Our Lives Didn’t Turn Out The Way We Had Planned Them To

We spent Saturdays eating tuna sandwiches on a blue picnic table. Drank bottles of champagne because no one was there to tell us not to. Counted the freckles on each other’s faces and totaled the number, split it in half and decided that was how many children we’d each have. Or how many cups of coffee we’d drink next year, or the number of times we’d take our shoes off.

We liked to pretend the clouds didn’t move.

I met him on the sidewalk. He was watching the sun move over the cracks in the pavement, flittering and fading, heating the concrete until it exploded with wonder. He tucked a strand of hair behind my ear and told me to slow down, that the shimmer in my voice made him jealous.

We spent a long time in his red sheets, staining them with the scent of our skin. He rubbed my forehead with his thumb until I melted, until my organs glittered. Later, I went home to my husband. Watched him cook dinner in his underwear. Slept beside him at midnight, felt my body go numb and bleed into the mattress. It was supposed to be easier than this. We were supposed to have children in a stale hospital room, supposed to watch them play soccer on Sundays, wash their muddy uniforms in the dimness of our basement. Supposed to kiss each other before we fell asleep, our bodies wrapped in cotton, skin never touching.

On our fifth anniversary I asked my husband why we didn’t freeze our wedding cake like people sometimes do. Asked him why he never took my bra off. Why he didn’t watch me dance, my silhouette poignant, floating, against our bathroom wall. It didn’t matter. He still sliced onions on the stove until his eyes dripped. It was the only time I saw him cry. I let my heart trip over his pile of dirty clothes in the hallway and into someone else’s, and he never even noticed. TC mark

image – Brisbane Falling

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