Not Worth Saying

iPhone+Instagram+Photo+Library+Card+Due+DateHere is the last (at least until I write more…) of my 20-minute stories.

I talk too much. It always happens. At first people hear me, and then I’m a sound. The refrigerator, air conditioner, and a thousand household machines speak daily, but people stop noticing them. The brain turns their volume to silence.

Everyone tells stories about having odd uncles with grubby secrets, about the car breaking down somewhere unlucky, about being mistaken for a more important person. I am a collection of these narratives, a library book with old due dates stamped inside the back cover, phrases and words underlined in faint pencil. If you knew me better, you’d remember I’ve used this metaphor before, in just this context, with just this timing and emphasis.

People who do know me tell me to stop, stop now. They’ve heard it, they say, and then I leave off rifling through my memory looking for relevant remarks that might pass as new. None of it is new. Life echoes infinitely, I’ve learned this.

I’m not sure when my catalog of anecdotes filled. Maybe around the time my wife left. She said I should get a dog that would have to listen, but instead I talk to her chair. Though nothing really helps me imagine her interested, after I drink enough, I try. The stories roll like boulders beneath a glacier, and I dream of them deposited in a field, incongruous and dramatic. I like to think of my wife’s smile before those last grim stages, before her face formed a rictus of pain whenever I opened my mouth.

Since she left, I’m alone. My car drives itself to and from work, and I’m a passenger. Colleagues are pulsing clock parts, whirring, rocking, or inching forward as demanded. Meals and sleep are processes. Time is territory so familiar as to be invisible. I blink and discover another day, season, or year.

And, sometimes, when evenings grow long, I bear down with this pen, hoping to force something new from my mind but only come up with this same account of my trouble, the only trouble I know, my most recent—that is to say, my last—discovery.

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12 Comments

Filed under Aesthetics, Aging, Ambition, Experiments, Fiction, Fiction writing, Identity, Kafka, Laments, life, Metaphor, Modern Life, Parables, Play, Sturm und Drang, Surrealism, Thoughts, Voice, Worry

12 responses to “Not Worth Saying

  1. dhefko

    Beautiful! And what an evocative image–those old due dates!

    • dmarshall58

      I wish I could take credit for the graphic… I just happened to steal a good one. You can find the original location by clicking it. This piece is actually closer to true than I like to believe. I sometimes feel as if I’ve said everything now and am left only with polishing the contents of my story drawer. Thanks for commenting. –D

  2. This is perfectly paced….I’m just glad I’m not married to him…

    • dmarshall58

      Thank you. As for not wanting to be married to him, that’s a reasonable response. Part of me also feels sorry for him, maybe because that sort of staleness seems a regular part of getting older. –D

  3. ps… the picture is wonderful….so viscerally familiar…almost carries a smell

    • dmarshall58

      Oh, I wish the picture were mine. The true source opens in another window when you click it. I love the lurid colors! –D

  4. Another winner. Kinda sad this is the last of them. Do write more!

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