Posted Monday, September 13th, 2004
Miriam N. Kotzin
The day Sean told her that he was moving out was the day he dug his video camera out of the box of stuff that he'd kept in the back of the closet. They'd never set it up on a tripod and aimed it at the bed. They'd never taken it to the shore or anywhere else. It had always stayed in the box, loaded.
Now he aims it at Anna as she paces around what had just become her bedroom again. She's crying, and she's been crying off and on for hours while Sean packed. Her face is red and swollen with grief and anger. Her long, gray hair falls into her face and sticks where her face is wet with tears and snot.
The bed is a staging area between them. Sean's belongings and clothes cover the bed in heaps. He hasn't started putting things into suitcases yet. A six-pack of cartons from Staples leans up against the bed.
The kleenex is on the same side of the bed as Sean, and Anna won't go there. She wants him to stop the camera. She grabs a shirt from the pile of clothes and holds it up, open like a curtain in front of her face. "Stop," she says, from behind the shirt, and then says it again, "Stop it." She's sobbing, "Don't. You have no right." She lowers the shirt and he's still filming.
"No...." her voice trails into a whimper. She hates melodrama, hates being out of control.
"Erase it! Erase it now!" She's begging though the words are commands. Later she will not remember what else she said.
"Look," he says. He presses some buttons, watching the monitor, and then he turns the screen towards her. She sees herself reduced, holding up the shirt and hears herself say it in a tinny voice, again and again. "Stop, Stop it. Don't. You have no right. No...Erase it. Erase it now."
She sees herself, diminished, lower the shirt, and the zoom-in close up of her face. She sees herself as he will remember her and as she will remember herself, like this: her hair wild, her face puffy and streaked, the bags under her tiny red-rimmed eyes.
Anna's mouth opens and closes like a ventriloquist's dummy when Sean turns off the sound.
Comments [post a comment]
Posted by Ellen Meister [ firstname.lastname@example.org
] on Wednesday, September 15th, 2004 at 5:14 PM
Precise and powerful, Miriam! Love what you captured here ...
Posted by Katrina Denza on Thursday, September 16th, 2004 at 6:33 AM
Chilling piece with a unique premise!
Posted by Elaine Little on Thursday, September 16th, 2004 at 9:59 AM
Congrats, Miriam! I remember this one, and liked it as much the second time around as the first. Keep up the good work!
Posted by Myfanwy Collins on Friday, September 17th, 2004 at 7:54 AM
Wow! This story packs a punch. Well done, Miriam!