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Carol sobbed. I laughed secretly. Her tears were sincere, as they would have been at the very end, had the idea of hanging herself for profit ever occurred to her. Right when reality surfaced. Right before her last sweet breath.

She would say that the boundaries of her heart were too immense in scope, or her sensitivities delicately superconductive, or some other noble delusion. I would renounce my internal suspicions, intoxicated by her supple wet cheeks and quivering, desperate eyes. She would say I’d hurt her. I would concede imperfection, and into her catalog of colossal infractions another entry etched. She would fawn and wax about cascading love and the binding energy between us. I believed she believed it, and her words meant home. Most of all, if she smelled the faintest of doubts she would scream and pitch cups and then hurl herself into a heaving mess on the floor. I would pick her up and wrap her in a blanket of flattery and promises.

While she was busy perfecting this behavior, I read books about exorcism. They come in several genres, but unfortunately it seems all are fiction. Today I had to work late and forgot her cigarettes. She asked for them as I crossed the threshold into the kitchen. Then she read some catalog entries and I learned about the inadequacy of my love.

“The jig is up,” I said. Carol sobbed. I laughed secretly.

Author’s note: I hesitated to post this for several reasons, chief among them being a self-conscious insecurity coupled with the knowledge that people aren’t expecting a weird piece of micro-fiction to show up on this page. But if I had an adult son, I’d want him to know what it feels like when he finally decides that the jig is up.

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