A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/4/10: “guillotine”
A Word A Day by Anu Garg
PRONUNCIATION: (GIL-uh-teen, GEE-uh-teen)
noun: A device with a heavy blade that drops between two posts to behead someone.
verb: To execute by guillotine or to cut as if with a guillotine.
After French physician Joseph-Ignace Guillotin (1738-1814) who recommended its use. Ironically the instrument designed as a humane device has come to symbolize tyranny. Dr. Guillotin realized that hanging by rope or beheading by a sword were cruel and urged a more humane method of execution, one that was swift and relatively painless. Dr. Antoine Louis, secretary of the College of Surgeons, designed a device that was called a Louisette or Louison in the beginning, but eventually became known as a guillotine.
“I want a divorce.”
And just like that, his quiet, comfortable, normal life ended. Now there was only “before and after”, his life divided as cleanly and sharply as if it had been split by a guillotine.
They say the wife is always the last to know, but it counts for husbands, too, apparently. She had to be seeing somebody, even though she’d denied it. That’s why she wanted the divorce, not that bullshit about him being gay. He wanted to erase her words, go back to a whole life, but he knew, somehow, that “before and after” was permanent.