As the heat leaves the day she sits underneath the whirling ceiling fan snipping out words from her dictionary. She thought of herself as a writer but lately the writing had not been going well. Stories begun in her head had disappeared by the time she’d picked up her notebook and pen. She had begun to believe she would never write again.
In despair she had decided to let the universe write stories for her. Random words flung into the air carried on the undercurrents of the fan, landing wherever, would be her inspiration. Snipping and flinging was a work of art in itself to be undertaken with a studied nonchalance. She sat. She flung. Then she chose. It was almost like reading the tarot.
1st word: Preview
It was at the official preview of her exhibition for reporters and reviewers where Marlene had first seen Joel. Unlike the others who drank and ate and chatted without once glancing at her art he seemed to take notice. Standing before each piece he even took notes. Marlene was so relieved she went over and introduced herself.
2nd word: Fat
“Do I look fat in this?” Over the years Joel had learned to dread the question. There was no right answer. He longed to say “Yes actually, you do look fat and that’s because you are!” but he only thought it quietly to himself.
3rd word: Thursday
Thursday was sex day.
4th word: Death
Marlene was buried on a beautiful sunshine-filled day in December. Joel sat at the back of the church and wondered when she had found religion. When they had been married she’d been a militant atheist. Perhaps, in her old age, she’d been born again with thoughts of imminent death.
5th word: Cheese
Marlene hated the way Joel ate cheese. Instead of cutting a good healthy-sized chunk he would stand in the kitchen and shave off tiny morsels with the small pink ceramic cheese knife. It drove her crazy.
6th word: Children
“Marlene lives for her art!” boasted her proud mother to all her friends. “Her paintings are her children!” In the next room Joel wished he had someone to buy toys for, he felt silly playing cricket on his own.
7th word: Final
He sat on the couch waiting for Marlene to come home and rehearsed his speech. “I’ve had enough! I’ve met someone else who needs me. You have yourself!” He couldn’t believe he was finally going to leave.
8th word: Date
Around about the third date Marlene took Joel to her cheese-making class where they made tiny curd cheeses and preserved them in oil and garlic. They were so suited, she told all her friends. They would be together forever.
Still sitting under the fan she stretched and groaned and thought that it was time she stopped sitting on the floor. Surrounded by tiny cut out words she remembered that the vacuum cleaner had gone bung yesterday so began to pick up the words one by one, contemplating endless possibilities.
Copyright October 2015