Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fic: Last Words for the Fickle-Hearted

Which affair broke her heart, it is not to say. There was a chain, and she danced over the links, until it broke. Which link, it only matters to one person, and he is not here to remark on the matter.

Green tea in a white cup. She stared at the bottom, at brownish leaf dust coagulating, swirling. Soon it will be cold, and she'll drink it and finish her book.

He read one or two books per year. Mostly, he wrote. And had other women. As such men do. Where he found them, she'd never understand. When were her eyes off him? The back of him was as familiar as the tea cup, as the snoring she put up with at night. For him. Because complaining women don't make sweet lovers. Or wanted lovers.

Her inner nag turned on her, lacking otherwise healthy repositories for its criticism. She painted pink lips in mimicry of young girls, of photographs of herself years before she met him. A bow in the middle, a bit of careful inscribed plumpness. Swift strokes of blush on her cheeks.

If she had to do it again, she wouldn't choose a man fifteen years her junior. She'd pick one thirty years her junior, ripe and unformed and like the elms that bend in storms. Knotted ropes to keep him at his work, whether it be digging in the earth or hunched beneath some sink. But not at a typewriter. No more of those.

The tea went colder than expected, no trace of the kettle or fire. Somewhere, a train dips through the valleys in the night, deaf to the screams of wild things in the dark. Heedless of what lies over its tracks. Somewhere, a scattering of bones is about to occur, and she thinks of picking them up later, of marking the small pieces with letters and punctuation. A humorless board on which to write her own goodbye, on which to banish all her fears.

When were her eyes off him? In between the lines. In between sips of tea. She listens and looks, and sees all. And in the hush, she hears, finally, the train bellowing far off, shouting its presence to the curving hills, announcing that it is coming, at last.


  1. "Her inner nag turned on her, lacking otherwise healthy repositories for its criticism" - oh dear this so well recognised - and so well-described!

    1. Sadly, many of us will recognize this line. At least we writers get a stab at banishing it with words, eh?

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, Bryan.

      And this time, I spell your name correctly. In my defense, my other half is Brian. :)