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
Las Vegas, NV
AboutWriting, for me, has always been the friend who brought out the best in me, and who would never argue with me, except when necessary to point out my many obvious inconsistancies. Writing and.. more..
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