"A Work in Progress"

By: Kaitlyn Travis

"The drudgery of human existence is a perpetual ennui," she said, leaning against the window pane. "I am in a chronic limbo, balancing between awake and asleep."

She glanced down at her fingers and then held them up to the light for inspection.

"There's no dirt under my nails—I don't even have callouses on my fingers. You might as well throw me in with the china in the god damn curio cabinet."

A man sauntered toward the woman, smiling crookedly.

"You belong in a Dostoevsky novel, the way you cry about God and mankind," he said, laughing softly. The man placed his hand on the crook of her back. She stiffened.

"Perhaps…2+2=5 is an attractive idea, after all," she said.

He scoffed. She was a vixen of misology. He hated her. He wanted her.

"I guess you haven't reached the age of reason, yet."

"Reason? I never understood why humans were inclined to enslave themselves."

"Society is the overseer and morality is the master. Disobedience is the enemy—"

"Rebellion is the answer," she intervened swiftly. She moved away from the window toward the door frame, smiling at him mockingly.

"Monogamy is positively dreadful," she spat. "And those god awful suburban lawns…Hideous status symbols! I wouldn't care if your dog shit on them."

"Property is the extension of the self, is it not?" He said. "One of the fueling purposes for life is the acquisition of and the expansion of ownership: a universal communication."

"You can only claim ownership over your own body," she said, breathing heavily. "Nothing else; no one else."

His temper flared. His face frowned heavily. Must he turn to force?

And then, there was an epiphany.

"What about love? Don't you believe in that?"

He stared at her knowingly. It was a cool victory.

Her smile fluttered straight out the window; her color fell right through her toes. He would have drowned in her eyes if he wasn't careful.

"Love?" She hesitated. "I-I used to love. But I forgot how."

She paused. "I am a vortex of forgotten memories."

She reached for the nearest glass—a brandy snifter, filled half-way with scotch. Hopefully it was GlenFiddich.

"They say hell is remembering love, but never willing to love again," the man said.

The light left the room.

"I lie forgotten and unknown in hell," she said softly.

She chased away the last drops of alcohol. They tasted strong and burned nicely. She didn't even dirty her nails.