Things Left Mostly Unsaid (06)

§06 — As always, she’d been exhaustingly elliptical. It seemed as if she never approached a point unless to curve about it. Her extreme circuitousness drew out the interrogator in him, which felt too much like work.
“What are you trying to say?” he asked wearily.
“‘Trying’ suggests failing,” she replied, immediately, with a laugh.
“What are you saying, then?”
“That’s better, but now redundant.”

It was always like this. “You’ve said a lot less than you think,” he muttered. It was pointless. She hid by nature. Irritable words wouldn’t draw her out.
She appraised him with cold neutrality now, wondering whether this was a fight. “Confession is a myth,” she said. “It collapses the question of evidence into intention. Information isn’t being held back. It isn’t available.”
“Sometimes, maybe,” he quibbled. He wasn’t going to grant her more than that, or in fact even that. “More often it’s withheld.”
“Sure, but primordially.” It was a word designed to up-end what remained of casual conversation. She smiled a little sadistically after uttering it.
“You mean, not by you?”
“Of course not by me,” she said, perhaps too quickly. Immediately, the ‘of course’ had seemed crude to the point of self-parody. They were speeding into stupidity again. Maybe it was the only thing that ever happened. She sighed.
He appeared to understand her frustration. An element of apology crept in. “Don’t let me rush you,” he said. “There’s time.”
“Meaning what?”
“Patience, I guess.”
“So you’re retreating from everything now?”
“Is that what’s happening?” The question was transparently insincere. He could almost feel himself stumbling backwards.
Perhaps it didn’t matter. The can could be kicked down the road, as they said. There’d be another time.
The thought unfolded through exactly those words. ‘They could pick it up again later’ was the whole of the initial conception. Yet – even unannounced – ‘another time’ seemed like the strangest idea supportable by the world. Reciprocally, this time became unbearable. The peculiarity was crushing. He backed away from this too, as if cornered. To think in the direction indicated would be like endless falling.
“You okay?” she asked. He’d paled oddly, staggering slightly, as if intoxicated.
“I was going to say something really weird,” he said, with an awkward laugh, “by accident.”
“But you didn’t.”
“No, I didn’t.” It felt alright, although that didn’t say much, either. There was relief as at an abyss missed.
She laughed too, though less awkwardly, which was nice. Then she put a finger to her lips, making the ‘hush’ sign.
They listened to nothing for a while, but it was hard to hear.

February 6, 2020admin 1 Comment »
FILED UNDER :Fiction

One response to this entry

  • J Smith Says:

    “They were speeding into stupidity again. Maybe it was the only thing that ever happened.”

    I’d thought at first that one of them had gone and touched the whatever and been slurped into a toroidal time vortex, but now I think maybe they were already in it and never left.

    I had also thought these two people were just particularly unpleasant, but honestly, all talk could be reduced as follows: an endless loop of her prissy equivocations and finicky refinements, their deliberate elisions and gratuitous ungendered bitchiness, his theatrical wheedling and inarticulate grumpy noises. 😊

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 6th, 2020 at 9:04 pm Reply | Quote

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