The invitation laid on his dresser like a scab begging to be picked. He couldn’t stop looking at it when he was home. And when he wasn’t home he thought about it sitting there, screaming for action. No answer was an answer, so he may as well answer it, he knew, but he was still struggling with how to do so. He’d surely be the subject of many whispered conversations around the reception, so the only question was whether he wanted to go and endure that in public while maybe achieving a bit of closure or to stay home and let the speculation run rampant while he stayed securely somewhere that was else.

For now Michael sat on the edge of his bed and stared at the wall. The invitation was just five feet from him, sitting on the dresser to his right, out of reach because of both distance and height. He would have picked it up and rolled it over in his fingers, admiring the silver lettering embossed on the tasteful ivory card, something he’d done countless times in the last three days, ever since it arrived. Why the hell had he even been invited? That question had haunted him since opening it and there was no good answer he could come to.

He couldn’t move. Paralysis ate away at his limbs and his thought process. He couldn’t see the invitation from his vantage point on the bed but he knew just where it was and looked in that direction. The old-school clock he kept on his bedside table, a throwback to a similar one his father had, relentlessly ticked by the minutes. Calling her and finding out what was happening was the only real option he could come up with but he hadn’t spoken to her in over three years, and then not civilly. Still, he should try. Her number remained in his phone, of course, but he’d never used it, nor had he ever deleted it for precisely the same reasons he couldn’t find it in him to respond to the invitation now.

Michael’s head hurt as he looked at the phone. All this stress of not knowing was getting to him. He tried to pull up her number but the phone screen was getting blurry. Was he crying? The headache became worse. “I’ll call after I lay down and sort this all out,” he thought but the pain only increased as his head touched the pillow. He looked toward the dresser, on which the invitation lay. “I just want to know” he thought and closed his eyes.