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Note to Self
a story by Kari Murphy

Cursed page: white and neat, crisp, blank, correct in its angles, lines, corners. Now in march the letters, the black lines like so many dreams of loose eyebrows, eyelashes, stitches, black bobby pins - gross grotesque marks filling up a page.

I had premonitions about your dying. Many times, dreams with a box, a container. Crying and crying and waking up, convulsing and being surprised at the lack of real tears. There was a handful of dreams. I can say this. A handful, a measure. A container, a logic.

When you say and tell me, and Mom's home midweek, and there's that tone (your logic perhaps matter-of-fact), it's as though you take a step backward, and I'm straining to hear - it's muffled - there's cotton engulfing us, there's bedding. I can't understand; come closer. Be clear; stop shaking. Be well; straighten your back. Blink; open your face, hand it to me. Breathe.

I want this to stop happening. I want to stop feeling foolish at our previous fortune, like we squandered time when we were all perfectly healthy. Now what? No one's going to live through this as we know life - as we've loved it - as we didn't love it enough.

I feel foolish to want and humbled to be demanding. Shy. I only want to set things right.

How do I mean?

- tell Jill how I feel off the hook knowing she's leaving as if my will - demonstrated - can be packed up, closed. Stored.

"Note to Self" Copyright ©2000 by Kari Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
No part of this story may be used or reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without the written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations for the purposes of critical reviews or articles. Members of the educational community who wish to print or photocopy in part or whole this story for classroom use, or publishers who wish to include this story in an anthology, should send inquiries by email to the author. Inquiries by mail may be sent to: Kari Murphy, c/o, Columbia U. Station, P.O. Box 250626, New York, NY 10025.
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