American Values

6 05 2006

The Westwood Proposal

He saw shadows in the car mirror, passing back and forth steadily growing closer to him. Leaving his house from time to time, he loved time alone. Probably simply a psychological disorder or some weariness induced these spirits in the mirror. Why he was watching them did not matter, only his concentrated attempts to recognize their faces filled every dark corner of his mind. These entities, shapes beautifully gliding and fluttering, drew closer – in truth even closer than it appeared. He remembered earlier that night. A girl washed into his memory, consuming the dark corners first and moving slowly towards the center of his focus. Her radiance drew back the shadows from his mind, while a different darkness began to compete with the girl.

Her name was Emma, a coworker of his, young and vivacious. They had been having on and off dates between business trips for a few months now. He always clamored for more; she was focused intently on the Westwood Proposal, the “largest sale” her marketing degree would ever land. Nothing satisfied him except her tenuous presence. Behind the scenes, he closed the deal, taking the investors to dinner, correcting every single mistake she made. Every day was not enough. The shadows were approaching.

In the mirror he recollected the first time they met. No, the first time they had kissed. It was so memorable because it was so pedestrian and trite. He laughed out loud at the memory. They had gone out to a dinner, and like every American teenager, they had kissed once or twice on the way to dropping her off. They were in their mid-twenties. The memory of the girl grew dimmer and the shadows grew stronger. He saw the shadows come out of the glassy pool of his unconscious. They drew out struggling to support themselves.

Again his eyes were rapt with focus, nothing could shake him; it was as if he knew what was about to happen. The girl competed silently, while he watched the shadows draw closer and closer in the mirror. He felt the aging leather seat below him creak, and he grinned to see the shadows begin to bite, tear, eat, kill, and destroy the girl. Piece by piece he watched life become flesh. He instantly recognized the faces as his. Each face was his from a different age; six, twelve, twenty-seven, and ninety-six year old embodiments of him utterly erased her. Every single edition of that one man was needed to destroy the one image of that one girl.

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