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Oliver Benjamin                            
God accepts no tepidness. He exacts either silence or revolution.
As in spinning a thread we twist fibre on fibre. And
the strength of the thread does not reside in the fact
that some one fibre runs through its whole length,
but in the overlapping of many fibres. 
LUDWIG WITTGENSTEIN, Philosophical Investigations
1. No Man’s Land
From the moment she and Roy shared that kiss in the ocean, it
seemed that Sprout unfolded like a gardenia, spilling forth a heady
grace. No longer reserved and distant, she now dispensed her
affections to everyone as deliberately as she served the coffee. She
smiled profusely, listened religiously and bestowed sincere hugs
upon total strangers. Roy, astonished, found her increasingly
devastating, and although he interpreted her kiss as a mere impulse,
he was desperate that she should repeat it.
One lunch break, he invited her to eat with him in his adjacent
house. After the meal he fixed her a cup of tea and they sat on the
couch together flipping through his photo albums.
“What happened to these?” she said, pointing to the large
portraits of his mother and himself as a boy. His mother’s mouth
looked like someone had rubbed it off. His forehead did too.
“My mother died giving birth to me. My father missed her so
much he used to kiss her photograph all the time.”
“He kissed yours too.”
“He thought I was dead once too. I disappeared for some time.”
“It looks like she’s trying to tell you something,” she said,
pointing to the missing mouth.
“She’s trying to tell me there’s a hole in my head.”
“I think it looks like a third eye,” she smiled. “Do you miss her?”
She closed the album and looked into his actual eyes. They were
elegant, brown and perpetually mournful.
“My mother?” he said, “I never met her.”
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