached the meetup spot, a nice bench sitting beneath the largest tree in the park. His friends hadn’t arrived yet, but it was already 20 minutes past the agreed time.
“They aren’t coming.” Andy said with a descending tone; he was sitting on one of the branches of the tree.
“Didn’t I tell you to shut up?” Stew replied.
“You did, but this is more than your horrible taste in music, or your questionable fashion sense. Your friends aren’t coming; you are wasting your time sitting here waiting for them.”
“You don’t know what you are talking about. They’re just running later than they thought. It’s been a while since they told me they’d be late; things can happen.”
“Oh stop kidding yourself; you know they ditched you; you just don’t want to admit it. You know you aren’t good enough; you know they hate you, but facing that reality isn’t something you can bring yourself to do.” Andy said, throwing a twig at the ground.
“Stop. Just stop, you don’t need to point out every little thing; you don’t need to tell me all my friends hate me; I already know. I just thought that I could forget about it.” Stew held his head low to the ground.
“Well you can’t, not while I’m here. I’ll make sure to remind you everyday of your life, until you improve or until you drop dead.” Andy shouted, jumping down from the branch.
As Andy put his hand on Stew’s shoulder, someone called for Stew. He looked up to see his friends walking down the path.
“Wait what?” Andy murmured as Stew stood to greet his friends.
“Guys! I’m so glad you made it.”
“Sorry we’re really late; traffic was awful; we were stuck in a taxi for so long. We’re just glad to be out of there.” One of Stew’s friends said with a sigh.
“No worries guys, just happy you made it. So where do you guys wanna go?”
“We saw a really good looking coffee shop on the way here.” One of the friends chirped.
“Oh no kidding! I was just there. We can go there; their coffee is amazing.” Stew explained
“What? No this isn’t supposed to happen! They hate your guts; why would they want you to go get coffee with them? T- they probably lied about the traffic yknow! I bet they just wanted to stall for as long as possible!” Andy screamed in frustration.
When Stew and his friends began walking, one of them turned to him and said, “Dude, is that a new hoodie? Digging the look.”
“Thanks man.” Stew smiled.
“No! This isn’t right! You aren’t supposed to be happy, you- you don’t deserve it!” Andy shouted, he began running towards Stew with his hand outstretched, primed to grab him and drag him back down into his insecurities. Before Andy could reach him though, Stew turned towards him and held his hand out towards Andy. Andy paused, unable to move, at the mercy of the one he sought to destroy. “Quiet.” With that single word, Andy was thrown back, landing far from the group, down on the hard ground. All he could do was watch Stew and his friends walk away, laughing with joy. As they walked, Andy began to disappear, slowly fading out of existence. He wasn’t dead, but he had no control over Stew anymore.