The Romance of Sadness
    Francine Witte
One day, she fell in love with the sadness.  Unlike the man who had given it to her, the sadness would stay with her long into the night and never leave.  If the sadness did leave, there would be more sadness.  And that was good.

Soon, she found herself unwilling to leave the house without it.  Wait, she would say to her friends, I need extra time to put on my sadness. At restaurants, she would give the sadness its own chair.

It all worked out quite well.  The sadness dulled her eyes and matted her hair.  It took up so much of her time that she forget to pay her bills and soon, her phone was shut off.  At the office, she became impossible to watch.

After a while, she started to type at home for strangers.  A neighbor hired her for a long, weepy novel and offered to pay her quite well.  She refused to accept anything above the cost of her meager needs fearing that abundance might bring her happiness.  And, anyway, by now, she had learned to do with so much less.

One day, the woman went to the mailbox and there was a letter from the man. He wanted to come back to her and un-give the sadness.  She looked up and noticed the sun for the first time since the man left.  She felt hope begin to fill her with its fat, kicky feet.  She was aware of the feet because hope had run from her so many times.  She looked again at the sun and tore the letter into bits.

Later that night, in bed, she curled herself into a tight, little comma. She remembered as many things as she needed to until a sweet, salty tear rolled down to her thirsty tongue.

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