A while ago, I decided to try writing an entire conversation without one quotation mark. Then I left the country and promptly forgot about it. Well, I remembered it early this week, and here’s what I came up with. It’s not technically a conversation, I guess, but I think it has some interesting undercurrents.
The woman picks up her mug from the windowsill and stares at the ring of pale coffee left behind until her eyes unfocus and slide past it to the tree outside. She doesn’t show any sign of awareness when the man comes into the room.
He stands behind her for a moment, then cups her elbows with his hands and leans over her shoulder. She turns her face away, so he presses his lips into her collarbone. The stand like this for a long time, until she shuts her eyes and sways backward. Her motion is barely perceptible, but he pulls her into him and kisses her cheek before leaving the room. The woman sets her mug down again, aligning the bottom in the exact center of the coffee ring.
The front door opens and closes softly. A minute later the car hums away down the street. The woman wraps her arms around her body and folds forward until her forehead is pressed against the glass, her lips stretched tight over her teeth. The surface of the coffee shimmers as tears fall into it.
There you have it. As usual, I’ve presented this little piece of writing to you in all it’s unedited glory, because after it gets edited, it might turn into something better. But I for one think it’s kind of fun to read rough work. It’s a bit like getting to watch Picasso making sketches, or Baryshnikov in the rehearsal studio. Know what I’m saying?