The Core Question by Susan Gibb

She lived her life concerned about the inside of people, the inside of herself. She’d forget what you looked like, never notice a new haircut, new color, a shaved mustache or beard. She wouldn’t know if you wore the same thing every day. I once wore big dark-rimmed glasses just to see what she’d say and it flew by her attention as if I’d been born with them on. . . and she’s known me since just about then; best friends kindergarten through college.

If she asked you a question she’d present it carefully, each word picked like the best blooms for a bridal bouquet. Then she’d wait, stare at you with an intensity meant to make you realize the importance of your answer but instead only made you feel pressured, flustered, and if you did not know her well, probably annoyed.

“What did we learn?” she asked me three hours before graduation ceremonies would begin. “What, if it comes down to a sentence, was the most important knowledge we’ve gained?”

“Not to mix wine and beer?” I said. I hoped that maybe on this one day at least she would relax, enjoy, go with the flow of the crowd. Believe me, nobody else would be pondering beyond missing their friends, gaining their freedom, their summer trips to Europe or at the very least, Belize.

“No,” she said. “We’ve learned that we are a core, with apple growing around it.”

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “The Core Question by Susan Gibb

  1. Such a strangely wonderful story!

  2. Oh Susan, I love this story. Sadly, I think there are too many traces of me in your main character here. Yes, I would be the one asking the ‘what did we learn’ question. This is a sad mirror. Hmmm … still, I laughed out loud at ‘Belize’, that heavenly hot spot every alternative is heading for! What a great portrait of friends though – really great, I just love it. You can see them in their black gowns and brown pantihose.

  3. Melissa

    I like this: “I once wore big dark-rimmed glasses just to see what she’d say and it flew by her attention as if I’d been born with them on. . .”

    This story has some great lines: “…each word picked like the best blooms for a bridal bouquet.”

    and the ending, especially: “We’ve learned that we are a core, with apple growing around it.”

    And the SHE’s personality is described so well, I feel like I know her.

  4. Maude Larke

    Susan, such minor-key suspense! We get right to the end to find “it”. Glad it’s there!

  5. Deborah A. Upton

    So perceptive!

  6. I think I see a bit of myself in your friend. So intense. Wonderfully perceptive story, and yes — what have we learned? Peace…

  7. It’s funny, but I’ve never felt like an apple… :)

    Nicely written story!

  8. Alexandra Pereira

    Yrs, nicely written story. Enjoyed it. :-)

  9. Alexandra Pereira

    Ops.. Yes, not Yrs :-)

  10. Pingback: Week #43 – To the core | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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