She was more than irritated. Pissed, really, as she thumbed through the dictionary in search of the word. Any word that needed to be looked up didn’t belong in a “Dear Jane” letter anyway–as though to the very end he was trying to demonstrate his superiority—her inferiority.
Fuck! She slammed the dictionary to the floor, picked up the half-smoked cigar he’d left in the ashtray, relit it, took a drag and surveyed the new paper cut on her index finger. Just one more of his shenanigans, she thought. Right after he’d cold-cocked her with the news that he and she were finished—that he was leaving her FOR HER MOTHER!!!!!!, he’d lit up his Cubano for one more puff before grinding it out and handing her this letter, telling her not to open it until he’d gone.
His finish had been pretty much like their beginning—with him ending up on the floor. But this time she was standing over him rather than lying in a frail heap below him. Idly, she flicked an ash into his open mouth, hitting him squarely on his tongue. The sun-dried blood on his lip looked like the smudge of a lover’s lipstick. Around his head were the remains of the crystal candlestick her mother had given them for their wedding. She darted her tongue out to nurse first the paper cut, then the gash across her palm that she had gotten from a shard of the candlestick that had taken a far smaller part out of her than it had out of him.
Far away in the kitchen, the phone rang and rang. Probably her mother. Well, let her get her knickers in a bunch waiting for him. Let her think (for as long as she could put off coming to investigate) that her daughter had reclaimed her property. She was in possession for now and everyone knew possession was 9/10ths of the law. She took another long draw before examining her wounds again.
Then, her curiosity getting the better of her, she moved back to the dictionary to thumb through the e’s. When she’d found the word, “eschatology,” she chuckled and looked back at her lost love. In the letter he had meant for her to read after he had left, he had revealed that their night class in eschatology had led her mother and him to the decision that they must abandon their present lives to join an ashram in India and examine their final destinies. Ironically, she had found that answer for him, at least. She looked up one of the other big words he had used in her “Dear Jane” letter. “Heuristic: a practical method for solving a problem that is not optimal or perfect but sufficient for the immediate goals.” He had hit the nail on the head with that one. It was definitely a word that applied to her present situation, if no longer to his!
This is a rewrite of an essay from three years ago that I had totally forgotten. I’ve altered it to meet today’s three prompt words. A heuristic solution, no?