A Broad Spectrum

A Broad Spectrum

by Sarah Vernetti

“Human emotions are difficult to understand. I mean, sure, we experience emotions too—sadness, happiness, contentment—but not the broad spectrum of emotions that you see in humans.” I always emphasize the term ‘broad spectrum’ in my lectures on human psychology. Unfortunately, out of habit, I tend to lecture even when class isn’t in session.

“In humans, you’re more likely to see complex emotions: embarrassment, rage, jealousy, guilt. Guilt is an interesting one—”

“Yes, I know what guilt is,” she mutters, looking enviously at the couple sitting at the next table.

This date isn’t going the way I had hoped.

“Well, why don’t you explain it to me then?” I respond. As soon as the words come out of my mouth, I can hear how condescending and teacherly they sound. Why do I have so much trouble talking to women?

“Guilt is a combination of regret and embarrassment,” she says.

Her answer surprises me. “Yes, that’s correct. Didn’t you say you’re a writer?”

We make eye contact, finally.

She takes a deep breath before saying, “The reason I’m familiar with human emotions is that I’m half human. On my father’s side.”

Now I’m the one looking away: at the couple next us, the waitress, the busboy. If I could, I would switch places with any of them. Because if I have learned anything during my years of research, it’s that I do not want to pursue a relationship with some human.

Sarah Vernetti
Bio: Sarah Vernetti is a Las Vegas-based freelance writer. When she isn’t writing about travel, she’s busy crafting short stories and flash fiction. Her writing has appeared in 300 Days of Sun, Black Denim Lit, Eunoia Review, Foliate Oak, Vending Machine Press, and elsewhere.


One thought on “A Broad Spectrum

  1. While I enjoyed the writing, I found it to be more an anecdote cum commentary than a plotted story. I’m guilty of this myself at times, and it’s hard to spot and stop when in the flow. The denouement is marred by the telegraphing of “humans” at the beginning.

Leave a Reply