Tag Archives: marriage

Rachel: Ian’s Return

On Thursday morning around ten-thirty, I hear the lock on the front door undoing. My stomach clenches up from my position at the kitchen table, where I am at my laptop doing some insurance paperwork. I literally close my eyes when Ian walks in the house.

The front door closes. I hear the sound of his suitcase roll across the hardwood in the foyer. Stop. His footsteps over to the kitchen table, over to me, and I feel his kiss on the crown of my head.

“Hi, lovely,” he says.

I hear him track into the bedroom, his bag rolling behind him. Then, the shower in our en suite flips on. I don’t open my eyes the entire time.

Ten minutes later, Ian walks through the French doors of the bedroom in a dress shirt and a tie, and he’s looking down at his cuffs, struggling to button them. His hair is wet.

“I’m going to run to the office. It’s still only four in London,” he says. He bends down to tie a shoe, and then comes over to me. He puts both his hands on my shoulders. “Hey. I love you,” he says. Then he grabs his car key off the hook by the door to the garage, and disappears as fast as he came in.

I blink a few times in succession, not sure if what just happened actually happened. I get up from the table and walk into the bedroom, and sure enough, Ian’s jeans and t-shirt are tossed in a pile on the bed. I sit down on the edge of the bed next to them for a second, then get up, walk over to the bureau, pull out my jewelry box, and slip off my wedding rings.

1UP

For Adam & Debbie

An extra heart can save a life,
or offer one more try to beat
the dungeon-level boss, and
empower you with fireballs,

laser blasts, or some kind of
flying raccoon costume. But
sometimes it’s a superpowered
fusion reaction, forging two

disparate lives into one united
future that can overcome the
obstacles and enemies of every
wild world they will discover,

a love-fueled level-up that
far outlasts any star-powered
invulnerability and guarantees
a game that never ends.

Plus maybe an extra flying
raccoon costume, just in case.

Brooklyn Bridge Is Falling Down

If she drops off her child wearing inorganic rubber-soled shoes, they will notice. If she feeds him one fewer leaf of kale, they will notice. If she comes one minute later than she did yesterday, they will notice that, too, because they stand around before yoga and watch her, and they will notice how Manhattan she looks while doing it all.

She does not fit here.

A few miles over the bridge, Nick promised Melinda a lot of things. That was years ago, and the things that she wanted to grow grew: their relationship, his bankroll, her stomach. And then there were three. Polka-dot bordered stationary with a blue bundle of joy cartoon.

The great migration. It was Nick’s idea.

Gavin’s getting big, he said, and Melinda nodded, mostly because he was. She heard the tapping of her heels on the slanted floorboards in their Upper East Side walkup as she did. She kicked one of Gavin’s toys under the couch, where it stopped, lodged there until the day they moved.

In the Brooklyn Brownstone, everything changed. They spread out. Nick suggested they learn how to cook, which meant Melinda would have to learn how to cook. Nick bought a set of golf clubs. They had space. And they had enough spare rooms for a twenty-four-seven nanny to live in.

Did you know they make those? They’re new, like the next iPhone or something, Melinda marveled from behind her desk with the view of Fifth Avenue. She still put on her heels every morning, and walked her pencil-skirted-size-two-self to train each morning before Gavin was old enough for school.

But when Nick suggested—no, said—the nanny would go upon Gavin entering Kindergarten, Melinda nearly had a fit. In her heels, of course. Outside of the natural food store, of course. Nearly, because on the side of the bridge, people don’t have fits, of course.

At home, she spread out.

And now, every day she is on the wrong side of the bridge. It’s late, and she’s thinking about what to wear tomorrow. She steps away from her closet, puts her glasses down on the nightstand, and comes downstairs.

Nick, she says, you take him tomorrow.

I can’t, he calls from the basement, where he has set up a putting strip.

Yes, she says. You can.

The War on Marriage

The War on Marriage won’t be waged with fighter jets or green platoons. Instead we’ll see soldiers suited up in homogenous suburban camouflage, blending in to raid their gated communities. There will be suicide bombers entering into self-destructing civil unions; dirty bombs that poison minds, infecting them to branch out to something more than Missionary style; bazookas that blast through yards and scorch the earth of our otherwise pristine lawns, shattering our picket fences; and billowing clouds of chemical warfare, suffocating our souls until we love who we can’t help. POWs contained, tied down with wedding rings, and tortured well beyond the limits of the Geneva Convention by daily household chores and a mortgage; those who refuse to cooperate are forced into a 401k. The fear that fills our hearts and minds will be justified once it turns to nuclear warfare, when loving, functional, nuclear units are dropped from the heavens to lay waste to the idyllic lives that previously plagued the neighborhood. Once those nuclear family bombs detonate, it will only be a matter of hours until the war comes to an end, and those of us who survive will be forced to rebuild, digging ourselves out of the apocalyptic ashes of this post-coital wasteland.

The Horror! The Horror!

Awoken from my dreadful slumber on the Devil’s Day, mine leering eyes did most suddenly happen upon the writhing, ranting, roaring masses of the web, violently screaming in frenzied fits of ecstasy broadcast in one hundred and forty characters or less at the sick injustice of Kim’s marital collapse, an act which shunned both sanity and sanctity, consuming the civilian concerns of a world engrossed in the Pagan traditions of change and revolution on that day.

I put my phone down and went back to bed for five minutes. But it wouldn’t go away.

And They’re Off!

“Alright folks, it looks like we’re just a few moments away from the main event. We got the last of our contestants lining up on the raised portable dance floor. Jerry, what’s the competition looking like?”

“Well, Bob, as always, we’ve got tons of beautiful talent out there, but it looks like the real matchup’s going to come down to Aunt Vivian, Cassie, and Cousin Beth. Now Aunt Vivian is an established veteran of the bouquet toss, having just gone through her third divorce, so she’s especially anxious to get in there and give it a go. Now, that being said, Aunt Viv has already pounded about seven glasses of wine so far today, so her reaction time might be a little off. Of course, being the Maid of Honor, Cassie is looking to be the crowd favorite tonight, everyone’s really pulling for her. But my money’s on cousin Beth. The girl’s got a reach on her, not to mention some bony elbows, and she’s small enough to slip between the competition and really get herself in there.”

“Not to mention, she’s better dressed for the occasion. Her dress flows enough so it won’t restrict her leg span. Not to mention, she’s the only girl smart enough to change into a pair of flights.”

“Right you are, Bob. It looks like the bride’s getting ready for the toss —”

“See, right there. Cousin Beth’s already getting down low, ready for the pounce, well before the whistle’s blown. She’s effectively boxed out all of the girls from Table 12 already.”

“She’s not messing around, Bob. Wait — looks the bride’s getting ready — she’s squatting down to give the toss more height — and they’re off!

“Now you see, Jerry, poor Aunt Vivian’s overeagerness is gonna cost her this time. She didn’t expect the bride to get that extra leverage in the toss, and now she’s too far up front and — OH! Did you see that? Cassie, our Maid of Honor, digs her bony elbow right into Sarah Jones, the Best Man’s amicable college Ex. Oooh, that’s gotta hurt!”

“Cassie pivots on the end of her stiletto heels and —”

“Oh no! A surprise from the front as Aunt Vivian recovers and launches her ape-like arms through the air and right towards that bouquet. She might get it after all!”

“Don’t speak too soon there, Bob. Looks like Beth has already snaked her way around the Girls from Table 12 and —”

“Wait, it’s looking like Aunt Viv might —”

Oh! Boxed out by Cassie!”

“Beth takes the lead as Cassie plays defensive. She throws her arms up and —”

“Whoa! Do you see what I’m seeing, Bob?”

“I think so, Jerry! Interception! Who was that —”

“I think she came with one of the cousin’s on the groom’s mother side, Bob. Bam! Outta nowhere!”

“That was an impressive snag from a total wildcard.”

“I’ll say. Well, folks, there you have it. Another successful bouquet toss.”

“Which means that lucky lady and some other gentlemen are heading into the next round. And that’s where the real competition begins.”

“Heh, you said it, Bob!”

in the soil

All the things in the house came from a single store, a nice store, a store full of white: square plates, square cups, square flatware. Plain, elegant. Like the woman. She bought all the things in the house and put them on shelves. She bought shelves and put them on the floor. The floor boards were replaced with something cold and pretty and her things sat on top of it.

Outside, a man who was her husband watered and talked to his flowers: hydrangea, tulip, rose, peony, daffodil, orchid. Such flowers did not grow in a single climate easily, so he created micro-climates around the back yard, building shelters here and raised beds elsewhere to protect the beginnings of things forming in the black soil.

What were the beginnings of things? The man reattached a drip wire that had come undone, placed saline rocks around black earth that someday soon would be a zucchini. (Seeds. A girl who wanted a house with nice things and a man in it. A boy who had dreamt of something vague and big but requiring bravery, want, hunger.)

O, hunger! Feasting from square bowls wasn’t so bad–it was lovely, in fact, better in all ways than an empty tummy. And so he did that: ate at the table. Planted most carefully the seeds of pretty things. Like a mother, helped them grow out of the soil, and wept when they did not.