**SHORT STORY EXCERPT – FICTION**
This is what she learned today:
Love is not a magical salve that heals a wound. It isn’t, and anyone who tells you it is? They’re a goddamn liar.
These little pockets of quiet were remarkably soothing yet dreadfully illuminating. She preferred life rushing by, to be honest, yet she craved the quiet and calm, and so it was this constant battle within her secretly self-described “dark and displeasingly deep” mind. I hate you, I love you. Slow down, speed up. Fuck me, get the fuck away from me. Frustration. Forever the frustration. The layers that could never peel down far enough to reveal the peace that she pretended was her finest quality.
But today, today the silence did not swallow her. It spoke to her.
Love is not the answer.
“But how can that be,” she questioned. She questioned it right out loud, asking herself, asking God, asking whomever was on the other side of the thin wall of her one room flat in the blindingly beautiful snowy city.
“How can that be?”
She was one to look for messages. A fortune cookie always held the key to life, until it was cracked and crumbling and the little piece of paper revealed a destiny clearly intended for someone else. She would open the New Testament and close her eyes as she placed her finger upon a verse that would surely light the way, but somehow the answer never quite fit the question. The Magic 8 Ball on her desk was clearly full of shit – or at the very least extremely and, of course, frustratingly evasive. “Reply hazy, ask again later.” Utter horseshit.
But today she sat in the quiet and watched the neighborhood dogs chase one another in the courtyard, and the snow stuck to her curly, unkempt hair until it was a wet, sloppy mess, and she heard it loud and clear for the first of many times that day: “Love is not the answer.” This message, this message she questioned, but in her heart she immediately and fiercely knew it was true.