The Absence of Thought by Kevin Aubry

It starts with the thoughts.

I have to stop them, with their taunting and their nagging and the fuel that they throw into the flames of my fury.


I can feel them. My emotions. I can see them in my mind. They are tangible.

First the rage.

The fire that is burning through my veins, making my blood boil and my head pound and my body shake with misguided passion.

It has to be extinguished before my thoughts can return.

I focus on the nothing and let the tension bleed from my body, like blood from a butchered pig.

I feel for the pig. I feel disembowled.

Next the confusion.

I can rid myself of it now, with the anger gone.

I refocus and look through the windshield at my wife from across the street.

She exits from our favorite dinner spot with another man, and she embraces him.

She's supposed to be at a work meeting.

A friend had tipped me off this morning. "I'm telling you," he'd said, "she's cheating on you."

Now I have proof.

And I can't stand by.

I exit the car and let my feet guide me. My eyes lock onto her.

She doesn't see me.

As I reach the middle if the road, she reaches into her jacket. Her hand comes out holding a business card.

I freeze in my tracks.

The man takes the card. They shake hands.

A car horn blares, and the driver yells a curse. I'm right in the middle of the lane.

Kate's voice rings out.

"James? What are you doing here?"

Now I feel for the deer that gets caught in the headlights.

"I, uh, just got off work. I thought I'd surprise you."

"Oh. And no flowers?"

I stare at her and sputter for words. She laughs.

"Honey, I'm kidding! To be honest, I'm just impressed that you remembered I was meeting with Mr. Anderson here tonight."

I do now.

“It’s nice to know that you really do listen sometimes,” she says with a smile.