Friday, February 25, 2011

“Night’s Truth” by E. Joyce Moore

Posted By on Fri, Feb 25, 2011 at 10:33 AM

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Introduction People creep in and out of our lives all the time. I had a friend tell me recently that no matter where he moved, the same old acquaintance popped up. Here’s a story about that, though the encounter is not a chance one and the relationship is complex. The main character here has to answer that ever-present question: does time change anyone or anything? Does it here? Make your own life changes: send in your flash fiction, your prose poems, your generally short creative work. Email flashfiction@sacurrent.com.

—Lyle Rosdahl

“Night’s Truth” by E. Joyce Moore He had come back into her life. After ten years. After breaking her heart by marrying someone else. From outward appearances, she led a charmed life. Nothing reflected the truth -- how alone, how lonely, she felt. She’d married Clinton, planning a lifetime commitment. Exceptional as a television journalist, she was promoted to evening news anchor. His ego wounded, Clinton bedded yet another woman. She’d had enough, and got rid of him. In spite of her beauty, intelligence, and natural kindness, in the darkness of midnight she’d lay in bed with insecurities looming over her like a brooding storm. “When you don’t know who you are, you will always be lost in someone else’s definition.” She could hear her Granna’s low-pitched voice echoing against the walls of the early morning hours. Matt called. He eased her into conversation as though it was yesterday. Divorced, he said, no children. He’d made a mistake, but tried to make it work. “Been thinkin’ about you for a very long time,” he said, in that low melodic voice she remembered so well. “Have dinner with me.” She accepted, hoping ten years was enough time for her heart’s healing. “You are as beautiful as ever,” he purred, pulling her close for a long hug. She looked into his eyes, searching for the man she’d loved, hoping to find that part of herself she’d lost. She slipped into the chair, trying to control the cacophony of emotions she felt. Dinner was pleasant, full of wine, exquisite food, served against a pleasant acoustic tapestry of music, conversations and clattering dishes. They fell into their usual rhythm of togetherness. Smiling as he paid the bill, he glanced sideward. “What would you like to do now?” “How about taking a walk down to the canal?” she asked. “I don’t feel like going home.” The air was warm and moist; spring was ending and summer descending. She was calm, collected, almost giddy with a sudden self assurance. Dinner conversation was a defining experience. Matt was as charming as ever, but as she watched him, prodding him to tell her more, she made a surprising discovery. “Matt, why did you come back?” she asked, leaning against the abutment over the canal. “Well, because,” he hesitated, caught off guard by the question. “We are unfinished business. I want to get back to who we were, together.” He moved closer, smiling seductively. “Don’t you?” She closed her eyes, smiling, inhaling the balmy night. And finally, finally exhaling. “I realized something tonight. I was the blank page on which you wrote your definition of me. Until now, I defined myself by your actions, believing that you would come back to me if I was more of who you thought I should be. What’s changed?” She opened her eyes and looked at him, honestly, deeply. “I rewrote that page. I need to be loved for who I am, and when I think about it, you don’t get me.” She turned and looked over the canal. “A beautiful night, isn’t it?”

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