Author’s note: In order to maintain a consistent publishing schedule, The Ophelia Review will begin publishing short fiction in parts. This is the first part of the story “Evangeline Temple”.
Evangeline Temple, it should be made patently clear, was Wonderful. This fact was not always obvious to the casual observer—and what wisdom or beauty ever is?—not because of any shallowness of perception on the part of other people, but because Evangeline often did herself a disservice by being Terrible.
Evangeline Temple was a person, which was too bad. She was unfortunately burdened with all the gawk and ungain of personhood, and had been for most of her life. For example, she was the owner of ten fingernails. Such truths verge on tactless.
Beyond the base physicality of being, she was afflicted with all the other Conditions (though not all at the same time) of ennui, love, and foot in mouth. This is the dreadful trouble of humans. If a disease puts a person at not-their-best and if a person is continuously diseased with being, then how much better could they be?
Something important to note is that Evangeline Temple was a genius. This is a conclusion she had to come to on her own. She had never been told that she was a genius. That didn’t matter. Evangeline had always been aware of her own brilliance.
She was also going to live forever. This is self evidentiary.
Accounting for the length of eternal life, Evangeline met Howard Jones shortly after her birth. I’m Howard, he had told her as they stood next to each other in line at the Giant Eagle. That’s okay, thanks, she had replied.
Howard Jones, for his part, was notable for being small. He was the uneasy sort of person who has never left a single footprint. This was not his fault, any more than his red hair or his gluey teeth or the littlish score he got on his junior year standardized science test. He was just finite, and that was all.
People who are infinite and people who are finite—and it bears mentioning that those two groups do not make up the whole of people—do not come into contact with each other very often. There are only a few places, like country clubs and the Times Square Swatch store, where the infinite and the finite can mingle freely. The Giant Eagle self-checkout was one such place.
You should go first, Evangeline told Howard, who had nothing in his cart but two V-8 cartons. No, no, Howard replied.