Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Calm Quiet Place To Self Destruct by Joshua Turek: an excerpt

George lights up at the notion of recognition. His wife sitting in the driver seat. Hands on the steering wheel but resolute and unmoving. Her face is wincing as much as the surgical procedures will allow. Her eyes letting tears release from ducts all too familiar with the sensation of crying. 

George's anxious outstretched hand arrives to a locked door and the sight of the closed window between him and Pamela. 

She still remains a salvation. The keeper of his identity. A living reflection of his actual life. Proof that despite the seemingly puny and public insignificance, privately, he was here.

"Pamela. You're still here. Thank God! Open the door, sweetie. Could you please open the door, sweetheart?"

"George, I hurt my right ankle. I don't know if I can drive, it might be too tender, but I have to leave you now or I never will!"

"Pamela, please! Can you please roll the window down?"

"You can't change my mind, George. I'm leaving. I'm leaving this marriage. I can't do this anymore, not one second more. It was hip and fun all those years ago when we got married against the grain despite the times or whatever but it feels so old-fashioned now and I grew up super-modern, George, I swear I did. I have to leave you now!"

She says all of this through the glass barrier. Her face pleading like George has never seen it plead before. He can not help but notice that there is something sexy in the desperation and also terribly sad, like the world didn't grow in the spring but instead withered inward during one enormous winter.

"Honey, I know! You don't have to say it. I understand now. I get it. I mean, it's not all palm trees and porno anymore, is it?"

"What? No."

"And love is a momentum more than anything."

Her eyes glimmer, something she recognizes.

"You said that, those were your words. And you were right. And it's weird, because somewhere along the way you get into a routine of living and suddenly the world begins feeling very small."

"As small as this minivan. No! Smaller..."

It is unsettling George, how he can see her and she him and yet because of this glass barrier and safely-sealed-from-the-elements physical encapsulation known as the white minivan, he can not touch with the bare tools of his own humanity, touch Pamela as if his life depended on it. Which, it, in a way, it does.