I’ve never had to do this. Almost considered it, but not seriously. I had a long drive, and just wondered what it’d be like. This is what I came up with.
Thomas stood, staring at the shelf, pondering what he should do. There were so many choices, and on top of that there was the choice as to whether or not he should even get them.
“Shit.” He cursed under his breath, but it was loud enough the old lady at the pharmacy not ten feet away glanced over at him. Ashamed, Thomas nodded and muttered an apology. She shook her head. Even if he hadn’t sworn, she would have likely shaken her head at what he was doing. At the decision he was making. It was a decision he had to make, he told himself.
There were a variety of types, sizes, even flavors. Flavors? Why the hell did they have flavors? Some were studded, others ribbed, a few were made to create a heated sensation, but he couldn’t even figure out what that meant. What was he doing? This wasn’t him. This wasn’t like him.
The decision twisted at his gut. He had never bought condoms before. He had only considered it once in his life, but even then he was too shy to actually go through with it. Sex was terrifying. The muscles in his thighs and those right above his knees, on either side, started to weaken, shaking a little. Breaths were fought for, each one gasped and quickly exhaled. Shit. This time he only thought it. No use worrying the old lady any more than he had. But she was gone. Others had walked by to fill their prescriptions without him even noticing. Teenage girls giggled at his uncertainty. He was nearly twice their age. They shouldn’t be laughing at him. They shouldn’t know this struggle. Their boyfriends shouldn’t know this struggle. But the world was different than he was used to. He experienced a very different life than others. Now he was thinking of just going into the world head first. He was an upstanding man, though. He was a pillar in the community. What would they think?
He snatched one. Medium made sense. He had no idea other than the size, swiping it quickly from the shelf and scurrying to the checkout close by. He didn’t want to be seen in public with it, cloaked in the disgrace of his scripted act, the little box in his hand telegraphing exactly what he intended to do. It belonged in the house, hidden somewhere. A safety net, just in case. In case of what? He rubbed his temples with a free hand while he continued to the check out, putting the package on the conveyor. “Trojan.” His headache worsened. Maybe if he bashed his skull against the register he’d feel better. The thoughts would clear, and the answer would be right there. But he knew the answer. This was the wrong answer.
The cashier, some high school jock, grinned when he put it past the scanner and plopped it in the bag with a thud, a light box against Target’s counter under the bag. It was a bang in Thomas’s head, though, like every sound the morning after a long night drinking. But it wasn’t the same type of pain. It was a pain of guilt, judgement, shame, and every other apprehensive feeling that welled in his gut.
Thomas flashed a quick smile, swiped his debit card, put in his pin, and took the bag, making his way out of Target as quickly as possible. Perspiration started forming on his forehead. Even in the bag, he could feel people staring at him, knowing what he was going to do. Or at least what he was considering doing. He wouldn’t do it. It was just in case.
Once home he rushed into the apartment, locked the door behind him, and collapsed in the living room. He stared at the bag, seeing the obscured box inside. But he knew what it was. “Trojan” was easily viewed through the thin white bag. He escaped to his room, opened up the top drawer for his nightstand, and threw the box in there, shutting it with force. Again he made his way to the living room, and pretended nothing happened. Pretended there was nothing in his nightstand. He wouldn’t use it. He wouldn’t need to. He was honorable. He was godly. He was a good boy.
Fantasy Writer and Cartographer
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I have people to kill, lives to ruin, plagues to bring, and worlds to destroy. I am not the Angel of Death. I'm a fiction writer.