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  • There Are No Endings
    Kira Howe
    1 Nov 2007

    We see two pictures of a young woman. In one she is feverish and lying in bed, with long afternoon light streaming through the window, and a cat sleeping nearby. Soft music plays on the radio as she rests her eyes, worn out from a long day's discomfort. Suddenly the cat rouses itself and leaps onto the bed. In the same moment the sound is heard of a door opening, and a minute later a hand emerges through the bedroom door, holding a desert. It is followed by the body and face of a friend, and another friend, and another, smiling and warm. The girl laughs. They turn up the radio, and music fills the room.

    In the other picture, the girl is alone on the street. The day is ended and the sky is dark. Winter is coming on, but the young woman, unable to trade in her old thrift store sweaters for a proper coat, can do nothing to arm herself against the cold. And she must go to work. And she must go home from work. Home where there is silence and meager yellow lamplight and cold sheets, and sleep. Nothing else. She is carrying a grocery bag and a knapsack, and she trudges homeward, five blocks from the bus stop, bent over her burden to protect her face and heart from the wind. She is saying something to herself as she walks, a mantra of her centermost thought to keep her mind off of other things such as hope and debt:

    "I shall fall. I shall fall. I shall fall. I shall fall."

    Now she seems pitiful, but our heroine's life does not in fact fall to misfortune. The above scenes are given in reverse order. The gathering of friends is the later event.

    Inspired by the stories of Jorge Luis Borges.