The Divider

I wrote this a couple of months ago, by accident sent it to ‘The Gargoyle’, and they made the mistake of publishing it.

They split it into three parts, and re-arranged two of them, for reasons that I can only assume have to do with the fatigue and “senselessness” notorious at their eight hour production meetings. To their credit, they noticed the error and apologised the next week, but I think it’s fitting that they doomed an already weak piece which I really had no business showing anyone. For inexplicable reasons that are my own, I’ve decided to “publish” it here:

“Without knowing what the woman behind the divider looks like, having seen only a part of her bangs, the upper half, and a few stray hairs tucked behind her ears, my curiosity gets the better of me, and I begin to wonder what seem to me reasonable things, such as ‘Suppose she is the most beautiful woman in the world?'”

I write these words out onto a sheet of lined paper torn out of a notebook, which I fold in half and crease nervously, my heart disorienting, beating heavily in my chest, twitching my whole body. Two coughs sound behind the divider–could they have sounded any lovelier?–and I take them as a cue to tip the paper over the top of the divider and into the opposite partition…

The paper is unfolded. A moment, and then a moment longer. In a flash the paper is returned, in the form of a paper ball aimed–impeccably, blindly (for how could she see me behind the divider?)–right in the square of my forehead.

I unfold the paper carefully, looking for the message I know is there–the crumpling only a physical necessity, with the obvious purpose of improving aerodynamics–and, lo, I was right! There is a response:

“Though I have been described as lovely, by parties more knowing than yourself, it seems premature for you to bestow, and for me to claim, the title you have so rushed to grant me.

“Furthermore, you’re creepy.”

Oh, but–! My heart swelled, and its casing shrunk, and I was stung.

“If–if, my intentions, they were–only to share the moment of divine inspiration–that the smallest part of your forehead offered…”

Flustered, my pen crossed itself. I couldn’t complete a sentence, the ink shook with my hand, and… Finally, I stopped writing, without having written anything, and flung the piece of paper over the divider; a gesture of surrender. There was no response. I stood up, and she was gone.

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