A Thought | Thomas E. Kennedy
The Funeral Director’s Wife | Grace Wells
Infidelity, Almost | Edward Mc Whinney
The Revolutionary | Amy Groshek
What Walt Whitman Said | Liz Prato
A Discourse on Time | Luke Evans
Plum Island | Andrew Coburn

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Infidelity, Almost | Edward Mc Whinney

 	It was a chance Summer meeting at an outdoor event. A band played. We danced. Something passed between us, you’ll never define it. A glance, a whisper, a breath, a ray of light from an iris. I leaned close to her ear and said; Life is awful. We sat at a table. I could see that she was clearly upset. Others joined us. The band played soft.
	Long black hair, tall, face somehow somewhat gaunt but beautiful, that is, to me her face was beautiful. It left a wound inside in my heart. I am just an animal like everyone else after all. What’s right and wrong didn’t enter into it. Don’t talk to a 26-year-old sperm whale about continence and sobriety.
	Yes, wounded by a face and long black hair and moist lips and a certain sexy laugh. Wounded under the heavens. She had a name with ice in it; Candice but she was as hot as the flagstones of Hell. Fire in diamond sharp eyes.
	The worst is I tried to stay faithful as they say, in the beginning. But it nearly drove me mad. I flung things at the wall and I emptied the rubbish all over the kitchen floor. Her name had to be contained in my head and buried like a dead person for whom my grief must be a secret. My watch went haywire.
	She was not the most beautiful woman I had ever met. But she was extraordinary. I could not forget her. I found it hard to accept that she was human with all the ordinary functions and that. After a few minutes thinking about it you decided that she was a goddess. Her feet did not touch the ground. She hovered above us. She would roll up the street to the door in a Daimler if she was to roll up at all.
	I recall the touch of a kiss on the lips. Her long black hair fell over her bare shoulders. She was wearing a black strapless dress. My companion was drunk. He was leaning against the bar. At that moment he leaned his head back and howled like a wolf at the ceiling. He let something wild loose. I related to the feeling. It was contained in me too. Her eyes which contained a mixture of fire and ice, sadness and ecstasy were now in mine. Her long black hair over her bare shoulders. She kissed me. Some other time, she said before turning away and floating towards the door. My companion let another piece of wildness loose out of his soul. He began to call her name. He howled it. Candice. I struck him fiercely in the mouth with a knotted fist. His mouth burst open like a flower, a rose, and he slumped down under the bar.
	Life is torture I said to her. And so short. But at the same time so complex. We shouldn’t be talking like this. You have a husband, I a wife. How can I tell her that I love you too? In her way of seeing things, in her conception of what is right and wrong there is no room of any sort for freedom of manoeuvre. For example if I wanted to see you it would have to be in the most secret and devilishly silent of ways. Another time, you said to me as if you really meant it as another time as in another life when we have different bodies, born again in other shapes. It was maddening. It was the horrors. Life was brutal. There had to be some better alternative. I sat in that room full of books by dead poets like a prisoner. Somewhere out in the lights of the city night she lived and breathed and her heart palpitated with unearthly passion. Candice.
	Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be free of the flaws in your personality and then of your morals and principles and best of all of your responsibilities? What are they? They are chains. Look I’m damned already. I could have made a move if I had been able to think straight. But it all happened so quickly and now it’s over but the taste of her lips remains. Some other time.
	Wallowing in this schoolboy infatuation, I turned to loving my gaoler all the more, and in loving her all the more loved the other, Candice, more also, creating such confusion in the house.
	What’s the matter with you, she asked? And look at the mess in this kitchen.
	The attention I was pouring upon her, in the grip of guilt, in the guilt trip, made her suspicious. I had to revert to type to avoid further confusion. A certain kind of ardour is denied a six year relationship. Here the passion is controlled, inclining more to sentimentality than lust, what you might call real love if you want.  
	I recall how difficult it was to feign coolness.  
	Life is about being trapped from all sides and the consequent desire for freedom of all the inaccessible kinds. Freedom of spirit and freedom of soul and above all else freedom from the mortal chains of the body. I gazed out the window at the city sky all lit up in a neon madness. We were living in a wealthy suburb then in a fine house paid for by her father. I looked towards the centre of the city and thought if only I could fly, if I could open the window, perch for a moment on the sill like a windhover and then stretching my long wings launch out silently, swiftly into the lights.
	We have yet to master the art of stepping back into the past and moving again in certain situations we would like to relive. Then the telephone gave one ring, one sharp blow of its shrill trumpet. It must be her but she lost nerve and hung up. Just as well because the gaoler was on hand to pick it up and pick it up she did. Hello. That’s strange. I moved to the top of the stairs. Who is it? No-one she said, they hung up.
	Of the corpse in the open box the child thought thus? Is he thinking? Is he dreaming? And he surmised by way of rational response to his own interrogatives; as all supplies of oxygen to the brain have been cut off seeing as the heart is no longer pumping, it can only mean that nothing is functioning normally so unless you wish to believe in a supernatural force it is a very simple negative as answer to both questions. He cannot feel, sense, dream, understand or intuit. We have a word for it. Dead. And all the religious stuff, that enormous fiction comes to naught. There can be no life after death. The individual is dead. He can’t ever get another erection.

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commentary | poetry | fiction | chicago | winter 2007   

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