The Secret by Michael Webb

“So, do you want to know my number?”

Her brown eyes flashed eagerly at me. Her bracelet shone in the dim light of the restaurant. I felt like she almost wanted to tell me. I hadn’t really thought about it, but now that she had asked me, I wanted to know. Some questions you knew could never be answered- what if Napoleon had won at Waterloo? But others you didn’t know could be asked, until they were. And once they were asked, the possibility existed they could be answered. I had told her my number. I thought about inflating the total before telling her, but I didn’t. My number seemed a little low. I didn’t expect her number to be zero- that seemed impossible. I didn’t know what number I wanted hers to be, either. Was 5 too many? 10? How many should she have? Would the thought of others who had come before make what we had different? Would knowing I wasn’t the only one imbue the act with some sense of corruption, some taint of ill repute? Would I compare? Wonder if I was better? Was there any difference between assuming the number wasn’t zero and knowing what the number was? It was stupid, but now that I knew I could know, I wanted to know.

“No,” I told her.

“Good,” she said. “I would have lied anyway.”


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Filed under Michael Webb

5 responses to “The Secret by Michael Webb

  1. The baggage of the past comes smack up against the curiosity of ego. Nicely done, Michael; I like the simplicity of the question and the thought process it creates.

  2. len kuntz

    took me a moment to get it. i thought we were talking about a phone number at first!
    “don’t ask, don’t tell” is my advice.

  3. Interesting and cool take on the theme. :)

  4. Lou

    Love this. Great tension.

  5. Pingback: Week #48 – Tainted love | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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