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Absorbed Vexation

The clear air bids farewell to welcome the stark clouds at bay. The man watches the blue-eyed sky turn to black in the comfort of his Alaskan cottage. Expecting company soon he tidies’ up the front room erasing the evidence of the events held last night, he cannot risk reminding her of the shattered glass and broken table. He looks out the window for the hundredth time and catches her eye. Her beauty melts the ice in the glass now spilled on the floor. She is not alone. He mumbles a curse word under his breath and it sticks in the humid air. She knocks with hesitancy and he permits her inside along with her guest. Divergent of the men she usually keeps in her company the man is mesmerized by his own anger at this intervention. Any man in her company is foreign and therefore subject to his automatic antagonism.

“I thought it was suppose to be me and you Grace?”

“Change of plans. I’m sorry Vex, but I’m here to collect my things.”

“Can’t we discuss this in private?”

“No I’m sorry, this is my decision.”

The man shifts his weight unconsciously comparing himself to this mugger she has befriended. The man extends his hand and introduces himself by a classic upper-class tag, first name John, last name Smith, probably a hunter similar to the character in Pocahontas.

“With all due respect I don’t give two cents what your name is.”

“Very well, I’m just here to make sure…”

“Make sure what? That I’m sober? That I will contain myself? Because you’re being here makes me furious.”

“I apologize. I just want to be here for her.”

She interludes,

“John, how about you go outside to the car, I’ll only be a few minutes.”

The foreigner hesitates eyeing the open bottles and discarded pizza boxes strewn about the room. He reluctantly agrees and leaves them.

“Vex, I’m sorry that we have to part this way, but your behavior caused this.”

“I didn’t mean to hurt you Grace. I wasn’t myself.”

“Obviously, but I can’t trust you anymore.”

“Why not? I’ve given you everything.”

“Your a cancer! When I’m with you I feel like everything’s about you!”

That word. That word Cancer. His lung jolts at the word escalating his heart rate.

“Grace, I must tell you something.”

“What is it?”

“That day I went to the doctor. I have lung cancer.”

Her defensive pose softens yet she remains alert. She avoids eye contact fearing her progress of leaving him will be reversed.

“I’m so sorry. I had no idea.”

“I should have told you.”

“I hope you know that that doesn’t change anything.”

“I wish it did.”

The man surveys her as she collects a few books and clothes. They had plans as he recalls to get married and start a family but his treatment of her wrecked any chances he ever had. It was probably the cancer spreading its malignant growth from inside him into his life clearing him of any chance of happiness.

She drives away with that man. That man named John Smith. How he wants to hunt him in the woods like game. Why can’t he be that man in the car with her? Healthy and happy. The man retreats to his bedroom designed by her, meant for her, a room that reminds him of her. He sleeps where she once laid, the smell contains him and he dreams of her. The next few days are damaging as she has left things lying around carelessly. Has she no sympathy? She mustn’t if she has left him alone and dying.

His health worsens as the weather becomes bitter and arctic. He is trapped inside his home along with his suicidal thoughts in a state of melancholia. His only friend is his cancer, which has consumed him in disarray leaving him uninspired and forlorn. One day he grows weary of the doctors false hope, his lack of energy, and loneliness. He treks into the neighboring forest turning his back on his home with the intention of never returning. He walks until his feet bleed. The cancer reviles against him as the pain radiates from within and forces him into the snow. For hours he lies motionless submerged in the frost staring at the trees above. The snow numbs him and the cancer is quieted for the first time in months. In a state of peace he closes his eyes and takes his last breath whispering his lovers name. His words are cemented in the air and withdrawn by the breeze as the last snowfall of winter commences blanketing his body conforming to each curve and hallow hole.

Months pass.

The decomposition transpires unifying his remains with the soil issuing nutrients for new life. A seed is fermented and up grows a bush of red berries. A deer feeds on him digesting his fruit for sustenance. Shortly thereafter, it is killed by a bullet to the heart and is transported to a dinner plate for consumption. The hunter, his wife, and his child convene at the dinner table prepared to feast. They pair the deer with mashed potatoes and green beans. The hunter sips on his third beer, which is frowned upon by his wife. The wife tests the deer and her taste buds celebrate.

“Oh my goodness John, this deer is incredible!”

“Hunted all day for this one, took me a while.”

“It must have been large.”

“It was, I found it near a large bushel of red berries which probably got it through the winter.”

His child speaks,

“Daddy, did the deer want you to kill it?”

“Of course not, but that’s life son, animals are meant to be eaten.”

“But, what if it had a family.”

“I doubt it. Those are the best deer, the ones without family. When you point your rifle at them its like they want you to put them out of their lonely misery.”

The wife interrupts,

“John that’s enough.”

John slams his hand down on the table rattling the glasses. His eyes are ghostly familiar to her, wild with rage. His breathe reeks of intoxication that percolates through his pores perspiring on his brow. His sweat drips down his frown onto his plate absorbed by the tender meat.

“Grace, I have a right to state my opinion, do not interrupt me!”

Grace looks down at her plate and offers her meat to her son, Vex, who had almost finished his small helping.

“No thank you mom, I lost my appetite.”

“I did too sweetie.”

She stares at her husband and back at the meat on her plate. She takes her knife and contemplates lunging at him with rage that fills her to the brim. Memories of her last boyfriend distract her from her menacing ambitions. At least he didn’t rely on alcohol unrelentingly like this jackass. Had it not be for her lack of funds and son she would have left him once the first displays of abnormal behavior commenced in a pattern each night. How she regrets her decision to leave him, dying and heartbroken. The remorse implores a consistent twinge in her temples.

John’s disturbing chewing echos in the dining room and the cutting of the meat results in screeches as if the deer is present and refusing to give up without a fight. Vex is excused to his room and Grace endures the sounds at his side. He glances at her and takes a generous slice of meat placing it in his selfish and rasping mouth. As if having a life of its own the meat suffocates air from entering his lungs. His throat clogged he grabs at it indicating to Grace to perform the Heimlich maneuver.

She remains still as a stone as she watches him grab at her and fight for his life. She is tempted to relieve him but enjoys the scene of her inner most desire being done for her by a piece of deer meat. He collapses lacking the breath to speak her name. She dials 911 and as she awaits their arrival she finishes eating her deer meat savoring each bite as if it were her last.





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