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I feel like a princess in a story waiting for Grace to come to bed. And when she does, it’s as exciting as seeing myself on TV. No one else knows this thrill, which is thrilling. This is not really about sex. One night, as usual, I said, “I feel like I need a weapon to protect this,” and she said, “It’s still early, but I’m so tired.” Then she is snoring, which is a good sign. Some nights she has to turn the TV on and wrestle with something. I get up and check the front door, which is already locked.
I had thought there wasn’t really enough hours in the day to cheat, but then I witnessed what’s going on with Colleen and Connor. They were raising their voices like it was time to leave. He was quoting a poem he wasn’t meant to have read in mixed company. She was basking in its words guiltily. This is all happening at a PTO meeting.. They each had two margaritas, so, four total, and the tequila was making them aggressive and sarcastic even though they ate dinner together.. Connor said, “‘Your legs are honeyed pathways to bliss,’” and Colleen said, “Don’t stop, coward.” I mean, it was a total mess.
That Connor had memorised the poem from his wife’s lover. That Colleen was newly turned on. That the vice principal kept talking about the raffle. When this is all over, the couple will be divided up among friends, each calculating who has the most power and who deserves the most empathy. A butchery.
After the PTO meeting, I baked 48 cookies. I had volunteered among the tumult. I took out the trash. I snooped in Gabe’s room for drugs. I made a big deal out of all of it, kept clearing my throat, so Grace would notice. Don’t leave me. And if you do leave me, don’t cheat. And if you do cheat, leave no documentation. This is dedicated to everyone who has ever driven in front of me, seeing in their rear view the speaker at his most vulnerable.
Sean Ennis is the author of CHASE US: Stories (Little A) and his fiction has recently appeared in Maudlin House, Hobart, X-R-A-Y, Diagram and Bending Genres. More of his work can be found at seanennis.net