The top few pages lifted and dropped as the air, tossed by the fan, caressed them. She had to hold the right page down to read the words. When she had read the echoes of his thoughts, she sat back in the chair, the binder resting open on the table. She sat silently watching the right page, now free from her hold, once again rejoicing in the breeze. Two hundred and six pages to the left; maybe, an equal number to the right. The binder was large, old, and filled with his memories.
Each day she would reach for the binder on the uppermost shelf. Legs stretched like a ballerina, her arm barely reaching the top of the binder, she would pull the casement of thoughts by its spine backwards. The bookcase was filled, and the binder wedged snug. But she is relentless and thus rewarded by new pages each day.
Page one envisioned how he would move past the troubles now surrounding him. Page two spoke of his life in a new town. Each new day, new pages, opened to his mind, heart, and soul to her. Each day tore not just the binder’s spine, but her heart, as she met the man. Having read her pages, contemplated, she would replace the binder in the bookcase, turn off the fan, turn off the light, leave the room, but not his grip…not his hold on her. That night, like every night since finding the binder, she would think about him as sleep enveloped her.
The call came on a Wednesday; she remembers, as it was the first day it had rained in a week. The voice spoke of a house, surprisingly not far from where she now lived. In the house she would find a library filled with classics. So strange; “He?” she asked. “A man who wanted refuge from the world’s want.” Why would she be interested in a collection of ‘classics,’ when there were so many words written today that needed exploration. Nevertheless, she went. It was on the fourth visit that she noticed the binder; an item that seemed so out-of-place, so personalized within a sea of worldly literature.
Then on her seventeenth reading, the seventeenth time she had stretched to reach the binder, she saw the words that changed her life. “My daughter was born today, so far away, physically, and by her mother’s choice, mentally from my arms, but not my love.” She reread the date, her date. No coincidence, as he pronounced the exact place, the time, the non-incidental that the baby was named as she.
On the last visit she took the pages from the binder and fed them to the fireplace; they were now hers. Leaving the library for the last time, she carried a father’s love within. Closing the door, she smiled to the world.
The binder, spine now ripped almost off, lay open on the table; as if saying ‘I gave to her my thoughts now resting in her heart.’
(The Binder’s Call is a work of fiction copyright Steven S. Walsky, May 14, 2012, all rights reserved.)
The motivation behind this 500 word flash fiction was a May 14, 2012 contest on Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson’s blog to write a 50 word piece on “What Happened To This Binder?”; a pictured black-three ring binder, with one cover partially turn off. Typical Steve, wrote a few more than 50 words.