Final Thoughts

Lillian Bassman

         She set her cup of coffee by the sink. She had been considering this for so long it seemed she would never do it. But now it was done. She moved away from the counter and lost the strength in her legs, gripped on the edge of the sink to keep from falling over until she could stand again. The kitchen gleamed white, the sink was white, even the windows burst with white light. She had not expected everything to seem so bright. Her children were in the other room, and she thought she heard Toby complaining that Aria had taken his toy. But it came through only dimly, and before long she found it almost impossible to say whether she had children at all, whether or not she had imagined the whole thing.

         She was losing her grip on the facts. That was fine. Tim had put this life together for her -- she remembered that much, and his name -- and she knew she was standing in the kitchen. It had been one of the largest houses she had ever seen before, much less lived in. He had brought her this life, had brought her this beautiful house and the two children.

         These things she still knew, but she thought of them coldly. She'd come to hate him and all the rest of it. She had wanted something else out of her life, but had never had a clear idea what, and so she had been swept along by the needs of others. That no longer mattered. That was all over. That was all faint and vague, and she was feeling warm, and happier than she had ever felt. Whatever came next, she was going to discover. This idea made her very happy. She took the cup of coffee once more in her hands and sipped it, or thought she did, but when she looked again the cup was on the floor, the coffee spilled on the carpet, and she moved to clean it up, but then she was already sitting in the living room chair, and soon she was just floating in the white light. She could feel nothing under her or around her.

         Voices floated up from the stairs, and she had a sense of looking over the railing to hear them, but there was nothing certain about that. There was that man again; there was something special about him, but she couldn't remember what. His face had faded almost completely into the far distance and had merged with the sky, it seemed to be the sky, and then the kitchen was gone too, and then there was nothing beyond herself, warm in the white light, and then there was nothing but the light; and then that faded too, and there was peace.

JEREMY HATCH has been a full-time freelance writer and editor for the past year and a half, with an emphasis on the "editor" half of his life; at this time he is turning his serious attention to journalism. He has reviewed books for Gambara and 42opus and he has just been assigned a series of eight reviews for CurledUp.com His fiction has appeared in the literary webzine elimae and is forthcoming in Balderdash. His personal website is Ynpossybull! He lives in San Francisco with his wife and two cats.

2007 Underground Voices