Love Story 918

“Every love story is a ghost story.” —David Foster Wallace

(est. reading time, 91.8 seconds.)

*Since that day, his birthday, Phaelix' visions* of Eva never returned. If they ever did, he would again escape into another century's worth of Grecian coinage. Today's selections? Archaic period, uninscribed electrum coins from 6th Century Lydia—lions' heads and sunbursts stamped upon plain square, or standardized weight staters of Aegina silver, 550-530 BC. On their backs? Sea turtles with large, raised pellets down the centers of their shells, reverse, incuse squares, octisected into equal sections. (After the end of the Peloponnesian War, circa 404 BC, the sea turtles were replaced by land tortoises, fascinating stuff to the numismatic Phaelix once once, but none of it really mattered anymore.)

Phaelix depressed deep into his chair and rubbed his eyes moist. That morning's endodontic therapy, a “root canal” to most, though brutal, seemed to be paying off. The pain had subsided, but he felt no pleasure, just some neutralizing hoary feeling of finally living pain free. His eyes hovered to the Chinese-built, AA-driven 99-cent store bought clock he had hung on a nail at a sharp angle above his desk (just so he could enjoy the slow drama of the eventual inaccuracy as the batteries wore out). The clock was like the face of an insect, second hand twitching like an antenna, minute hand lifting and falling like one of six otherwise invisible legs, the hour hand offering no opinion on how long the day, maybe like the thorax of an insect (?). Metaphors aside, the time fixed on the face of the clock was, gasp, 9:18.

Phaelix never failed to turn into a weirdo when coincidence struck. The number of the hour and the minute—9, 18, two multiples of 3, 3 and 6—depicted by the dying clock's hands, from Phaelix' already weirded-out perspective as indicated by the number of the last page he had noted (Pg. 918) in his numismatics book, which he also noted was the exact time Eva's email l was sent, which was also the same number of days her email took to reach him, which was also the precise time Eva died, though in the evening. Today, Phaelix declared, would become 918 Day, in Eva's honor.

In that moment of stagnant time, a thousand things on his mind pushed away any thoughts of that now departed human being—his last vision of her too significant to become simply a memory, but not significant enough to become a ghost, still unsure if it was love at all, or just the result of that morning's pain.

Coil members, the denouement:

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