“Maera, every emotion has meaning because you attach emotions to it, yes?”
“Yes, Maera. Correct.”
“So there is no universally true meaning of jealousy, love, friendship, then?”
“No, I don’t think so. People may feel or experience those things differently.”
“How did you know that you loved then? How do you know it really was love”
“Back in the days, when people used to tell me when I wasn’t actually in love… you remember, Maera? Geena, Shomaila, Davey… they all said it wasn’t love. Do you recall?”
“Yeah, yeah. They used to guffaw about how you thought it was love.”
“Well… I learned to love. Sometimes, a few things made it easier and sometimes, I had to work hard. But I knew it was a good deal.”
“A good deal? A good DEAL? *A* good deal? A *good* deal? Maera? What the hell?”
“Yeah, yeah. I know. It is, isn’t it?”
“NO! I mean YES! I mean… argh! No… you see it as a deal? Is that what it is?”
“Sure. He fit the bill and he wasn’t perfect and if I would have waited, better men might have come along but there’s always a limit on the waiting and there’s always a limit on the compromise, so there you are…”
I’ll cut the fingers that point at me. I’ll cut them all. I’m Maera. I’m me. You can’t tell me that I haven’t loved. You don’t know. You don’t know anything. Have you ever been the memory of someone else? Have you been their skin? Have you known what it’s like to be a specter and walk among multitudes of deaf people… screaming… because you just wanted to scream until someone heard… even though you knew it was stupid to hope for it? And do you know the feeling when someone hears?
I swear. I’ll cut those fingers off. Stop pointing!
Well, I warned you.
So Maera picked up a large pair of scissors, the one that the strange man across the street used for snipping off the ends of metal sheets, and one by one, she cut their fingers off. She cut them and then threw them out into nothingness.
They were all screaming because the blood gushed out of the ends of the joints on their hands. They couldn’t hear each other. They were all deaf.
Then Maera and Maera, smiled at each other. Orion shined brightly at them, as though he approved. Then they embraced each other and went back to bed.