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When I heard that they were demolishing the Wellesley Arms, I ran a good half-mile to witness its destruction. Behind the yellow tape, Bea and John were already standing as close as the police would let them. They both looked older than when I'd left nine months ago. They stood a few inches apart, their hands hanging limply like they wanted to intertwine.

I stepped quietly behind them. Only a handful of people were here today; the city's normal traffic buzzed along obliviously behind us. When the two glanced at each other, I took the opportunity to cough and draw their attention. "You know, you can almost see the outline that the couch left." John kept staring at the building, apparently finding my voice familiar enough not to turn around. Bea gave a half-smile and caught my eye over her shoulder.

We'd spent our first year out of college here, christening our three-room the "poet's colony", surviving bohemially on our residual part-time income; eating slightly time-expired food and putting minor works of art on every surface we could drive a nail into. When we left, there were just dents in the plaster, which the landlord undoubtedly filled in with Spackle the moment we stepped out the door. A life of writing wasn't quite full enough for any of us, although it took all of us awhile to figure it out. When my and Bea's relationship turned into a series of angst works posted one over the other on the east wall, everything else, in accord, crumbled down around it. John got sick of being a "third wheel" and upgraded his current fling to live-in status. I lost my job. Bea moved out and nobody heard from her for two months.

John found her working full-time at a coffeehouse in the North End, coming up with watercolor paintings for the walls, mixing cream and sugar, and loathing herself quietly. After that, we all went our separate ways in a more civil fashion: John had begun a belated internship at a law firm; I went into advertising; Bea stubbornly quit serving caffeine after two months and moved across town, joining a typing pool or some such drudgery.

Since then, I'd given up prose in favor of Angela, a pretty girl who worked downtown and grew perfect window-ledge gardens. They were microcosms of her world, which was calm, controlled, and attractive instead of beautiful. Her apartment (our apartment, by this time) always smelled a lot like pine cones. She said it reminded her of home.

Angela didn't have the fire.

Over our time together, I'd stopped writing -- it made her jealous and I hardly had the time. Work begat more work, and the search for rest and time alone became the new focus of my life. I cherished our moments apart, when I could admire the city from the roof, scribble down a poem or run through the streets, eat a pizza and just laugh at the absurdity of it all.

I think that Bea knew what had happened before the rest of us did. She work the same look on her face as I did, the expression that said she was searching for something that we'd both willingly given up, and could probably never recover. We'd grudgingly backed away from a life that frightened and fulfilled us and moved into one that was comfortable and familiar, and altogether too easy.

The countdown blared, and the Wellesley Arms collapsed in on itself. Somewhere else, Angela smiled and didn't know why. The glow in Bea's eyes went out. It was right then that I admitted to myself that I couldn't live with the vines and billboards and sex and society anymore; I just needed to get to where I could feel the fire again, a place where I wasn't sure I could ever find my way back to, where the world would return to its imperfect self.

Im*plo"sion (?), n. [Formed by substitution of pref. im- in for pref. ex- in explosion.]


A bursting inwards, as of a vessel from which the air has been exhausted; -- contrasted with explosion.

2. Phon.

A sudden compression of the air in the mouth, simultaneously with and affecting the sound made by the closure of the organs in uttering p, t, or k, at the end of a syllable (see Guide to Pronunciation, §§159, 189); also, a similar compression made by an upward thrust of the larynx without any accompanying explosive action, as in the peculiar sound of b, d, and g, heard in Southern Germany.

H. Sweet.


© Webster 1913.

[Editor's Note (Gz), 12/23/2002: corrected apparent scan error (although it's fun to think that "burstion" is a real word)]

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