The Conversation Piece

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
One day, I picked up the first book I saw and read the first sentence that caught my eye.
It was "She sometimes wondered if Haggie was trying to kill himself through an absence of tempo".

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Submitted: July 27, 2008

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Submitted: July 27, 2008

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His name is Haggie, and he is currently trying to kill himself through an absence of tempo. He has been lying on my couch for the past few months, and when that gets to be too much, and he can't stand the cheap art deco print inches from his face, he soundlessly migrates to the floor, where I will find him the next morning, in a heap, trying not to breathe. If I were an animal, I would probably be a fox, or a tiger- coquettish and vibrant.  Haggie would be a jellyfish, and probably one of the ones washed up on a garbage-stained tourist beach.

Today is one of those days when I find him curled under the coffee table, immobile. Haggie is a big guy and this looks uncomfortable because the coffee table is teeny tiny, but more interesting is that my couch is free. I sit. I marvel in way the springs dig into my back, the flattened cushions, that slight smell of applesauce still lingering from the single time my Samaritan impulses and I tried to feed Haggie. I extend my feet gingerly and rest them on the table, and it seems that my feet are not at all a part of me; I have worked hard and long to be beautiful and these feet are still so strange and ugly. I can not banish the thought that maybe all of me is strange and ugly and maybe I have just never looked at anything hard enough before, and this thought terrifies me so much that I immediately look down at Haggie (which I have been avoiding doing) and I discard that hypothesis because Haggie is not strange to me in the slightest; I know Haggie's face better probably than I know my own, because I took marine biology back while I was still ugly and this guy is a jellyfish, and those are over ninety-five percent water which means that once they've washed up, it's only so long till they evaporate. And this is Haggie's face.

I am reminded, suddenly, that Haggie is not furniture (and I retract my legs lightning sharp), and the thought of jellyfish is making me hungry, but the bizarreness of my feet is still on my mind and when I get up they betray me. They stand me on a body, which is muscular, but atrophying. Decaying, and he's bellowing, and that makes me feel great because it's the most noise he's made since he stopped crying, the first night he was here on the couch.

I do not apologize; instead of going to the kitchen I will run outside and knock down a pair of running shoes from the nearest telephone wire. If they are my size, I will cover my hideous feet, and if they are too big, I will put them on Haggie's feet and hope that this time, suicide can be cured with Extra Arch Support. And if they are my size, I will run until I am sure that my legs will never rot out from under me, and I will leave my front door open so that when the burglars creep in, there is a chance they too will mistake Haggie for a kind of home decor project. If I come back and he is gone, I will probably cry. The nightmares will be worse, but I will have a new pair of shoes and running is always easier when there is something to run from.

If the shoes are too small for either of us, I will take Haggie by his flabby arms and pull him out of the living room. I will take him into the midday and lean him against the mailbox. Then I will go upstairs and change into my favorite dress- my high school prom dress, which made me look like an angel, though it's tight in all the wrong places now- and I will go out and sit by Haggie, whose head will have lolled backwards as he stares at the sun. I will lay my head on his shoulder, and listen to the almost impossibly slow beating of a misused heart, and wait , drowsily, to evaporate.


© Copyright 2017 Annika. All rights reserved.

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