“The Oriental,” Albert mumbled as he put a cigarette in between his lips. Sticking his hand deep into his jacket pocket, he pulled out a box of matches. Striking the side of the box, the match exploded in a furious light that Albert used to light the end of his lucky strike.
“I’ve heard a lot about that place. How is it?”
Albert didn’t answer, but instead took a long drag from his cigarette and blew the smoke up into the air.
“Sorry sir,” the doorman apologized and quickly hailed a cab.
When the cab pulled to the curb, the doorman made it clear where he was to take Albert and that he was too busy to be bothered by idle conversation.
Even though he preferred it that way, Albert found the car ride lonely. Possibly looking for some comfort, he reached into his inside pocket and pulled out a folded letter. He had read it more than a thousand times, but he had never memorized it. The words were too tragic and too startling for him to commit to mind. They weren’t vulgar – she would never let herself be vulgar – but they did have the effect of pushing deep into his chest and slowing the beating of his heart. Had he not found it delicately held in the hand of his wife, the letter would’ve certainly driven him to strike her, even though he would, under normal circumstances, never have contemplated any such action. This would’ve driven him to it, though.
As he opened the letter, he put his thumb to the delicate smear of blood that had been there so long that it looked almost black. Too little blood for any creature to miss, and that was all that she would give him. She had carefully cut her finger with a letter opener as a gesture to seal the letter with a print of her thumb. A pact had been made with the letter, a way to remind him of the severity of the things that were contained and the grave manner that he would find them.
Although his eyes felt warm and swollen, there were no tears. There never were. He had tried to wail, to weep, but it never came. Another gift of hers he supposed. She would never let him feel the release of lament. He would be allowed no catharsis and certainly no pleads for forgiveness. Running his thumb along the edge of the paper that he had cut himself on many times before, he came to understand that his thumb was too calloused now, and he wouldn’t be able to get the paper to break the skin.
Turning his head, he put the letter back in his pocket, deciding to read it after the show, when he was alone. Drops of rain on the window taunted him for they knew his pain.
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She was lost. The taste of blood, like rust, she felt the weight of it on her tongue. She had no memory, nothing at all. Her eyes of gold were blinded by the deviant glare of fluttering lights through the … Continue reading
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