Mark goes home and “makes” some instant noodles and eats them with that kind of growing hunger that you come across when you’ve been unknowingly starving yourself for the past few days. He finishes quickly and rinses out his bowl in the sink before padding through his large, empty feeling house to the bathroom. He stays in the shower for a long time, letting it’s warmth beat at the bruises and knots scattered across his body and remind him of Wardo on sleepy Saturday nights when they’d fallen asleep on top of each other on the couch because they’d both been running on empty for the past few days, Mark to code and Wardo to study. Mark can feel his eyes stinging now, like they always do when he thinks too much about what he had before and how much he messed things up; he turns off the shower quickly and blinks his eyes until the knot in his throat disappears. When he reaches his large, perfectly made bed Mark falls asleep almost instantly and doesn’t dream.
Life goes on as normal after that, Mark still forgets to eat sometimes and he still looks tired most of the time and Dustin and Chris still nag at him and nothing really changes until he finds an email in his inbox that really shouldn’t be in there, regardless of how good it looks nestled in-between a flurry of work emails and the occasional shark week reminders and pictures of cats that look like Hitler from Dustin with subject headings like “THIS CAT TOTALLY LOOKS LIKE THE FUHER MARK IT’S TOTALLY HIM BUT A CAT!!!!”. “Eduardo Saverin” it reads “No subject”, Marks breath gets a little bit stuck in his chest and he glances around to check that no one’s behind him before he opens the message, absently reaching for a Red Vine as his eyes flicker over the text.
I heard that you haven’t been sleeping or eating properly, I hope your face has healed up after the fall down the stairs. I understand that running Facebook is a lot of work, but you’ll cope with that work better if you take the time to look after yourself.
Mark doesn’t understand at all, this isn’t the “lawyer up asshole” Eduardo but it isn’t the “I’m the guy who wants to help” Eduardo either, this is some new brand of Eduardo conjured up specifically to support the uncomfortable mixture of friendly concern and unfriendly detachment that are being conveyed by the rather stilted email that squats in Mark’s inbox like some antagonistic gnome (but maybe that’s going a little too far, thinks Mark, it is only an email). After some hesitation and three more Red Vines Mark hits the reply button and starts typing “Subject: I’m fine”.
I’m fine, whatever Dustin and Chris have told you is an exaggeration, they just miss you and want to try and blackmail you into visiting more often.
My face is fine, though I wouldn’t have thought that you’d care either way.
But that’s too casual and close and bringing up past wounds that are easier to just ignore. But then again...
I love you and I miss you and let’s get married and live in a big house together.
I’m going on hunger strike until you forgive me and we are friends again.
I miss you,
No. He pauses, backspaces, presses undo, backspaces again, writes two sentences, backspaces, rewrites a sentence.
Thank you for your concern, very touching.
I’m fine, Dustin and Chris were exaggerating, I eat and sleep plenty, you should too.
He reads over for typos and presses send, mostly because he can’t be bothered to agonise about it anymore. After sitting paralysed by shock and anxiety for a second (was the sarcasm too much?) he shuts his laptop and walks out of the office,
“I’m getting lunch, do you want anything?”
Dustin spins round in shock, eyes wide,
“Baby Mark is eating now?”
“Don’t ever call me that.”