Hooked

She pressed her lips around the rim of his favorite cup. Her lipstick made the faintest imprint and she smiled knowing he’d know she’d been there. She left as quietly as she came, the cup the only indication she’d ever come around.

After a 12-hour shift at the mill, all he ever wanted to do was grab a cold beer, fill up his favorite glass, then throw on SportsCenter until he’d seen all the highlights at least twice. In reality, he didn’t even like sports that much; not at all, really. But they served a purpose. Sports highlights were to his emotions what Novocain was to his teeth… numbing.

Everything else made him think of her, even something as innocuous as his keys. It was impossible for him to twist his wrist to start the engine without imagining her sitting in the exact spot doing the exact same thing all those times before.

But today was different. Today he didn’t feel like watching sports, or drinking beer, or thinking about keys. Today he felt like reading.

He picked up the copy of Moby Dick she’d bought him after their first date. She said his intensity reminded her of Ahab. Rather than read the book at the time, he took her word for it.

But now she was gone, and he needed to know what she’d meant.

His mind wandered as he trudged through each chapter. He still saw her everywhere. The scribbles on the whiteboard that he couldn’t bring himself to erase. If he squinted long enough, he could even make out the words, “I love you.” In each sunset he saw her strawberry blonde hair. And on his favorite glass, an imprint of her lips that never came off, no matter how many times he washed it.

She was all he ever thought about, his Moby Dick.

As he finished the book, he fell into a deep sadness. He knew all to well Ahab’s singular obsession. He just wished he could have died along with his fish.

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