The only platitude anyone should ever offer is I love you. It is the only phrase that they know is true, that you know is true.
You’ll be fine, you’ll be great, everything will work out—those phrases aren’t meant to make you feel better, only to forget the problem until you’re at a safe distance from the speaker.
The only person who told me the truth was my boss. My boss who puts an away message on his email every night when he leaves the office and once looked at my phone and asked what I do with that glowing rectangle gizmo. He shook my hand, congratulated me, asked if it was planned—and then he said that anyone who doesn’t tell me how hard this is going to be is just slinging bullshit. He said that the happiness getting happier, that’s all true, but the other end, the sadness becoming utter misery, that’s true too.
Don’t forget it, he said.
I told all this to my dad, who’d originally told me I’d be fine, and he said that yeah, that’s true, but you’ll be fine.
Joshua Isard is an author and teacher living in the Philadelphia area. His first novel, Conquistador of the Useless, was published in 2013 by Cinco Puntos Press, and his short fiction has appeared in journals such as StoryChord, Northwind, and The Broadkill Review. He is currently the director of the MFA program in Creative Writing at Arcadia University.
Read more from Cleaver Magazine’s Issue #6.