Mary Shannon was not a girl to confess all of her messy, screwed up feelings to anyone. She didn't whisper with her sister in the dark, had no close girlfriends, and certainly was never going to keep a diary. But sometimes, all the crap in her life was just this side of overwhelming, and she needed a place to hide.

Today was one of those days.


Closing her eyes with a heavy sigh, Mary sunk slowly into her living room couch. The A/C was still off from her aborted vacation, and the house was sweltering – to the point that it was all she could do to breathe.

But then again, maybe that had nothing to do with the temperature.

"How the hell did my life get so fucked up so fast?" Mary thought. "Seriously. Like a week ago, stuff sucked, but at least I had Jinx and Brandi and people around. Having a house to myself actually kinda blows."

"God, now I'm even lying to myself. Even I'm in touch enough with my feelings to know this has nothing to do with Mom and Brandi leaving. I've been looking forward to that all my life. Let's be real now, Mary. Time to put on your big girl panties and own up to the fact that you just ruined the single most important relationship in your life. Good going on that one, by the way."

With a groan, Mary realized it was probably not a good sign that not even she was on her side at this point. Normally, on a night like tonight, when the yelling in her head became too much to stand, she'd show up unannounced at Marshall's, takeout in hand, and pretend to be suffering greatly from his choice of TV show, while secretly just enjoying his closeness.

Unfortunately, that was no longer an option.



Eventually, the heat crossed the line between miserable and unbearable, and Mary heaved herself off the couch, canceling the remaining days on her vacation preset, and sighed with relief when she heard the air kick on.

Original mission accomplished, she no longer had a plan. "Sitting on my couch watching a sad movie and eating Ben and Jerry's is way too pathetic. Even for me."

So she continued down the hall to her bedroom, collapsing on her bed. At a sharp poke in her spine, she rolled over and sat up, rolling her eyes as she found the legal pad she'd lent Brandi for school.

Staring at the pad for a moment, Mary shrugged. "What have I got to lose? At this point, dignity's already way out the window." So she leaned over to her nightstand and grabbed one of the ballpoint pens she loved to steal from hotel rooms on her road trips with Marshall. " Soon to be awkward Witness transfers where Marshall happens to be present. Jesus it sucks doing stupid shit."

Shaking the thought from her head, she uncapped the pen, chewing on the end, and finally started to write.