He called me Honeybunch and I called him Sweetheart. He came over when I totaled my Nana’s car. I wrote him a poem on sage-scented paper for the anniversary of his brother’s death, and gave it to him before a pink sunrise.
He held me close as our hearts pounded in shock over the blue plus sign. I cradled his head when the doctor told us there was no heartbeat, his tears stringing down my elbows. He was gentle with me when I was sad at our wedding. I loved our two-day honeymoon because I loved him.
He tolerated my melancholy when it drew into days, weeks, months. I was secretly terrified by our new house. He was the one who threw out the condoms. I tried not to be morning-sick in his car. He pretended restlessness helped him care for a newborn more easily. I pretended I loved them both equally.
He rolled over when I reached out in the night. I liked that we seemed happy in front of our child. He bought weights and running shoes. I wrote more poems, aching for sleep. He held our daughter, rippled arms curving like feathers. I held our daughter, thinking of the pain in my back.
He told me he was finitely patient. I told him I felt flawlessly alone.
He said he saw six shooting stars when I awoke to his gazing out the window. I stared until my eyes crossed at the night sky: a painted bowl breaking at dawn, shattering quietly around us.
Notes from Guest Reader Tara Lynn Masih
This is how to take a story that has been told many times before and make it new, with a fresh voice and keen eye for unique details. The writer distills many months into a few short paragraphs, and each heavy, meaningful sentence pounds away at the reader like a primitive chant, leading us to a final, mournful note that resonates.