Saturday, April 28, 2007

Pursuit of Absence (Lindsay Klunk)

(Note: In Jennifer Semple Siegel's Introduction to Literature class, students are offered the option of writing a prequel or sequel of a poem, story, or play. Lindsay Klunk chose to write a prequel of Sylvia Plath's poem "Edge" as a stream-of-consciousness short short story.)

February 6th, 1963

My hands are tired from carrying out the tasks of yet another painstakingly long and meaningless day in this place that hardly deserves the name of home. A more suitable name might be “residence,” or “quarters." I stay under this roof, inside these four walls. I don’t live in this place. To say that I live would suggest that there is some life inside this shell of a body. There is no laughter or smiling faces in this place, at least not when I am present. It is late, but the night differs little from the day for me. My days blend together from the lack of sleep. My world is one of 24 hour periods of monotonous time followed by more 24 hour periods of monotonous time. This never changing process is too much to bear, mostly. The children sleep and I am torn. Shall I take them with me, or leave them behind? Surely no good mother would abandon her children. Would any good mother have kept them to suffer along side of her for as long as I have? Oh, the quandaries I face this night, and every night. For I have thought to go on with it every time the moon is full, or half, or absent, or anywhere in between. She is gone this night. Perhaps I will join her soon. And be absent. I do miss her lonely smile, her lonely eyes when she is not present. But she always returns, as do I. You see, on occasion I have gone beyond simply thinking of leaving. I have left. But something drags me back here, every time. The stillness of this night engulfs my body like an ocean. The darkness surrounds me as I drown in a sea of my own short comings. I have failed miserably at life, and I am unable to succeed, even in death. What a triumph it will be, what a glorious day when I take my final breath and God carries me home. Mother Earth will finally have had enough of me. She will breathe a sigh of relief to see me go on my way. This world will be at peace to be rid of me. And I will be at peace to be rid of her. She has shown me no hospitality. My heart aches at the thought of what could have been, things that should have been, but will never be. Guilt and regret claw and tear and rip at the very core of my being. My soul is weary, exhausted from the battle within. Will my soul sleep? Or will it be awakened with a new life, with new opportunities in a new place? One can only hope. Would an eternity of rest be so terrible? My thirty-one years have left me with little more than enough energy to pry my eyelids open when the alarm sounds at seven with that persistent and undying burst of ungodly noise. An eternity of rest might be refreshing. The children stir. What is left of my cold heart seems to be fighting its way towards the back of my throat. I have got to face it. I simply must take them with me if they wake. It will be my sign from God himself. He will make the decision. It is in His hands now.
Author's note

I attempted to take on the persona of the woman from the poem, while keeping Plath’s voice. I wrote this piece as a diary entry, which is why I chose not to separate it into paragraphs. It is more of a stream of consciousness piece, from the point of view of someone about to commit suicide. I intentionally jumped from one thought to another in an attempt to recreate the irrational thought process of someone who is so out of touch with logical thought. I realize that I took a risk in writing this way.
LIT160 Introduction to Literature, Spring 2007
Published with persmission

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