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STREETS OF FLOWERS
by Martin Golan

"In my seminar this morning we talked about every word doing its share. It's a problem, class, of saying too much. Of not earn-ning your emotion. It's a sense of the unsaid that marks the great writer. A sense of the unsaid. Remember that."

She slumps forward. The outraged plastic shrieks in relief.

The class, meanwhile, is frozen in conscientious silence from Dr. Robson's actually uttering several coherent sentences in a row. Lynn is staring at Stephen. The others gaze at his words in their careless paragraphs.

"But there is something unsaid here," the Tie says. "An undercurrent of isolation and rejection."

"Yes," the Aesthete says. "An existential rejection of spiritual values."

"Nature is the cycle of life and death," Lloyd says. "Flowers last what, a season? Trees can live a century. The confusion of trees and flowers is brilliant! You did that on purpose, didn't you?"

Stephen shrugs, as if to say, "Of course."

He looks at his poem. The words are so inept he pities them. The page numbers are particularly helpless, floating by themselves in the top right-hand corner. The class, meanwhile, is discussing his need to kill his father. What did it mean to create? What of beauty, especially a woman's, which had started it all in the first place? And where does Lynn, or Lenore, or whoever she is, fit in?

In answer, Lynn speaks:

"I felt the loneliness," she says, her fingers on his words. Her skin is pink in the artificial light. "The way he wanders these streets. The need to do something."

"Like I said," Sam says. "It's a triptych on death that's missing the third panel. The one on murdering the father. It's the only logical conclusion."

"Let's not draw too many conclusions," Dr. Robson says. "Let's not bring in too much from the outside."

The Aesthete sees his chance. "The emotion wasn't justified," he says. "That's the big problem."

"Yes, unfortunately," Dr. Robson says in her summing up voice. "Finally, it fails. A rather glorious failure, I might add."

A rather glorious failure!

She was uncanny at estimating when the bell would ring. She looks up, and it sounds, in some distant hall.

Her nod to Stephen means dismissal, nothing more. He stands to work out a strategy to escape as Lynn attempts to collect her things in her backpack or a pile she can manage. They blink at each other in the harshness of the light.

 

Copyright 2007 by Martin Golan


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