Sunday, December 26, 2010


A great short-short story quoted by an English teacher from my old high school. Unfortunately the article is from a magazine that seems to only live in the physical world so I'll have to dust off my old footnoting skills.

"...[A] man recalled a night when he and his wife lay together in bed. He had been contemplating infidelity, and he admitted this to her. 'Don't you think,' he ventured, 'that infidelity is a human experience we shouldn't miss?'
 His wife was quiet beside him for a long time. He heard her breathe. He heard the cars pass on the street below, the noises of people going home for the night. Finally, she responded. 'But if you experience infidelity,' she said, 'you will never know monogamy.'
It was his turn to be quiet. He thought about what she had said, beyond the end of their conversation into the next days and weeks. Ultimately, he came to this: that while infidelity has a clearly demarcated beginning and end that render its experience knowable, monogamy - by nature of its open-endedness - remains perpetually a mystery. Two people in love who enter a monogamous relationship commit themselves to the process of their relationship rather than its destination. They commit themselves to work toward something forever unknowable, something known only when it no longer exists."*
This one stuck to my ribs.

* Lisa Baker, "On Monogamy, Mystery, and Teaching the Short-Short Story," Milton Magazine, Fall 2010, pg. 30.

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