The Inscription

The actual inscription.

I purchased a book with an inscription in the front to the author’s wife. I wanted to write a short piece about the thoughts of the author upon writing.

The young man sat at his cluttered rolltop desk, once again dipping his quill into the inkwell and glaring down spitefully at the small book he has open in front of him.

This shouldn’t be this hard, really. He scolded himself, continuing to stare at the blank first page of the book he has been trying to inscribe for the last half-hour.

He began again. He had to think of the full inscription entirely before penning it of course, he only had one copy of the book in hand.

To Rachel. My darling Rachel. The love of my life.

No, ridiculous. He sounded like a lovesick tween.

To my wife. Mrs. Coxe. You are beautiful like a summer’s day.

He shook his head again, letting out an audible grunt. He found it humorous how hard it was for him to find the words to inscribe a book for his own wife. Rachel had been his love for ten years come this October. For her, he wanted it to be absolutely perfect.

Rachel Genevieve Coxe. She was named after her grandmother, and had given up her prestigious last name of Borghese to take the boring last name of a struggling poet. And this was it, he had finally made it, his first published book. He ran his thumb up the spine of the small red book. A silly thing, really, but this was his dream, and a dream she had shared with him.

Rachel. Beautiful like the moon, with her dark, flowing hair and blue eyes, she was much too lovely for him, with his silly red curls that flew every which way like a bird’s nest. The only sad thing was that her beauty was never able to be captured in a photograph. “Humans only photograph well when they’re dead, Cleveland.” She would always say with a laugh when they received their photograph back, once again she with her eyes closed or head blurred in distraction. He would remember her beauty and didn’t need photographs, and only prayed when the time came he would pass before her so he wouldn’t have to live one day without her.

The author smiled again, putting the pen down on the paper for just a moment and leaving a small ink blot as he brushed a stray orange curl away from his forehead. Noise from outside briefly heightened as he heard his two young sons under his window, chasing the chickens around the yard again.

Rachel, I love you. You are my light. My life. The air I breathe.

Too much? That’s too much.

He heard the front door creak open and through the crack in the door he saw his dark haired wife walking by. Rachel was wearing a simple dress and had some fresh dirt on her apron and in her dark hair, and carried a bushel full of fresh vegetables from their garden on her hip.

His heart was full as he saw her, and he dipped his quill one last time and simply wrote:

Mrs Cleveland Coxe, with the love of her faithful Cleveland, 1854.

There. Perfect. He pushed his chair out and made his way to the kitchen, gift in hand.

The book in which this inscription was written, Christian Ballads and Poems by Cleveland Coxe, 1853.

#shortstory #writing #thoughts

Published by Hannah Eileen

Jesus. Cats. Podcasts. An introvert full of strange thoughts and musings.

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