Dedication (Unread)

Dedication (Unread)

A Story by Mark

This year's submission to National Public Radio's "Three Minute Fiction" contest



Mark Teague March 22, 2012


She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally, decided to walk through the door.


After all, was it not this very door through which he had left, mere days before?


And was this self-same book not the first thing he had given her, three years earlier, when he was but a shimmer of unrealized hope on her remotest horizon?


Was this not the table they had bought together, on an excursion through that adjoining state’s twelve-acre flea market on their first proto-date?


Then what could be more appropriate, as her first deed in celebration of the muted knell of the unlove she now embraced, than to place that book upon that table, and to walk through that door?


Had she loved him? Yes, she insisted to herself, she had…but she never had loved that table. It symbolized to her his snooty insistence on educating her in matters with which he was familiar, but which interested her not a whit. And the book, too, was a patronizing slur against her lack of breadth in matters literary. She had compelled herself to read enough of it to placate him, were he ever to grill her on it (he never did), and she hated that she had done so, and that he never followed through. Her need to appear more to him, when she actually knew herself to be quite erudite, if in different subjects, rather sickened her, in fact. But that was now behind her.


Thrown into a reflective mood, she was compelled to wonder whether her definition of the love she had supposed she had was even valid. What had she actually loved about him, besides the quest? But she shook her head and decided to leave yesterday’s assumptions alone, rather than persist in this line of inquiry, which had the potential for making her realize that the past three years had been a hoax and a waste. This she did not wish to know, if true.


As her fingers touched the doorknob, she turned and picked the book up once more. She flipped backward to the frontispiece, and fishing in her purse for a pen, drew three decisive lines through his inscription, and began to tap the pen against her teeth, wondering what final assault she might mount against his scathing ego. Bringing the knuckles of her right hand onto the despised table, she closed her eyes and began to think, and to weep, though silently, and thus far drily.


What had begun the tiff-that-became-more, that they both had realized was more than a mere fight, and embraced more than the annoyances of a few recent hours? It surely was not her literacy or the lack of, nor her disinterest in antiques. It was not, she smiled, even his admission that another woman had caught his eye…and rather more. Perhaps they had both come, more or less at the same moment, to the realization that the relationship was pointless, that what each brought to the table was not suited to the other’s palate; that beyond an initial savor, no nutrition was to be had? Suddenly she knew what she was going to write.


“How could someone so smart in so many ways be so stupid in the matters that really count?” Then she lifted her right hand from the table and placed it back into her purse, finding one other object. She positioned herself against the door, positioned the  book across her chest, positioned the .38’s barrel below her chin, and loudly sullied book, table, door and cranium quite irrevocably.


© 2012 Mark

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A great read, I was gunning for her to get rid of the creep once and for all, I hate literary snobs! The ending was a terrific twist but I felt he didn't deserve such adulation and also she seemed strong enough to recover and build herself a better life without him.

Posted 6 Years Ago


6 Years Ago

There was a great deal of backstory and twists I would like to have added, had I not been limited by.. read more
Claire Twinn

6 Years Ago

Yep that would do it!
Your one sentence:

“How could someone so smart in so many ways be so stupid in the matters that really count?”

It sums up your story so perfectly. The questions being most importantly...stupid. When faced with's so easy to be blind-sided by our fallible thoughts. What a thought-provoking read...melancholy...but well written.

Posted 6 Years Ago

Very sad and realistic. I loved your pace of this story. Your first person narration and description really kept my interest and helped me see each scene.

Posted 6 Years Ago


6 Years Ago

Thank you, Derek.
Wow. Didn't see that coming. She seemed so much more composed. I truly loved the line ... 'wondering what the final assault she might mount against his scathing ego..." That is such a statement pulled from real life. Sad real life, but real nevertheless.

Only suggestion I may have here is to relook at the fact that shoots herself through her chin. Women RARELY EVER shoot themselves in or near the face. In fact, they rarely suicide by gun at all - it is very messy. But - IF they shoot themselves - typically it will be in the chest - aiming for the heart. But - your story, your call. Just thought I'd put all those hours of watching real crime stories on TV to good use.

Otherwise, what a great and sad tale and very well done. Sorry I have not come by to read you more. LOVE short stories. LOVE THEM!

Posted 6 Years Ago

what an ending!!! This was absorbing mark, and quite brilliant in a way. It is strange how inanimate objects can hold us to ransom almost

Posted 6 Years Ago

Rather a shocking way to make a final statement on a failed relationship. Effective no doubt, but self-defeating in that there could be no follow-up, no knowledge of the shock and horror that her action engendered in the late partner. Well written, with that final oomph at the end.

Posted 6 Years Ago

very deep, and very sad. that someone would allow themselves to be in that dark place and find no other way out.

thanks for the write. it made me think, and that is a writer's goal is it not?

Good read.

Posted 6 Years Ago

In your writing style I hear the "you" I once knew. There is the observing you, the Southern you, and a philosophical, almost stoic you. The sadness I perceived long ago is part of you still, and that what was a difficult childhood turned into a challenging adult life. It's all part of the interesting, determined, extremely talented person I know so little about.
But I never realized you had such imagination, bubbling up and over in your poetry and prose. Please keep writing.

Posted 6 Years Ago


6 Years Ago

Been at it for 42 years now, El...I reckon I'm in for the duration! I didn't realize my sadness was .. read more
Whew.....what a talent you are Mark
You write so effortlessly and everything just flows....I suspect you could or may be a terrific speaker, lecturer, and most definitely someone I would enjoy conversing.
I never suspected the end to be so "final" for those words she wrote could equally describe herself...especially regarding her final decision.
The beauty and passion of this write however is the way you pieced together, while quickly we can transition from simple, fresh memories to dismal, "irrevocable" reactions.
I love the way you write.....ergo....I love this
sad as it may is truthful and real...
"suddenly she knew what she would write"...Did she also suddenly know exactly what she was going to do....and what does that moment in time feel like??
Great write Mark...

Posted 6 Years Ago

I loved the logical argument she had with herself and the events that had happened with the man in her life. The endings twist is shocking but wonderfully written. I loved it. Thank you!

Posted 6 Years Ago

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21 Reviews
Added on March 22, 2012
Last Updated on March 22, 2012
Tags: dedication, unread, book, door, table



Las Vegas, NV

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