Mark Kerstetter: Frank Kaufman’s White Suit

 

Frank Kaufman’s White Suit

Frank Kaufman carried his white suit up the stairs. He carried his white suit, in the usual manner, all the way up the stairs. Twelve floors done, and on, for there had to be more, or another, for the stairs continued on, above, ongoing above, and so he would go on, as long as it took, to meet Mr. Black, or Mrs. Black, as the case may be. He had had his fill of apes, dogs and even bouncing balls. He was done with bugs, moles and other burrowing creatures, done with second-hand reports, nominal judgments and rumors of love, finished with committees, conglomerates and crowds. Carriages and clams held no further attraction for him, only pure white stairs into baby blue. For here on out only one would do, the figure of Black, whether Mr. or Mrs., appearing like a silhouette cutout, living shadow or bleeding ink, drawing its singular presence for an audience of one: Frank Kaufman, white-suited suitor, marching on. And when Black appeared Kaufman would know him or her as the only possible answer to white on white. Black’s speech would be total, his answer definitive, an eclipse. Frank, at last, would no longer have to speak, no longer spin out from his own center like a revolving top adrift in space. It would no longer be necessary to even move. Nothing could be more full than an answer. But I did not ask for this bed, thought Frank. I did not ask to lie down. Let me up! Red curtains rolled up the whites of Frank’s eyes, as he fell down.

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Mark Kerstetter

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