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: THE NEWS SAID: The news said the DC9 had crashed minutes after take-off. It sank into the mud and mire of the Everglades. “Are you OK?” The reporter asked. The young woman was not alright. You didn’t need the camera’s ultra close up on a face crawling with changing emotions. “I’m waiting for…
THE NEWS SAID:
The news said the DC9 had crashed minutes after take-off. It sank into the mud and mire of the Everglades.
“Are you OK?” The reporter asked.
The young woman was not alright. You didn’t need the camera’s ultra close up on a face crawling with changing emotions. “I’m waiting for someone from Miami.” She said, knowing the facts but holding on to hope with bitter strength. “The flight’s coming.” She said. “It’s coming. It’s coming from Miami.” With all her heart and soul; by the very invocation of sound from almost locked vocal chords she tried to keep that dead son-of-a-bitch ‘plane in the air. Just long enough to bring her love home again.
I looked in the mirror for the first time in a long time. Fifteen….ahh what the hell years. I had written that piece, and was crying.
I thought I was a young man. Inside was the same driving idealism tempered to blue-steel by experience. I thought I’d crammed a whole solid lot into a short and not particularly happy life. Now I saw my shiny scalp through thin brown hair. Tufts of untidy gray at the temples. Pitilessly sad eyes, big and brown over deep black shadows.
I tried a cheerful grin. The face lit up with a delight I wished I could feel. It was an Australian face, sun-squinted until the laughter lines formed. Add a grin to that Australian face, and there is a special attraction.
I’m not old. Fifty. God! I’m fifty! ONLY fifty! It’s a good life living in the bus, with my books and my slow-down-you-little-bastard aches and pains.
I write and keep myself separate. Long stretches of solitude give me pleasure. When I go out, or have visitors every begrudged second is tallied. I have a world of my own making and liking.
I should never have bought a wardrobe with mirrors. The image is a lie. It does not reflect my view of myself. A nice, friendly image. It speaks pleasantly in a scholarly manner. It does not suit me, the cynic, the revolutionary, the bitter rager against society’s sins. The need to be not human in protest at THEIR deeds, and aware too that the behaviour is coded into our every molecule. Human is what we are. Humanity is what we do.
When he heard the radio news, he burst into tears. Her voice. A girl so consumed with grief that her mind was keeping that God-forsaken DC9 flying.
“Odd” He thought, while breaking his heart over someone he never knew and had never met. “Why this one? We’ve all seen horrors worse than this. Why HER?” And the sound of the woman’s shattering soul filled his head again and again. He could not stop his own harrowing compassion.
Why should anything much out of the ordinary happen in a short story? Why shouldn’t I just end it there? Just like that. I’ve told you about the girl, and I’ve told you about a man indulging in a totally pointless emotion. And I’ve told you a lot about me, the writer too.
There doesn’t need to be a connection.
I can do that. I want to. Nothing else need happen.
The episodes in people’s lives are seldom actually conclusive.
Sometimes they just stop in mid-episode