Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Press

Press

The fire burned more than anything she had ever seen, more than anything she had ever felt for him.  The metal in the aluminum barrel pinged and clanged as she tossed another book in.  She started with his collection of classics, offering Homer, Virgil, and Ovid to the flames.  How he loved his books.  He once told her that he could only ever really trust words.  She should have read more into this statement.  She leafs through Dante before tossing it into the miniature inferno.  Looking at the simple ring on her finger, she thinks of how strange it will feel not wearing it, how the pale white band of skin will eventually be fed by the sun and tan.  She grabs the Chaucer and Shakespeare and throws them into the old metal container.  As dusk settles in, she knows that he will be home soon, so she speeds up the pace, fueling the flames with Cervantes and Quiroga, with Garcia Marquez and Voltaire, with Delillo and Proust, with as many as she can.  How did he feel as he ran his fingers across these pages, the same fingers that ran across her back...the same fingers that broke the sacred bond that they swore? The car alarm chirps in the car port.  The fire holds the fledgling night at bay as the lights in the house come on one by one, page by page.  The cascade of lights ends with the kitchen.  She knows he is there looking outside, but she can't bear to look at him.  Turning back to the flames, she holds up the last offering.  Holding it high, knowing he'll see it, his prize, his restitched first edition of Ulysses.  Something is happening inside the house, a combination of avian shriek and convulsing metal.  She looks up at the book that she now holds in both hands, waits a second more, hoping for some sort transfiguration, but she feels nothing and lets it fall. The flames warp the leather cover, which folds itself, embracing the dying pages, suffocating in the creases, as the embers float up, wisps of orange punctuating the black of the night.

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