Monday, March 16, 2009


In a couple weeks I will be able to return to a regular blogging schedule. For those still around, below is something that came from a prompt from a writer's group. The instructions were to writing about 'boxing' in any sense of the word. I wrote this.

My box is flesh.

When I was younger I dated cripples. I had a girlfriend who was blind. I remember sitting in front of her, making faces, and remarkably she could always tell. She would stop talking and abruptly look up, as if she could see me, and shriek. It eventually led to us breaking up. Still, she started a trend, and I was always on the look out for fallen birds. Odd then that I should have ended up with someone as plain and ordinary as my wife.

Charlene was quiet and liked order; her life was all pastels and soft edges. Her words were carefully chosen and perfectly enunciated.

“I don’t want us to go through counseling,” she said. It was a strange comment; I had no intention to of going to see a counselor.

Using the remote control, I turned down the television and turned to face her. She had attractive eyes.

“Counseling for what?”

“For our relationship. I don’t think I could take it. I don’t think it would help.”

I wasn’t sure how I felt. Aroused? I kept watching her, looking for anything unusual in her face. A twitch, perhaps. I liked twitches; they were sexy. Facial expressions, extreme or otherwise, could be an erotic explosion. Once I tried convincing a girlfriend to wear a plain white mask. I wanted to experience the emptiness.

“Okay,” I responded. “What do you want?”

“I just want to leave you.”

Hearing her words, I wasn’t surprised. Some people lean on intimacy as if it were a crutch.

She waited for me to say something. I waited for me to say something. Charlene leaned far forward in the chair, fingers closing hard on the armrests, knuckles painful white. Her mouth turned down, reminding me of a frown a child might draw on frosted glass. The silence continued.

I found myself wondering what it would be like to be deaf, imagining the silence as a protective blanket. I would draw it around myself, small within its wet, damp immensity.

“Nothing? I’m leaving? You don’t feel anything?”


“This is pointless. You’re pointless.”

Charlene stood and went into the other room. I wasn’t surprised when she re-emerged with a coat and an overnight bag. She passed me, even steps perfectly balanced. Standing at the door, she threw me one last glance.

I would have said something, but instead I was thinking about one woman who would beg to be humiliated. I found it difficult to relate to that; I never felt humiliation myself.

Pointless, I turned back to the television, and kicked up the sound. I could have opened the box, but then, I would have lost everything special.The door lammed shut..


Charles Gramlich said...

box of flesh is a great title for this one.

Certainly interesting.

Avery DeBow said...

Very sociopathic, Stewart. In a good way, as usual.

Gwendolyn said...

I loved the way you utilized the analogy... it was subtle, but at the same time stared you right in the face. He's a great character.

Stewart Sternberg said...

Thanks Charles.
Avery..I am a sociopath. It's my hobby.
Gwen...thanks. I'm hoping it's not autobiographical

L.A. Mitchell said...

He is a great character. How telling in the first few lines that he'd make faces at his blind girlfriend as a test.