S E T H
W I N G E R
I finally read that book you gave me. The one you handed me that afternoon, in the park, the one I dropped and got dirt in the pages. I'm sorry I dropped it, that was a stupid thing to do, and I didn't mean to and I wish I could undo it but I can't. And I'm sorry I didn't read it sooner, I don't know why I didn't, I meant to, but you know, things got in the way, I was really busy at work, it's not an excuse, I know, but there it is. I meant to read the book sooner, I really did, so that we could talk about it, about the plot, the language, the metaphors—but now I can only talk about endings. I liked the ending by the way, of the book, that is, and I feel like you probably knew I would, that's why you gave it to me, because the writing was beautiful and the ending was happy or at least not sad and you knew I liked happy endings and you knew how if I could I'd make everyone live their lives backwards so that endings were beginnings and so that everyone's grandparents and their parents and their friends are all born into the world out of little pine boxes to tears of joy and grow younger and happier and healthier and there'd be no disease, only cures, and no death, only a last hello. There'd especially be no car accidents, only cars driving away from each other, big sheets of aluminum unfolding like backwards origami, airbags being sucked in, glass flying up from the ground into a mosaic and then fusing together again. But that's not in the book, I know, and I really came here to talk about the book, because you gave it to me and you obviously wanted me to read it and talk about it with you and instead I dropped it. I thought I'd have all the time in the world to read it, all the time in my life, in your life, in our lives, to read it, I thought I'd have time to put it aside and put it off, but I was wrong and I'm sorry. I've read the book now, I know I've said that, but I want to say it again, I've read the book now, and it was really good, really good, and I wish, well, I wish for a lot of things. I really liked the ending, by the way, did I say that? I really liked the ending, finally, like you knew I would, and now, more than anything, I just want you to say you liked the ending too, I want you to hear me say that I read that book you gave me, I want you to be happy, to smile, to share that book with me, to share something with me again, one more time, and I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry but I finally read that book you gave me.