Relocate to the stairs. Stare at a marble wall. Think of your father Googling your name and initiating a labored conversation where he tries to bond with you about drugs. Imagine an overgrown lawn. A security guard approaches and says “The library is for students only now, it’s time for you to leave, thank you.” Wordlessly gather your things. Halfway up the stairs, yell “You’re welcome” at him. Your husband looks at you, concerned. Say “He said ‘thank you,'” half-joking, mostly embarrassed.
Say “Thank you for editing” and maybe too vigorously rub your husband’s lower back as you sit on stools at the library’s entrance. Some time passes. Say “Are you just going to make it into two paragraphs?”
Your husband exasperatedly says “Don’t argue, just let me do what I’m doing.”
Say “I didn’t mean to argue, sorry. Thank you for editing.”
A few moments later, he points at the Rube Goldberg machine paragraph and says “What are you trying to say here?”
Say “It’s about. I’m talking about how all of the noises worked together, but they seemed to just point out that they were nothing. Or like. Just that the most significant thing was the noise, or something, of silence or nothingness behind them.”
He nods and quietly says “Oh.”
He says “I don’t even know what that is. A Rube Goldberg machine.”
Say “It’s that thing where a scissor cuts a thing and it keeps making things do things. You know.”
He nods and quietly says “Oh.”
Walk to your car, holding each other, complaining about your lives. Say “It really seems like I just shouldn’t do anything. I really have nothing to say.” Express support of each other, despite “hating yourselves.”
Ingest Xanax at his apartment. Look at the revised “HOW TO SHIT ON LSD,” unable to think anything but “Rube Goldberg machine.” Think of your Dad’s face on a giant, somehow beetle-shaped Rube Goldberg machine. Copy and paste a section back in that your husband deleted. Look at him on the bed. Delete the section you just pasted. Feel completely unable to do anything. Try to picture your life in five years. It really seems like you will be dead. Think “I want to jump out of myself,” without considering where you would go if you did.
After some amount of time, mostly spent navigating the Internet with increasing difficulty due to Xanax, your husband says “I’d like to read it again before bed, send it again.” Say “I’m just, it might. I’m doing a thing,” staring at a PayPal error message. It is nearing 4AM. Neither of you have slept more than two hours in the past 36. Take a shower. Shave your legs. If nothing else, you can at least do this.
Wake for an hour at 3:30PM next to your sleeping husband. Your essay now seems obviously horrible. People want to read about loneliness and depression and failed relationships, not your “refreshingly whimsical,” uninformed philosophizing about reality, especially because it was stereotypically preempted by a drug experience and paired with the cheap “Girl Writes about Shitting” device. Wow, look at Megan Boyle. Look at Megan Boyle talking about shitting. Megan Boyle does drugs. Oh wow.
Remember feebly saying “I really thought it would go viral” as you walked to your car last night. Picture the essay’s ending sentence, “Lean forward and see that you must have shit,” in neon letters on a Beach Week t-shirt. Think “Rube Goldberg” and picture Whoopi Goldberg, cackling. Think “think of an overgrown lawn, unexplainably.” Think “How to Shit on my Life.”
Your husband snores. Try to mentally reconstruct your yoga class’ closing meditation. From a rarely felt, deep place of calmness, begin actually seeing a series of non-sequitur images projected on the backs of your eyelids. Think “If only I could write this, I just want to write this.” The only image you remember is a spherical vehicle with the word “ICETRUCK” on its side, rolling like an apple on a floor.
Wake together at 6:45PM. Enter your routine of showering separately, drinking a smoothie, and watching YouTube clips, aware that neither of you is saying much to the other, though you might be saying more. Your essay now seems like a metaphysical brain tumor that if you ever tried removing, would instantly recoil to some unreachable place inside of you until it knew it was safe to resume its “orbit” around your brain. Tell your husband you will drive today. He mumbles something and nods.
In the car, say “Do you think I could just send it in how it is now, with your edits?” He says “I don’t know,” looking out the window.
A few moments later say “I’ll just do something else. Start over with something else.”
A few moments later say “What would you do if you were me?”
He says “I don’t know, I don’t feel like talking right now.”
Drive in silence, aware that you usually hold hands while driving. Touch his thigh, gently. Touch his hand. He takes your hand, maneuvers both your hands around the middle console, first over to your side, then his side. His grip feels distractingly limp. After four silent minutes, say “Do you even want to hold hands?” He says “Let’s just,” and removes his hand.
As you near the library a few minutes later, he says “I didn’t like the tone you used when you said ‘Do you even want to hold hands.'” Say things about feeling ignored by him and worried about your essay. He says things to you about “not wanting to talk all the time” and how you didn’t directly say you were worried so he didn’t respond to that. Increase volume and intensity as you speak. Realize you don’t know where you’re driving. Idle next to a parallel-parked car. Your husband responds to something you say by turning off the heat. The car becomes gradually colder in the forty-five minutes of your argument, which concludes with both of you expressing that you each feel bad.
Say “I’m just going to drive home now, I think, unless we can talk or do something to make us feel better. Do you want me to drop you off at the library?”
After a long pause he says “I don’t know.”
Say “What do you want to do?”
Imagine dropping him off at the library, barely looking at each other, and then making the four-hour drive to Baltimore without a phone, resisting urges to binge-eat at travel plazas. Imagine dropping him off at the library, then walking alone to a crowded coffee shop to edit “HOW TO SHIT ON LSD,” the presence of which now seems like a ten-foot tall Ronald McDonald crashing a funeral.
He says “I want to get energy drinks from Whole Foods, then dinner at the Mexican place by my apartment and then work on things in my room.”
Ask if he wants you to be there. He says yes. Say barely audible, yet goal-oriented things to each other as you move the car forward. Press a button on your console. It seems to mildly shock your husband with static electricity. Immediately return both hands to the steering wheel. When you arrive at Whole Foods, he volunteers to go in alone. Park in a not-quite parking space and turn the heat on high so it will be warm inside when he returns.