Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Late night story

As I was falling asleep last night (much too late after reading more of Neil Gaiman's American Gods), I turned off my light and couldn't fall asleep. Just before I had turned off the light I had seen the small scatter of coins on my bedstand, and some prose started composing itself in my head. Not wanting to lose the stream or forget it by morning, I grabbed a pencil, and the closest paper to me, and wrote.

This is what came out of the pencil.
(Only slightly edited from its raw, late-night format)
He collected broken hearts like spare change at the end of the day--when you’re ready for bed and you dig out the loose change from your pockets before the laundry or couch cushions claim them--the cold leftovers of the day’s transactions. The broken bills of your life that day. 

That’s how he collected broken hearts--small handfuls at a time, never truly remembering where they were from--and drops them onto the bedstand, between the lamp and current paperback he’s reading. 

If they were physical, tangible things, he’d wait until his bedstand was overflowing, then spend sleepless hours dividing and sorting them into coin rollers. Why take the intimacy out of it? he’d think, preferring the hand-counting to the cold and anxiously-waiting Coinstar machines at the grocer’s. 

Of course, because a broken heart isn’t a physical thing(no matter how much the women and occasional man would argue against that matter), he never took a night to sit down and paw through the pile, inspecting and remembering the dates stamped onto each one. 

Instead, he goes to bed, and dreams of what he’ll do the following day--the exact scope and details of which would fail him when he would awaken. 

During the nights and weeks thereafter, he hearts would remain broken--occasionally they’d mend, possibly break a handful of times more before moving on--but all the while, he existed, oblivious of the consequences such a selfish, unconscious, and totally-human act created. 

Can one be a serial lady-killer without knowing it?

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