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Theoretical Debate

Theoretical Debate

Theoretical Debate

by Meg Pokrass

On the first day of our new life together, my husband realized that I was not interested in theoretical debate. He said it was okay by him and went out to get some pancake mix. I sat on the sofa, silently debating the idea of debating vs. not-debating. Even the dog didn’t feel a need to weigh in. I knew that he was used to British women with their stiff upper lips and their love of arguing.

I stuck to simple ideas: “How about those wild raspberries?” I said in July. “It never stays very warm in England,” I said in September. “I miss being understood,” I said in November. For over a year we had been together, and yet one could argue about it. Does marriage really bring people together? “I’m up for a theoretical debate,” I said in March, our first anniversary, making my upper lip stable. “What made you change your mind?” he asked. I couldn’t remember.

I went for a walk and thought about how to find someone who would be happy with me, and whether finding a well-matched partner was possible in this crazy world. I walked to the river and stared at the bubbles under which there were large, British trout. I could see they were in there somewhere, probably not avoiding confrontation. That night my husband said he felt sorry for me, I said I felt sorry for him too. His eyes were so blue they were swimming inside his head. I kissed him on his full-lipped mouth and we spent the rest of our anniversary making American pancakes, not talking about anything.

Meg Pokrass is the author of 8 flash fiction collections and 2 flash novellas. Her flash fiction is in the Wigleaf Top 50 2022 and forthcoming in The Best Small Fictions 2022. Her work has been anthologized in 3 Norton anthologies: Flash Fiction International (W.W. Norton, 2015), New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction (W.W. Norton, 2018), and Flash Fiction America (W. W. Norton & Co., 2023). She is the Series Co-Editor of Best Microfiction.

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