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"On the Brink" by Salvatore Buttaci


Introduction We’ve all had run-ins with friends. Disagreements and hurt feelings that we swallow to keep the relationship alive, feeble though it may feel. What kind of damage does it do to us? And how do we deal with it? Friendships are based on communication and that’s what “On the Brink” by Salvatore Buttaci explores. The sly undertones here question differences of such expressions: letters, telephone calls, face-to-faces. The medium suggests a solution.
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—Lyle Rosdahl

“On the Brink” by Salvatore Buttaci I saved myself a world of grief. Maybe my guardian angel whispered in my ear and instead of my usual response of shoving a pinky into my ear and shaking it clear, I listened to what he had to say. “Grudges are not worth losing your soul over.” In front of me sat a letter, unsealed so far. A letter so ponderous with expletives, bursting with words punishing enough to break the spirit of saints, that it frightened even me, the wielder of the pen, the sword, the torch that would burn down a friendship that had flourished for more years than I could remember. I weighed the matter like a man tottering on the brink of a mountain ledge. A band of spear-bearing natives are fast approaching. Over the edge, so many feet down is the river. Should he leap? Should he attempt to reason with the bloodthirsty? In Column A I wrote the two reasons for my anger. (1) Ted had made an absolute idiot of me in the company of friends, who, I will add, laughed uproariously at my expense; and (2) He never had the decency to apologize. In fact, he tried that same thing again a week later, except this time I walked away. It was over. He’s no friend. Who needs him? In Column B I jotted down all the reasons Ted was my friend, and when I reached the bottom of the sheet, I turned it over and continued naming all those times he was there when I needed a friend, someone to talk to, someone to help me out of a jam. Yet I wrote the letter anyway with intentions of dropping it in the mailbox for Ted to receive and read and then kick himself in the ass for being so thoughtlessly foolish to risk a lifetime friendship, all for a few laughs. “Heaven’s forever,” said my sidekick angel. “Forgive and forget. Tear up the letter.” Then the phone rang. It was Ted. “You feel like a beer?” he asked. It wasn’t exactly what I was feeling, but I said, “Sure.” “Thought maybe we could do a brew or two and in between I could say I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to––” “Forget it. It ain’t big enough to bring down this friendship, right?” “See you at The Gold Tack,” he said. On the way out my apartment door, I trashed the letter.

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