Monday, July 18, 2005

The Day After "I Love You"

NPR's Weekend Edition gurgles while she chops. Water boils. The omelet sizzles. Finally the food is ready.

Relocating to the living room, she turns on the TV before she shuts off the radio, preferring to wade thrice through noise between the kitchen and the living room rather than schlep only once in silence. Four hours later, TV-burn sets in. She shuts down the tube and looks out the window seeing an overcast sky in the leaves. Her need swells in the silence, rising up the walls like water filling a 12-foot pool. What am I feeling? Her need begins to subside when she, herself, rises quickly, before an unwanted answer could bubble up.

At the Laundromat, she reads between cycles, paying little attention to her fellow launderers. Their ghosts - whom she spies through the corners of her eyes - are caulk enough. But after, when she plops her steaming clothes onto her kitchen floor, she stares at the glinting silver bobbing on the tabletop. I could pick up the phone, she thinks. Reach out; talk to someone. There are people interested in hearing from me. But that is not what she wants. Instead, she browns under more TV - The Real World: Austin; Fisher Stevens as Hamlet; Carmen: A Hip Hopera - until bedtime, when she finally pulls her finger from the dike by switching everything off, and drowns in the silence of a phone that never rang.

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