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A Bowl of Words…fragment

“What would you do?” Laura asked Paul.
“Do? You mean if I wanted to kill myself?”
“Um-hmm.”
“I don’t know, Dr. Kevorkian, is this a multiple-choice question?”
“Yes, of course it is. But seriously, haven’t you ever thought about it? I mean not actually thinking that you would do it, but, you know, just thinking about it?”
“Yeah, I guess. But mostly when it’s in the news — Vince Foster or Kurt Cobain.” Paul was quiet for a moment, then said, “When I was a teenager I was pretty pissed off for a while and used to think that I would kill myself and really show my parents what small-minded tyrants they had been. It was always a gun — just a neat hole in the temple — and my father would barge into my room screaming at me for some petty infraction of the rules and there I’d be, on the bed, cold and dead. And he’d collapse and never be the same, and my mother would come in and cradle my lifeless body in her arms and finally have to be pried away. You know, teenage angst. It didn’t come to me in so many words, but even then I could see the difference between wanting to be dead and wanting revenge. I didn’t want to be dead; what I wanted was to put on this drama and watch it unfold and really bask in it and then jump up and say, ‘Just kidding!’ I wanted to hurt them.”
“What changed?” Laura asked.
“When I went to help my uncle rebuild after the tornado. Spent a couple of months swinging a hammer and after that I was different, and my parents seemed different too, though it’s hard to say who really changed. Took my mind off revenge, anyway…”

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A Bowl of Words…fragment

…Slowly, as Laura dressed and went downstairs, other names slipped into her awareness — Marilyn, Sylvia Plath — and then other deaths — needles and airplanes and car crashes that had preserved a famous face in perpetual youth — Janis, Jimmy Hendrix, Buddy Holly. That list was too long, she thought, and death was too big a word for one day.

“You look far away,” Paul said, finding her at the kitchen table with nothing but a cup of coffee in front of her. “What’s the word, mockingbird?”
Suicide,” she said.
“Ouch. Larry’s mom, in the bathtub, with a gun. Sounds like we’re playing Clue.”
“A gun?” she asked. “Guns aren’t typically the weapons of choice for women.”
“Yeah. I don’t know. It was a mess. Larry found her.”
“Oh,” Laura groaned. “Was she sick?”
“Yeah. No. I’m not sure. She had something. But after Larry’s brother died, she was never the same. She tried to put together some semblance of a normal life, but he was her baby and she never did come back all the way. Obviously.”
“Who else?” she asked.
“Isn’t this a fun breakfast conversation,” he said, used to the serious turn their days might take. “Would you like to ruminate on some granola?”
“Sure. Banana, no raisins.”
“Yogurt?”
“No thanks.”
“What would you do?” Laura asked Paul…

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beginnings…A Bowl of Words ~ 1

As she awoke, Laura checked to see whether Paul was still in bed, quickly surveyed her bladder, the weather and light outside the glass doors, and any sounds that might require her attention: barking, dripping, ringing, knocking. She did her leg lifts and stretches, then she rolled onto her right side and, from the small, hand-blown glass bowl on her nightstand, she withdrew a tiny slip of paper. Suicide, it said. The printed letters were just large enough that she could read them without her glasses…