That Thing I Said Once

By Katie Gergel


I wish you could put the ability to overthink on a resume,

because I am an expert in that field.

A hesitation; a moment of missed eye contact; an exclamation point

can send me into a spiral

can cause my mind to fold in on itself –

an origami embodiment of reading into things.

The silence of waiting is a breeding ground

for unwelcome storylines to unravel and expand,

magnify and compound,

blurring the lines between insecurity and rationality.

Obviously one missed call doesn’t mean anything?


It’s not like they’ve forgotten about me.

It’s not like I’m going to be replaced.

But why didn’t they think to invite me?

Are they talking about me?

Did I do something wrong?

Is this about that one time?

Will they ever call me back?


Stop! Stop. Why do I do this to myself.


I need to become fluent in a language

not dominated by the words “maybe” and “what if.”

I need to learn that nothing is wrong.

I need to learn that it’s not my fault.


I need to learn that sometimes what’s said is exactly what’s meant.


Sometimes a book is just a book –

With detached words written by a distant author.

There is no invisible ink,

no secret messages in the margins.

(I can’t believe I ever thought there would be.)


Sometimes there’s just nothing below the surface –










but sometimes there is