You are the exact opposite of want. I tell you this in between eyeing the inside of your jacket like it’s a baked potato and I haven’t eaten in five hours. That’s a lot of hours.
It isn’t the stitching, or lining, the fact that you’re wearing it, or the texture of the outside I understand as I patronisingly pat you down, deciphering who your wife is. And there’ll certainly be a next one: the joke level quantity alone fills 50 dishwasher clean jam jars.
I pretend I won’t talk to you ever or later; you won’t be on my mind as YouTube playlists shuffle Fiona Apple songs. Oh, sailor. Even your friends think it’s me.
She married you, not the professional knight in shining armour, who does what you’d expect of him: swooping and saving, proposing on alternate knees when one gets tired, buying more than one meal a day for a woman. She married you but it’s not an important distinction. And it’s not a real marriage anyway, if there is such a thing, and it’s not a construct, tradition, imposed by men, invented by them, so they could conquer another thing, now that countries are given back and their sculptures are fought over and sent to their countries of origins and there are no real discoveries, especially as the ones about the universe are insumountable, to your mind, anyway.
There is no win in your head, no decision, action, that could make this divorce right, so it has the desired effect – that she’ll go on a date with you. She basically committed fraud, marrying you so you could scrounge the insurance she doesn’t need yet. Ask yourself, would many women go to the lengths she does to get you medical attention? And the list’s not long, if only she’s on it, then do whatever the fuck you can to stop her. Knights are fairy tales written by men, also.
Let’s create new histories, other stories, in which the unexpected happens, the unlikely is true.
You didn’t think losing your loft and job in the same week could result in you smoking pot with strangers, milking cows, thinking you could fly out of trees having never tried it before but, when it happens, you embrace it entirely. You try to fit in, borrow the clothes of the people whose rooms you share and you ask for advice on your skin – does soy solve acne? You play down the sarcasm, references to movies, stop asking if there’s real coffee. You sleep with someone. Although there are 30 people in the house and some in teepees in the yard, this is not a sleepover, and when I say sleep I don’t mean sleep. Also, you ____ some of them. You imagine you were born liberal, that it wasn’t a pro-life, safe sex, save yourself until marriage stance implanted into your brain at birth, that you try to get over but never really can because, like the god thing, you say god doesn’t exist whilst imagining a floating man on the roof, or higher up, feeling shame for what you’ve said and for what it is you do next.
You don’t know what you do next. Marcia announces she’s pregnant and a line forms and you sleep with Judy because she’s there. You try horse riding when not working starts to feel like a chore. You’re bored the first day but you persevere until half-way through day two when you’ve really had it. You look for wood to fashion doors to keep the watchers out and the animals but you signed up for this fair game, free love society so why shouldn’t they see you lie down, take shits, read Cosmopolitan. You check your ring finger and it’s still there and the ring is too. Your wife is in the next room and you hear him caress her better and you like pretending you did that because then it’s like you achieved something. You consider the fourteen miles to the next town and the number of times someone takes this road and you try to decipher the point of any of this. We start at a random point and end at another and experience precious seconds then it stops. When you see her Marcia says, “Isn’t the body great? Truly amazing,” and behind her the fridge pauses, clunks as it takes a breath, and through the wall the socket’s plugged into your wife’s outline presses itself on to dried paint hoping to leave an impression. And then she takes her dress off.