I’ve seen this room, and I’ve walked this floor.
You know, I used to live alone before I knew you.
The ceilings in my apartment in Wilkes-Barre are at least twenty feet high. I am not yet twenty-seven and am already divorced.
When I come home drunk, I don’t sleep in my bed. My bed is above me in a loft; there are stairs to get there and a shaky railing. I’m scared I will fall, break something, and that no one will find me. I live alone. I have to think of these things. So when I come home after seven or eight glasses of wine, I fall into the plush of my oversized couch and stay there.
The ceilings are far away from me. The windows are tall and cast distorted shadows across the tall, bare walls.
I sometimes cry, mostly at night, as I wonder when this place is ever going to feel like home.
You are so far away from me right now, but when I breathe, I can feel the promise of you on my chest.
Your faith was strong, but you needed proof.
We never danced at our wedding.
We never had a toast, a bite of cake, or a honeymoon.
We were previously heartbroken.
We were pregnant.
Our girls swam in my belly and we were growing to love them.
We were pragmatic.
You asked – I answered.
We were married by a magistrate with bad hair and poor teeth.
Our parents smiled, maybe even cried.
My smile stretched across the world.
You pulled my hand into yours, and we folded our dreams together.
When our girls were born, you cried.
They were the holy. We were the broken.
Maybe there is a God above.
But all I’ve ever learned from love was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you.
On the night of my 39th birthday, we lit every candle in the house. I put on Leonard Cohen and a short dress. I pulled a wine glass from the cabinet.
Against the high ceilings of our living room, the flames flickered into stars, and we were celestial.
My stocking feet shuffled across the wood, sticking and picking at the imperfections in the bamboo. Your arms held me like I was a precious metal you had only recently discovered.
Into my neck, you whispered a million kept promises.
We became wax, melting into one another over and over again as we danced.
The next morning, the dog whimpered in her crate as the sun burst through the blinds, zig-zagging across the grey of our bedroom walls.
You rose first, the cough of last night’s smoke in your lungs, the electricity of us still in your hair, the softness of my skin still resting against the palms of your hands.
You made coffee, washed wine glasses, brought in the paper. You huffed and puffed about the headlines, cursed the cat under your breath, and readied yourself to cut the grass.
I rose slowly, my naked back still stuck to the sheets. I pulled on an old t-shirt and sweatpants, I sorted laundry, thought about dinner, and waited anxiously for the kids to return.