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Father’s Day is the worst. If someone’s lucky enough to have a good dad, they should celebrate that privately instead of rubbing it in everyone else’s faces. That is exactly what Danny is thinking as he gives the envelope an agitated lick before sticking it down, turning it over and scrawling Mindy’s name on the front in handwriting unlike his own.

He had woken up in a hell of a mood and the self-loathing has only grown during the day. He’s a jerk—no, he’s worse, he’s an asshole. The letters he’d written to Mindy might have worked had he not lost his nerve after Valentine’s Day, the moment he’d actually gotten what he was looking for; a sign that Mindy was open to exploring something with him.

Except not with him. With some made up guy whom neither of them has ever met before. He might have been able to convince himself that it was that guy that had hurt Mindy, made her feel like she wasn’t enough, like she wasn’t beautiful, but he remembers writing every single word of that letter. He remembers meaning every single word too, which makes him all the more angry that he screwed it up.

But this letter, it’ll help. It has to. Mindy needs closure just as much as he does and the letter symbolises a gentle end. Mystery Guy has been deported, without the ability to communicate for months on end, but oh, how he’d wanted to write sooner, but he didn’t have anything on his person to exchange with the other inmates for pen and paper. Until now. Sure, he won’t have any toilet paper for the next fortnight but Mindy is worth it. Even if they can never be together. Yadda yadda yadda.

Written through the haze of suppressed rage and resentment, Danny hasn’t noticed how different this letter sounds to the rest. Grabbing his keys from the chest beside his door, he hears a crunch underfoot as he steps out, looking down to find a DVD in a newly cracked case. Kicking it away, he disappears into the city.

A few hours later, Danny traipses back through his corridor, the bridge of his nose pinched tightly to stave off a headache. In his other hand is gripped a white envelope, still unmailed. Yet another thing he couldn’t bring himself to do.

The DVD sits where it had skidded to a halt, Danny notices, surprised that whomever had dropped it hasn’t returned to claim it yet. Curiosity getting the better of him, he checks around before picking it up and moving hastily inside, away from prying eyes.

“This better not be a sex tape,” he mutters, tossing the letter and keys on the chest. The mental image of his neighbour pops into this head, sending a shiver down his spine. “I already hear ya, Mrs Winterbottom, I don’t wanna see ya too.”

Pressing play, Danny backtracks to the couch, picking up the remote on the way and turning up the volume, collapsing languidly between two cushions with a heavy sigh. This is exactly what he needs. Something to take his mind off Mindy and his total and utter failure at being her friend.

”…year was 1974. In a tiny Catholic hospital on Staten Island, Daniel Alan Castellano entered the world…”

“Woah, woah! What?” Tension returning to his body in milliseconds, Danny sits forward, squinting at the screen. “How does, how does she know my middle name is Alan?” His voice takes on a shrill of panic. “Ma?!”

Propelling himself to his knees, he scrambles towards the television, gripping the sides of the screen with both hands and giving it a shake, almost like he thinks – or hopes – his mother will tumble right on out of there.

“That’s my Ma! Eugh,” he twists his face away, unable to stand such a close up image of Christina without his stomach turning. He can physically feel his blood pressure climbing the notches. Morgan. Peter, who appears to be stating the obvious.

”What can I say about Danny? He’s my best friend.”

“I don’t even know who you are! Stop, stop talking! What the hell is this?!”

“Danny and I, we used to hate each other. Over time that changed.”

A giant-sized Mindy holds his gaze like glue and he swallows the rest of his rant down, feeling a little like he’s been caught doing something he shouldn’t.

”Mindy, I’m still surprised that you like getting these letters but I’m glad because I like writing them. I wouldn’t say I miss you but it hasn’t been the same without you here.”

“Fine, I miss you,” Danny continues, quoting by heart. He remembers every single word of that letter too.  “But don’t let it go to your head. Your friend.” His voice grates. “Dan.”

”Guess what?”

The frown lines between his brows suddenly disappear. “What?”

”It went to my head.”

His hands loosen, sliding down the sides of the television screen and into his lap, the rest of the audio fading into the background. Even the sight of Ken Burns can’t steal his attention back.

It went to Mindy’s head?

Video left playing, Danny climbs to his feet, picks his keys back up and slams the door on the way out.

[View Mindy's video here.]


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Dr Danny Castellano

July 2015


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