Monday, May 16, 2011


She was stuck at work.  The program was unable to alphabetize the list of names.  Weeks of typing were being scrambled.  She remembered to hit the "undo" button.  Names and information were back to their original less mixed up condition.  Mixed up.  The whole mess was so tangled now.  It was a misunderstanding last night.  Why couldn't he get that through his selfish protozoan skull?  Men.  Allegedly so adaptable.  They destroyed so much by remaining so unadaptable.

She was putting off the inevitable.  Calling him to inform him.  Informing him of being stuck.  Stuck at work. 

"Just leave it for tomorrow," he would say.

Her whole life had slowed down when she met him.  Pulling alongside him was once so exciting, so calming, so comforting.  Now it was so so.  It was so deadening.  Searching for the "undo" button.  Nothing to be undone.  The details were piling up against the dam of her glazed over eyes.  The details were pressing against the wall that would pop her out of the plane and into the air that rushed at 35,000 feet.  She could feel her glazed over eyes being blown inward and through the back of her ponytail.  Her ponytail would whip and thrash about the clouds.  Her long hair would be given reluctant permission by the jetstream to be buffeted about like a damaged parachute.  A mad rubber squid rejected by reality.  Death had arrived at last.

The last 5 minutes were punctured by her desk phone ringing.  It was him.  One conversation would exhume the one from last night.  Shit.  Don't answer.  She had to answer.  She was stuck at work.  She was stuck.  Clouds.  Clothes and hair filled with wind.  She escaped her chair and went to the window.  What floor was she on?  She was stuck as she pressed against the glass.  The phone ringing against the glass. 

The dark glass.  She saw the fish.  The fish in the tank.  In the tank behind the glass.  The tiny fish glowed in the darkness of the tank.  She put her hand on the glass.  Maybe the fish could swim through and into her hands.  Hands filled with little fish.  Fingers dancing with tiny little fish.  Her fingers and knuckles would glow in the dark.  How old was she?  Young at least.  What grade?  Was it after school she came home?  Put her hands on the glass in desperation as she watched the mother fish eat the last of the little ones.  Eating the last.  The littlest ones were the last.  They were the fastest.  They were the last to be eaten.  Last to be eaten by mother.  Mother.  Save just a little of your daughter.  Just enough to remember something.  Enough to put 2 and 2 together.  To know how they come out.  Save a little of your daughter, mother.  Just enough to put some words in order.  Enough to make lists long enough to save enough for the little mouths to feed.  Mother.  Save just a little of your daughter.  Not all gone.  Still here.  Still here.  Still here against this dark glass.  Stuck against this dark glass.

The dark glass shook with the ringing of the phone.  Still here.  Still stuck at work.  Stuck at work.  Stuck against the dark glass.  The glass vibrating its cold denial in her ears.  Cold denial.  Cold.  The clouds were cold.  All that annihilating wind.  Fuck me.  Fuck me until I am all gone.  Not you, asshole.  Stay in that shitty grave of immaturity.  A long sharp heel into your mouth.  Run that forked tongue through.  Are we through?  No.  Stuck at work.  Everyone had left.  Alone and stuck.  All that wind.  The clouds.  What a deathbed.  The phone pierced her temples against the dark glass.  Lights outside turning off.  No clouds.  No wind.  Just piercing and shrill phone whining in the glass.  The dark glass.

- Max Stoltenberg

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