Monday, March 8, 2010

The final one.

She was extending a hand that I didn't know how to take, so I broke its fingers with my silence, she said, "You don't want to talk to me, do you?" I took my daybook out of my knapsack and found the next blank page, the second to last. "I don't speak," I wrote. "I'm sorry." She looked at the piece of paper, then at me, then back at the piece of paper, she covered her eyes with her hands and cried, tears seeped between her fingers, she cried and cried and cried, there weren't any napkins nearby, so I ripped the page from the book - "I don't speak. I'm sorry" - and used it to dry her cheeks, my explanation and apology ran down her face like mascara, she took my pen from me and wrote on the next blank page of my daybook, the final one:

Please marry me

I flipped back and pointed at: "Ha ha ha!" She flipped forward and pointed at: "Please marry me." I flipped back and pointed at: "Thank you, but I'm about to burst." She flipped forward and pointed at: "Please marry me." I flipped back and pointed at: "I'm not sure, but it's late." She flipped forward and pointed at: "Please marry me", and this time put her finger on "Please", as if to hold down the page and end the conversation, or as if she were trying to push through the word, and into what she was trying to say. I thought about life, about my life, the embarrassments, the little coincidences, the shadows of alarm clocks on bedside tables, I thought about my small victories and everything I'd seen destroyed. I'd swum through mink coats on my parents' bed while they hosted downstairs, I'd lost the only person with whom I could have spent my only life, I'd left behind a thousand tons of marble from which I could have released sculptures, I could have released myself from the marble of myself, I'd experienced joy, but not nearly enough, could there be enough? The end of suffering does not justify the suffering, and so there is no end to suffering, what a mess I am, I thought, what a fool, how foolish and narrow, how worthless, how pinched and pathetic, how helpless in the universe. None of my pets knows their own name. What kind of person am I? I flipped back, one page at a time:


-J.S. Foer

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