Greg Mulcahy

A man and a woman sit on wooden straight chairs in a dark room.

Woman: For some years then -- we were young -- that's when you might do that kind of thing, when that kind of thing makes sense to yourself, it does then, in those moments, though later it seems not to make sense anymore or to never have made sense at any time, but you know, even if you can not realize or remember it, it made sense and seemed more than sensible -- natural -- or more than that -- desirable -- as though it was the most desirable thing in the world, and not only for yourself, it was not only for me, but for him too, as desirable as anything could be it seemed to us at that time.

Man: Maybe it is the same thing -- I'd get this -- these things -- things would get to me and they'd get at me -- get into me, it seemed, seemed like it almost controlled me, like these things would be in control of me, but that's not really it, they did not control me, but they got to me, obsessed me, it wasn't that they made me do anything, it was that I could not let them go, and that doesn't happen now, and now I don't know how it happened or why it happened, and I know how it felt, not how it felt day to day or how I felt, but it's clear to me what it was in the emotional sense as though I understand the emotional outlines of it or the parameters of it.

Woman: I would not say that.

Man: I thought that was what you said.

Woman: No.

Man: All right.

Woman: No. I've lost something or something that was there isn't -- lost isn't the right word. Something is gone that was not there.

Man: That's what I'm saying.

Woman: I don't think it is.

Man: No?

Woman: When you talk about frameworks or parameters or emotional memory, I don't know what you mean.

Man: Oh.

Woman: Do you understand what I'm talking about?

Man: I'm not sure.

Woman: All right. That's enough.

Man: Enough.

Woman: Here. Listen. For a time, months, a year, two years, maybe, certainly not as many as three, we dressed alike, identically. We dyed our hair the same color, and we got it cut in the same style. You could do that then. The boy could have a style and the girl could have the same style. That is how it was then. And the clothes we'd wear, for example, white shirts and black suits and oxfords. If we weren't together, no one would notice anything. We looked like anyone else. Separate. Separately. Do you see, now? Now do you see?

Man: That wasn't what I meant. Nothing was like that for me. I carried a short-barreled .410 in my car. Nothing wrong with that. But why a .410 when I had a perfectly good 12 gauge at home. And why short-barreled? Even that is, of course, fully explicable, obvious on its face. The ammunition, that was it. Three inch shells with twelve and a half size shot. Dust. That's what they call it. Dust shot. Clearly someone with all this was planning something, or, if not planning, has something in mind. Some scenario, maybe, that he has imagined, and as imaginary as that scenario was, he could not let go of it and could not even not fail to prepare for it, to anticipate it as though it were real or it would somehow some day become real. I say some day because there was a considerable duration. You said three years. No more than three years, you said. Would you believe eight years? Nine? Ten? Of course whatever I was waiting for -- whatever I had prepared for -- never occurred. And there was something else, something I found more unsettling than the rest of it all, and that was that at the end, I did not know why I was doing it anymore. It was habit. Habit all it had become, and then a habit easily broken.

Woman: And so you asked me here. To tell me this? While we sit in the dark?

Man: I thought we could talk. I thought you could talk to me and I could talk to you. You know -- that we would talk -- talk about these things -- and come to a resolution.

Woman: I don't believe what you're telling me.

Man: It's true.

Woman: I'm not saying that. It's not that I don't believe it happened. I don't doubt that it happened. I don't believe there's any analogy between it and what I've told you. The two have nothing in common.

Man: Does that preclude what I've asked you? Maybe if we talk, you'll see some similarities. If we could have some kind of dialogue --

Woman: Dialogue? We can't have a dialogue. Who even uses that word? It's dead.

Man: I meant I was thinking we might reconcile.

Woman: Reconcile what?

Man: This to that or that to this.

Woman: There's nothing left.

Man: Nothing.

Woman: Nothing.