MEMOIRS OF A PAUSE • by Irena Pasvinter

I was prim and elegant when I emerged into this world. I lasted one tiny moment, as any decent pause should, and then it was my time to disappear, to give way to a word. I was prepared for my fate, even proud of it; I waited calmly for the word to come and wipe me out. Yes, I waited. But there was no word.

I stretched and stretched, I became appallingly long, I felt I could burst out at any time.

Where was this forthcoming word, for heaven’s sake? A well-behaved pause as I was, I knew I had to be silent, but I just could not bear this tension any longer. I yelled: “Hey, words, where are you?”

“Tut-tut,” the invisible words hissed at me in an angry whisper, so that only I could hear them. “What’s this racket? Don’t you know you are pregnant?”

“What?” I screamed.

“Just be quiet, you are a pregnant pause, you have to last to build up suspense. Behave, you will bear fruit eventually.”

These nasty words, they always had so much to say, but when you needed them most they would not come out. And now I had to bear fruit for them.

I swelled up enormously and then suddenly — bang! No, not just a bang, a big bang: I exploded into nothingness and the words leaped out of me into the universe, wiping out my trace.

It was a relief.

Strange, I thought I would feel nothing more after I did my job, and yet I still can wonder about my fate. I suppose it will not last forever, I am bound to evaporate completely, probably very soon. That’s why I decided to write down my life story. There are plenty of discarded words here, crawling around me, waiting to be used, so I borrowed some for this memoir. I am done, but there is one question I would love to know the answer to.

Does a tiny part of me still lives on in all these words that burst out of me? And when they disappear do they live on in the words that come next? What do you think?

Oh well, you are right, that’s two questions actually, but they are like one for me. It’s happening now, the evaporation, I am almost gone, I can hardly hear you now. What are you saying? Do you know the answer?

Irena Pasvinter earns a living by software engineering and happiness by writing poetry and fiction, which has appeared in different corners of the Internet and in “Poetry Quarterly”. Her kids make sure she has never a dull moment.

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