Dissertation

The papers scattered with every passing car. They permeated the intersection of the busy street with the capricious drivers barely taking a moment to glance at them.
Her work was gone, just like that. He wouldn’t turn back and let her gather up the months of research. It would be difficult in the traffic anyway. So they fluttered aimlessly in her visor mirror, carelessly dancing with the truck and car tires going about their business.
She knew she had a decision to make.
The content of the now useless dissertation was irrelevant, except to her and others in her field of psychology. It could have been a turning point for her, although a lot of her ideas were saved on her laptop. The facts and figures were all there, but the humanity she connected to them were gone except in her memory. There was no way she would be able to duplicate the painstaking thought and care she had put into her thesis. Intricate notes and sources would have to be replaced by her best guess, all because he didn’t want to share their weekend with the few hours she needed to perfect it.
His rage was tangible in the car moments before it all happened. She had felt the anxiety building to the moment, but skirted around the confrontation that she wasn’t comfortable dealing with in his sedan going 35 miles per hour. There was no warning to his action except the words, “You’re going to have to choose. Me or your work.” When she sat there, dumbfounded by his ultimatum, he chose for her by rolling down the window in the 100 degree heat, snatching the manila folder from her lap, and casually tossing it out. That was it.
Now, no one would know why it was important for her to publish her findings, especially him. She would never give him the satisfaction of knowing that in a minute of anger and rage, he proved her thesis right.
She left the memory of the stapled and organized mess dancing in the prairie wind behind her as they drove home in the silent and cold car. She looked out her window and secretly smiled at the thought that she now had plenty of new material to study.

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