prompt: salt, title: unacceptable losses in misc. flash fiction

  • May 3, 2021, 5:22 p.m.
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Lot’s wife had a name, just like anyone else, any god or person through the ages, it’s just that the people who wrote it down didn’t think it mattered. Didn’t think she mattered. Too for Job’s wife and all of their children together, every one of them had names, even if those names were lost to history. They were people, if they actually lived, if they really existed, and everyone who lives deserves a name. Our value is not in the roles the scribes associate with us, for their own reasons arcane, our value is that we’re people. Every human being worth the exact same, no matter what title or property we have attained, no matter the utilities politically-constructed narratives attach to our appellations. We are the none of us simply history or divinity’s collateral damage.

When I was young and angry, I blamed God for this. For discarding the women and the children and the working men and slaves as tokens to motivate Great Men. Isaac bound and held to knife just to see if Abraham would consider his child disposable in the face of the terrifying Almighty.

But I am older now and have lived enough of a life to realize that anger is an illusion, anger is a mere ploy, all of it just a lie we tell ourselves because we fear our sadness proves us weak. I’ve ceded the vanity of rage to deal for a more honest struggle with sorrows for all things that must pass away. There are those who say a liberal’s just a conservative who hasn’t been mugged yet while I’ve come to see the human race as a mass of people in prismatic spectra of differing pain, some so blinded by their suffering that they think the only thing they can care about is their own defense from even more. Everyone just one small realization away from deciding no one should ever hurt like they’ve been hurt, one moment of empathy away from becoming bleeding hearts.

And I’ve come instead to blame not divinity, rather those humans cynical enough to think they can bend the lens of holy legend to promote their petty goals. Lot’s wife not as some nameless sinner disregarding God but as a person with a name, let’s call her Edith, who so loved what the tragedy took away, that even divine intervention could not stop her heart from looking back and withering away into brittle salt, the only thing that’s left when even tears themselves evaporate.

Edith as a metaphor for an inability to fully reconcile with loss and she’s not God damned, rather she’s goddamned beautiful, transfigured into the residue love lost leaves behind. Divinity speaks to us in metaphor, simile, analogy to broadcast in story truths our simple conscious minds cannot fully grasp. Meanwhile, scheming men of power take away our meanings and our names to turn the holy into ads. Their cynicism doesn’t make me angry but it sure does make me goddamn sad.

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